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WETA signed on for Avatar FX duties
Source: RealMovieNews.com

[Link no longer available]

August 2006 - WETA Digital have been signed up by James Cameron to create a large number of effects for his long in development Avatar flick. The movie still hasn't been greenlit, but can you see 20th Century Fox not giving Cameron the greenlight?

The movie will follow Jake, a paraplegic war veteran is brought to another planet, Pandora, which is inhabited by the Na'vi, a humanoid race with their own language and culture. Those from Earth find themselves at odds with each other and the local culture.



First casting for James Cameron's Avatar
Source: RealMovieNews.com

[Link no longer available]

October 2006 - The first casting for James Cameron's big screen directorial return has been revealed and it is Joel Moore. Joel is best known for his roles in Art School Confidential and Dodgeball.

The flick will follow Jake, a paraplegic war veteran who is brought to another planet, Pandora, which is inhabited by the Na'vi, a humanoid race with their own language and culture.

Those from Earth find themselves at odds with each other and the local culture. Its not yet known what role Moore will play.



Sam Worthington Lands Big Role in Avatar
Source: heraldsun.com.au


January 2007 - The 30-year-old beat hundreds to the lead in Avatar, a science-fiction adventure epic Cameron has been developing for more than a decade.

Worthington, who made his debut in 2000 in Bootmen but is unknown in the US, was chosen after worldwide screen tests. He will play Jake Sully, a wounded ex-marine reluctantly sent to exploit a faraway planet who wages a battle for survival with the planet's inhabitants.

Worthington, who won an AFI Award in 2004 for Somersault, has also signed on for sequels. The film is The Terminator director's return to science fiction.



James Cameron with details on AVATAR
Excerpt: aintitcool.com

February 2007 - [James Cameron] begins a stage called Pre-Capture where he'll mainly be shooting with Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana. The reason is that their characters have been fully entered into the CG system.

This way, with the realtime rendering, he can actually compose and find his shots - and then work with the actors to get the performances he wants within those shots. I asked how different this was from the way Robert Zemeckis was operating on Beowulf.

Cameron explains that his 1st AD (Josh McLaglen) worked on both Beowulf and Polar Express and that what he's doing is a fair bit different.



Cameron film begins production
By Anne Thompson | Source: variety.com

[Link no longer available]

August 2007 - In October, the company will move to Wellington, New Zealand, close to Peter Jackson's Weta Digital, which is supervising the film's visual effects.

Film is a $190 million hybrid of live action and animation. Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment team has researched a mix of live-action cinematography and virtual photorealistic production techniques which will feature virtual characters.

Thirty-one days of live-action photography will begin on Weta soundstages in October. Pic will be produced by Cameron and Jon Landau for Lightstorm. Mauro Fiore has been hired as d.p.



Giovanni Ribisi joins Avatar
Source: RealMovieNews.com
[Link no longer available]

September 2007 - Giovanni Ribisi has joined the cast of what for most of us is the most anticapated movie for years, James Cameron's Avatar.

Giovanni Ribisi will play a passive-aggressive character named Selfridge in the Fox film about a band of humans pitted against a distant planet's indigenous inhabitants.

Also starring in the movie are Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Peter Mensah, Laz Alonso, Wes Studi and Stephen Lang.



James Cameron's Avatar Release Date Shifted | Source: AceShowBiz.com

December 2007 - Making a change of plan on its big-budgeted project "Avatar", 20th Century Fox has announced that it has pushed back the release date of the movie from May 22, 2009 to December 19, 2009. Being so, the James Cameron-directed flick will now open on the same weekend as his "Titanic" did in 1997.

Moreover, the shifted date consequently also gives the filmmaker more time to work on the effects and much more time for additional theaters to install 3-D screens both in the U.S. and aboard.


Sigourney Weaver Talks 'Avatar'
by Patrick Walsh | Source: cinematical.com


One of the most highly anticipated movies on the horizon is James Cameron's Avatar, slated for release in 2009. The film marks Cameron's return to a genre he pretty much defined in the 80's and early 90's -- science fiction.

