James Cameron on Writing Three 'Avatar' Movies and How He Influenced the New 'Terminator' Sequels

James Cameron on Writing Three 'Avatar' Movies and How He Influenced the New 'Terminator' Sequels

Jun 02, 2014

James CameronMaking a sequel to the highest grossing film of all time can be a daunting task – so just imagine the challenges facing James Cameron as he tries to craft three sequels to Avatar all at the same time.

The director discussed the topic at the L.A. Times’ Hero Complex Film Festival over the weekend, and revealed how his experience in the writer’s room of his Fox TV series Dark Angel helped him break down the daunting task of coming up with three interconnected screenplays all at once.

Cameron starts off by saying he spent the first year writing an astonishing 1,500 pages of notes about the world and the expanded story. Realizing that he couldn’t possibly write all these screenplays in a timely fashion that would allow him to shoot three films at once, he brought in other writers. He describes the experience like this:

“So we put together three teams, one for each script. The teams consist of me and another writer on each one of the three [films]. So I’m across all the films and then each one of them would have their own individual script they were responsible for. But what we did that was unique was we sat in the writing room for five months, eight hours a day, and we worked out every beat of the story across all three films so it all connects as one, sort of, three-film saga. And I didn’t tell them which one was going to be theirs individually to write until the last day. So everyone was equally invested, storywise, in all three films.”

With everyone intimately involved with each story, the writers have a better understanding of what happens both before and after the script they’re writing. It’s sort of a committee approach to screenwriting, which is often a very solitary profession, but Cameron believes it will work. With his track record and intimate involvement, he’s probably right. [via /Film]

Terminator 2

Since Avatar sequels are front and center in the filmmaker’s mind, you probably wouldn’t expect to hear that Cameron is also involved with the new Terminator films as well. The filmmaker sold the rights to the universe to help launch his directorial career years ago, but he reveals that he’s had some input on the upcoming films.

When Megan Ellison asked Cameron if he wanted to be involved with new sequels, this was his response:

“I said ‘Well look. I don’t mind standing behind the curtain and whispering like some court advisor in 15th century Italy or something.’ My goal in that was not to insinuate myself artistically but to try to make sure they stayed true to the Terminator character and the idea of Arnold being in it. Because he’s a friend of mine and we’ve been through all the wars together and everything. And I wanted them to see the possibilities I saw for what they could do with this character."

Cameron adds that Schwarzenegger is “front and center” in the new films, thanks to some of his suggestions, but continues on to say that he doesn’t deserve much in the way of credit (or, one would assume, potential blame) for how these new entries turn out. [via /Film]




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