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Sigourney Weaver:
Avatar Will Transform 3D
Video Interview

Video interviewed transcribed by AMZ:

THR: Avatar, which is coming out later this year, what can you tell us about that?

SIGOURNEY: Well, I can't tell you much, I'm sorry. I feel like I'm torturing people. It takes place in another world and it's Jim Cameron's first opus since Titanic.

He literally invented the cameras to shoot it in 3D and he invented all the creature and plant life in that live this world. He's created wonderful characters.

THR: What's your character?

SIGOURNEY: Well, I play a scientist, a woman who is a botanist - who also has an Avatar, which is an other self. So half the movie is live action and half of it is Weta Digital. I think it's really going to transform 3D.

It's a serious story about a young man who comes of age and finds something he believes in - becomes part of a different community. So it's a serious film about serious issues, but it's in 3D.

And when you see it, you go, 'well of course, this is so natural.' This is the way it should be, it shouldn't just be weird rocketships and ray-guns.

So I'm very excited about it. I haven't seen it, I seen little bits of it, but really is so state of the art that I think it's going to transform at least what people expect of big movies.

He is a perfectionist and I don't say this lightly but I do think he is a genius. There's so much science in it, we got to do a lot of science, I think that's also part of the wonder of this movie.

We went to Hawaii rehearsing in rain forests and he really made sure we had a good grasp on what we were doing on this far away world.

It's extraordinary, it's performance capture and then finished by Weta Digital. We did shoot it in New Zealand, but it was all indoors because he wanted to be near Weta.

We worked very closely with Weta on our Avatars. It was really cool, and also I have ever been to New Zealand which is an amazing place.

Exclusive: Sigourney Weaver Looks to the Future
Interview By Ryan Stewart

(interview no longer available at Premiere)

The actress talks with Premiere about her new thriller 'Vantage Point,' exclusive news about her indie projects, and why her new movie with James Cameron will 'blow the mind of this industry.

2009 is expected to be a banner year for sci-fi in cinema, largely because it will see the reuniting of two of the genre's most enduring titans — Jim Cameron and Sigourney Weaver.

For Avatar, an interplanetary odyssey of such unbridled ambition and scope that Weaver tells us it will "blow the mind of this industry" when it finally lands in theaters after two solid years of post-production work.

How much screentime will you have in Avatar? Would you describe your part there as a supporting role?

No, I have the female lead. You know, live action. I guess I would have to say that Sam and Zoe play the romantic leads, but I probably have the next biggest, or as big a part.

Has he let you read the whole Avatar script? Is he keeping it to himself?

Oh no, I've read the whole script.

What would you compare it to?

I can't think of anything, frankly. I can't think of anything. It's gonna blow the mind of this industry, I think. It's gonna be an experience for people. I don't think they're going to want to come out of the theater. I think kids will want to stay in the theater with their sleeping bags so they don't have to go out into the real world. It's about something. It's about ecology in a lot of ways. About greed.


Yeah. About love. About becoming a man. You know, a lot of his favorite themes. It's a very dense piece of work. I've only seen the motion-capture 40 percent done, but it's pretty awesome. The live action I've seen almost all of, and it's a very affecting story. When you see scenes that are very affecting in 3D, you can't keep them out.

The movie isn't slated for release until December '09, but it sounds like you've seen a lot of completed work. I imagined it was mostly not done yet.

Oh, it is mostly not done yet. I saw something someone else had edited of my scenes. For some reason, they wanted me to see most of my scenes before I left, so I was forced to do that. I think he's very proud of how it's going.

Then I got to see certain scenes that are in the script at Weta, when I was over there talking to the animators about Grace, my character. They're just doing a fabulous job. Everyone is going to want to go to this place.

What does Grace look like, by the way?

She's got beautiful, bright red hair and big eyelashes. No make-up. She's a scientist, and she's an attractive woman who has given up a normal life to devote herself to this planet and fight this fight. She learns a lot over the course of the story.


Q&A with Sigourney Weaver of “Avatar”

Sigourney Weaver who has long been regarded as one of the best actresses working today, enjoying iconic status for her portrayal of Ellen Ripley in the Aliens franchise stars anew in “Avatar,” a sci-fi breakthrough from filmmaker James Cameron.

Touted to be the next gigantic blockbuster to come, the action in “Avatar” mostly takes place on a distant planet named Pandora. The Na’vi, blue skinned, indigenous population inhabits Pandora and are under threat from invading humans working for a huge conglomerate.

In the midst of hostilities is a small band of volunteers comprised of botanist Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) and marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) who are sent on a reconnaissance mission in genetically enhanced bodies, known as Avatars, which will give them the appearance of the Na’vi.