Worthington's not well known here yet, but he played the title role in the 2006 version of Macbeth. Cameron favorite Michael Biehn is rumored to be attached as well, which would be awesome. There's a lot of secrecy surrounding the project, but Weaver talked it up a bit to Hit while on a break from the film.

"It's a fantastic movie. So ambitious. So romantic and sweeping. I can't wait to get back," says Weaver, who will play a botanist (hopefully an ass-kicking botanist) and mentor to Worthington's character. Weaver describes Worthington as "a terrific actor, he really is.




Click for details

Avatar Villain Cast - Matt Gerald hired
for sci-fi epic
Source: IGN.com


The lead villain in James Cameron's sci-fi epic Avatar has been cast, with little known actor Matt Gerald nabbing the role, according to Variety. Gerald's CV isn't particularly impressive -- his most recent roles were bit parts in the daft action sequel xXx: State of the Union and Usher vanity project Into the Mix.

He also appeared (briefly) in Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines and S.W.AT. The actor is the latest in a line of lesser-known talent hired for Avatar -- the unheralded Zoe Saldana, Michelle Rodriguez and Sam Worthington have also taken key parts. Alien's star Sigourney Weaver is the only "big name" in the cast.



2006 - 2007

2008

2009A

2009B

2009C

2009D

2009E

2010


Avatar News Archive

SFMZ followed all news updates regarding Avatar for two years leading up to the release of the film, along with researched archive articles. While we no longer provide updates, we decided to cherry pick the best of these hundreds of articles for our readers to explore the emergence of James Cameron's sci-fi adventure.

You can check out expanded coverage of the film's box office highlights and reviews in the news at our other sections Avatar Box Office and Avatar Awards and Reviews. All articles in this section are excerpt highlights, click on the source link for the complete article.



2006 - 2007 NEWS



James Cameron on the Deep Impact of 3D Movies
By Bryant Frazer | Source: studiodaily.com


April 2006 - Will 3D save digital cinema, or will digital cinema save 3D? The answer, director James Cameron told attendees at this year’s pre-NAB Digital Cinema Summit, is a little bit of both.

Cameron, who gave the second-day keynote address, invoked the specters of piracy and an increasingly indifferent viewership in an attempt to convince attendees that 3D exhibition – a more involving experience and, at least for the time being, an unpiratable one — will help get the fickle butts of movie audiences back in theater seats.

“I’m not going to make movies for people to watch on their cell phones,” he declared. “To me, that’s an abomination.”

Three different 3D processes were discussed. There’s the Cameron way, which involves shooting a live-action feature with a 3D camera rig (generally two Sony F950s bound together in a complicated assembly). There’s the Chicken Little/Polar Express method, which involves adding 3D to a previously devised CG-animated world; and there’s the In-Three way, which has that company “dimensionalizing” existing films.



Cameron Comes back with CG Extravaganza
Source: HollywoodReporter.com

[Link no longer available]

July 2006 - After nine years, during which time he has not launched a new feature film, James Cameron finally is targeting a summer 2008 release for his next project, 20th Century Fox's "Avatar," and he hopes to start shooting a cast of unknown actors on a stage in Los Angeles by February.

Cameron is plotting a high-concept comeback film for his return to mainstream features, well in the wake of his king-making helming of "Titanic." His new project, which also has gone under the cover title "Project 880," follows a paraplegic war veteran from Earth who is brought to another planet.



"Believe it or not, the shooting is a very small part of it," Cameron says. "It's a very, very big project where the shooting is like a month and a half -- not really very much. There's just so much CG, and the visual effects are a huge component. A lot of it is performance capture. We use different techniques (from, for example, Sony Pictures' upcoming 'Monster House'), but it's the same general idea."



James Cameron: King of all he surveys
Excerpt: independent.co.uk


December 2006 - "I'm the king of the world!" James Cameron cried at the 1998 Oscars, echoing his leading character in Titanic.

