Last night at the Hero Complex Film Festival, filmmaker James Cameron was on hand to discuss his seminal action/sci-fi masterpieces The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The course of conversation took a turn though to Cameron’s new hopefully equally seminal-in-the-making action/sci-fi trilogy: Avatar. Cameron hired three writers to collaborate on each of the three upcoming sequels (Josh Friedman, Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver and Shane Salerno), in an effort to get all the films ready to be shot back-to-back-to-back later this year. Last night, Cameron delved into the process behind writing these three sequels simultaneously. For Cameron’s revealing thoughts on the matter and how television gave him the idea in the first place, hit the jump.
James Cameron on writing the Avatar sequels back-to-back-to-back:
We tried an experiment. We set ourselves a challenge of writing three films at the same time. I knew I could certainly write any one of them but to write three in some reasonable amount of time – we wanted to shoot them together so we couldn’t start one until all three scripts were done and approved. So I knew I was going to have to ‘parallel process’ which meant I would have to work with other writers. And the best experience I had working with other writers was in television when I did Dark Angel. The television room is a highly collaborative and fun experience. So we put together a team, three teams actually — one for each script. The teams consist of me and another writer on each one of those three films. Each [individual writer] would have their own script that they’re responsible for. But what we did that was unique beforehand was we sat in a 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 three film saga. I didn’t tell [the three writers] which sequel was going to be theirs to write until the very last day. So everybody was equally invested story-wise in all three films. So the guy that got the third movie, which is the middle film of this new trilogy, he now knows what preceded and what follows out of what he’s writing at any given moment. We all consider that to be a really exciting, creative and groundbreaking experiment in screenwriting. It worked as a process to get our minds around this epic and all these new creatures and environments and characters.
Avatar 2 is expected to hit theaters December 2016, followed by Avatar 3 and Avatar 4 the following year(s) afterwards. Click here for all our previous Avatar coverage.
For more with Cameron:
- James Cameron Talks TERMINATOR & TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY, Casting Schwarzenegger, SPIDER-MAN, TERMINATOR: GENESIS, and More