James Cameron and New Zealand jointly announced yesterday that the home of Peter Jackson would serve as the physical location for Avatar 2, 3 and 4's giant green screens, and that the three films would have a budget of $415 million - aided by local tax incentives. That's a pretty reasonable cost, all things considered.
While talking about the shooting location, Cameron let slip some minor information about the sequels, correcting a notion that Avatar 2 would take place completely underwater.
"There's a fair bit of underwater stuff. Its been inaccurately said that the second film takes place underwater. That's not true. There are underwater scenes and surface-water scenes having to do with indigenous ocean cultures that are distributed across the three films.
It’s going to be a lot of new imagery and a lot of new environments and creatures across Pandora. We’re blowing it out all over the place. At first I thought I was going to take it onto other worlds as well, in the same solar system, but it turned out not to be necessary. I mean the Pandora that we have imagined will be a fantasy land that is going to occupy people for decades to come, the way I see it."
That sounds like a threat, Jim!
But what good is a giant world if you don't have a story? This time it seems like Cameron is going to have an actual tale to tell, and he's being his usual humble self and comparing it to the greatest films of all time.
"We spread [the point of view] around quite a bit more as we go forward. It’s really the story of [Jake Sully's] family, the family that he creates on Pandora. His extended family. So think of it as a family saga like The Godfather."
Okay, maybe I'm busting Cameron's balls a bit - he's just using the 'family saga' signifier. But come on, you know he thinks he's making something that will stand alongside The Godfather Part II. You have to admire that craziness, on some level.