When the director picked up 11 Academy Awards and his epic netted box-office receipts of $1.8bn, he defied critics who'd predicted that the film would be sunk by a fatal combination of hubris and testosterone.

At that moment, Cameron did seem to be master of all he surveyed. After a decade of hits - The Terminator (1984), Aliens (1986), Terminator 2 (1991) and True Lies (1994) - Titanic was merely the latest Cameron box-office behemoth to crush everything in its path.

And yet, in the following eight years, tumbleweed has blown through Cameron's movie CV.



What happened to the king of the world? What has become of the director whose movies kept studio bosses in diamond-studded Jacuzzis? Is he just sitting at home counting his money? The answer is that Cameron, who hails from a remote part of Ontario, has been living up to the other famous phrase he has used to describe himself - "a nerd from Kapuskasing" - and pursuing his passion for scientific documentaries, spending a large chunk of his reputed $50m fortune on educative factual films.



Cameron sets live-action, CG epic for 2009
Source: HollywoodReporter.com
[Link no longer available]

January 2007 - James Cameron is set to direct "Avatar," his first dramatic feature since the Oscar-winning blockbuster "Titanic" in 1997.

Fox Filmed Entertainment chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman said Monday that Cameron will start virtual photography on the sci-fi epic in April, with live-action photography commencing in August, for a summer 2009 release.

It will be filmed in a new digital 3-D format. The director already has spent years in R&D on the multiple processes needed to create a $190 million hybrid of live action and animation, which he vowed will never pass the $200 million mark.

"I've been the busiest unemployed director in Hollywood," he said. "We're going to blow you to the back wall of the theater in a way you haven't seen for a long time. My goal is to rekindle those amazing mystical moments my generation felt



when we first saw '2001: A Space Odyssey,' or the next generation's 'Star Wars.' It took me 10 years to find something hard enough to be interesting." Said Rothman: "Jim has taken the time to get it right, and we're taking the time to do it right. It's worth the wait." Neither Cameron nor Fox want to repeat the budget overruns that plagued the $200 million "Titanic," the director said.



Sigourney Weaver Reunites With
James Cameron For 'Avatar - By Shawn Adler
Excerpt: mtv.com
[Link no longer available]

2007 - When intergalactic baddies have you down, there's really only one person to call.

Twenty-one years after Ellen Ripley scored one for the human race, "Aliens" star Sigourney Weaver is returning to space, reuniting with director James Cameron for a supporting role in his long-awaited film "Avatar."

"Sigourney and I have always looked back fondly on our collaboration in 'Aliens,' and we're excited at the prospect of working together again," Cameron said in a statement released to MTV News.



"She has a special significance for fans of science fiction, so in addition to being perfect in all ways for the part, there is something special about her returning to the genre in our film." The director's first movie since "Titanic" centers on Jake Sully, a disabled war veteran brought to the exotic planet of Pandora to exploit its rich natural resources. Potentially complicating matters for Cameron's intrepid hero is speculation that the Na'vi will be able to manifest themselves in a variety of physical forms, or "avatars."



Avatar Movie, Game Synergy
Source: IGN.com

July 2007 - James Cameron is taking a cue from LucasFilm, bringing the worlds of videogames and cinema a little closer together with his upcoming blockbuster Avatar.

As recently reported here on IGN, Cameron has chosen French software developer Ubisoft to create a game that will tie in with the film Avatar.

And since Avatar is going to be an effects-laden film with advanced computer-generated worlds and characters, the filmmaker thought it would make sense to share these digital assets between the film studio and the game studio.



While movie-based games are usually an afterthought intended as merely a secondary source of revenue, Cameron and his production team have been thinking about an Avatar game right from the very start, and creative development has proceeded with that in mind. According to producer Jon Landau, "it was very important to [Cameron] and the rest of us that the universe of Avatar be expanded and give game players opportunities for new experiences."



Joel Moore Talks About James Cameron's Avatar
Excerpt: FirstShowing.net


August 2007 - ComingSoon.net recently chatted with actor Joel David Moore, who's starring in Cameron's sci-fi motion capture film Avatar, and got a little bit out of him about the film and its technology.

Or at least as much as he was allowed to say, as Moore is even required to keep quiet about the technology. The basic gist of it - this technology is going to blow us away.

I'm not talking about Robert Zemeckis' Polar Express in IMAX 3D, I'm talking about shaping the industry entirely from that point forward and changing the way we watch movies.

Joel David Moore, who stars alongside of Sigourney Weaver, Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Wes Studi, Michelle Rodriguez, and CCH Pounder, has been shooting since February and will be shooting until February 2008 - an entire year for one film.

Of course that's tedious, but his response: "I gotta tell you, it's the most amazing thing I've ever done." Moore followed that up with some discussion about working with Cameron.

[Joel David Moore] "He's one of the biggest and best directors in the business and to be able to be put in that position of luxury and comfort is really cool.

I first sat down and read the script for the first time, it's got James Cameron, this is the most amazing thing, it's going to be a sci-fi thing. So I assumed this is just a sci-fi, but it's so much more. And even better than that is what we're doing; it's just stunning.





Lang, Rodriguez armed for 'Avatar'
By Anne Thompson
Source: variety.com

[Link no longer available]

August 2007 - James Cameron has added two cast members to "Avatar."

Stephen Lang and Michelle Rodriguez will join Australian actor Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Wes Studi and CCH Pounder in the performance-capture pic, which is in production in Los Angeles.

Lang plays a seasoned Marine Corps colonel who travels to the faraway planet Pandora to take charge of its troops.

Lang is known for his New York theater roles in "A Few Good Men," "Defiance" and "Death of a Salesman."



He'll wrap up 101 performances at the Roundabout Theater in his sold-out one-man show "Beyond Glory" on Aug. 19 and then take on the "Avatar" role. Lang first met Cameron 20 years ago for a role in "Aliens" he didn't get. But Cameron never forgot him. Rodriguez plays an ex-Marine pilot. "Michelle Rodriguez is someone I've wanted to work with since I saw 'Girlfight' seven years ago," said Cameron.







Hollywood Bets Big on 3-D Future & James Cameron's Avatar - March 2007
Source: DailyGalaxy.com


After years of dismissing 3-D as child's play, Hollywood studios are betting that films shot and projected in the format will boost takings at the box office. The size and scope of the bet is driven by the number of US cinemas capable of showing films in 3-D, which is expected to rise to 3,000 by 2009. Legendary Canadian director and three-time Academy Award winner, James Cameron will direct.

The $200 million 3-D Avatar will make use of "synthetic", or computer-generated, actors in leading roles who appear to be real but do not exist in the physical world. The 52-year-old director of the Terminator series and Aliens said he had conceived the project 11 years ago but had been waiting for technological advancements that will enable him to bring his vision to the big screen.



Avatar Actor Talks James Cameron Film:
'The Technology ... Hasn't Been Done Before'
Source: MTV.com


Laz Alonso provides tantalizing hints about director's top-secret upcoming flick. Forget about Indy whatever and Batman whatchamacallit, because everybody knows that the hardest-to-acquire movie news these days regards "Avatar," the top-secret sci-fi flick that is finally bringing James Cameron back to theaters after a 12-year "Titanic"-inspired hiatus.

Cameron recently allowed actor Laz Alonso to run loose for a few hours so he could attend the premiere of his film "Captivity" and, naturally, we threatened to strap him down to one of the torture chairs inside the event unless he talked to us about Cameron's flick.

"It's going great man, I mean the guy deserves every great thing that's been said about him as far as his creativity," the actor said of the shoot. "We work really hard, and he's really passionate, and we're really excited about what we're doing. May 2009 is a long time away, but we just feel the fever right now — it's alive."



2006 - 2007

2008

2009A

2009B

2009C

2009D

2009E

2010

AMZ Main

News, Reviews, & More

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Plot

Biographies

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Science of Avatar

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Avatar Game



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