Q: Your character in Avatar is a scientist. Does she represent the voice of reason?

A: Well, actually she is in a pretty compromised position because she is trying to keep the Avatar program alive supported by money from the evil company.

Q: What was it like working on a film that is utilising so much new technology?

A: I loved it. You know, my husband runs this off Broadway theatre where we never have enough money for sets and costumes, so to me all the performance capture was just like being in his theatre. So I felt so at home in all of it. The camera is a little odd to get used to because it’s right here and you are thinking ‘now what kind of shot is that going to be?’ But I guess that’s just a way of keeping track of your facial expressions. It was an amazing experience.

Q: And is there a lot of action associated with the character?

A: I would say the majority of the action occurs with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and Jake because he is learning from her how to do all these Na’vi things. And Grace comes in and out and has a different purpose. It was very satisfying.

Q: Do you share James Cameron’s fascination for space and exploration?

A: I guess so. My father was a great astronomer and I named my dog Venus after the planet. I used to think up space stories but I was never one of those people who loved reading science fiction. And when I think of a movie like Avatar I agree with Jim when he said ‘this is the movie as a 14 year old I wanted to see. It’s completely enthralling. I’ve never experienced anything like it.

Q: Did you get a lot of information about the world of Pandora, apart from the script?

A: We went to Hawaii and I worked side by side with a botanist. I learned how to take samples but then we had to make up a lot – we had things that we carried for testing the air, measuring it, and for gasses and things like that. So there is science in the film and we were pretty serious about it. Grace is very particular, you know, she did remind me of people like Dian Fossey who were so single-minded and they didn’t really care about anything else or anyone else.

Q: Would you say that one of the movies themes is the environment and what’s happening to our own planet?

A: Definitely a character in the story and a big character in our world now is greed. And greed, what with the economic downturn and everything, at least in America, has become a big character in the last year. It is about people trusting nature, understanding nature, being connected to each other and connected to animals. It’s an entertaining movie in every way – it has huge romance; it has a lot of comedy in it; it has a lot of action in it; and it’s about something much bigger than all of these people.

It’s also very timely so hopefully people will think about what they have seen but I don’t think it can possibly get in the way of the experience of being in the theatre because there won’t be time – audiences will be on that rollercoaster.

Q: How do you think the audience will react to Avatar?

A: I think as soon as you sit down you will be taken far, far away and I think that’s something we all love. You sit there in your seat, the music starts and you know that someone is going to be taking care of you. And I really feel that way with Avatar.

Weaver also starred in Ang Lee’s tense drama ”The Ice Storm,” the comedy “Galaxy Quest,” the contemporary thriller “Copycat” and many more including “Ghostbusters,” “A Map of the World,” “Snow Cake,” “The Girl in the Park” and “Be Kind Rewind.”

Avatar’s Sigourney Weaver Remembers the Days When James Cameron’s Crews Didn't Live in Fear
By Jada Yuan | Source:

While most of the world (including your friendly Vulture editors) is currently caught up in New Moon mania, we urge you to remain cognizant that there are less than 30 days until James Cameron's magnum opus, Avatar, opens in three glorious dimensions in mutiplexes nationwide.

To that end, we were able to catch up with Sigourney Weaver for a few minutes last night at the National Arts Club, where Ang Lee and James Schamus were getting the Medal of Honor in Film. We spoke to her about her thoughts on independent cinema, the favorite movie she's made that went straight to DVD, and, of course, her experience working with James Cameron on Avatar.

Is a movie's status as mainstream or independent important to you?

Well, I think those things really aren't that interesting or important. What you respond to is the script, and then you find out how it's being made and hope they have enough money to make it properly. So, it's really much more, to me, about story. And, you know, these days distribution is so precarious it's important to just fall in love with the script, the director, and the cast, tell the story, and pray.

Pray that it gets out there somehow?

Yes, because I've made some wonderful movies that haven't gotten out there. And I'm glad I made them. I certainly learned a lot making them. But it is sort of frustrating because you feel like your job isn't really finished until people are seeing the movie. It's like you're offering something and they haven't received it. And I'm glad James went into distribution as well, because I think that you have to be in control of what you make.

Is there one movie in particular you're upset isn't out there?

Well, Girl in the Park, which I did with Kate Bosworth — and she's really brilliant in it — is being released by Harvey Weinstein on DVD. And it never got a theatrical distribution, and I'm very surprised of that. It's written and directed by David Auburn, who won the Pulitzer Prize. We opened it at Toronto and it was such a huge hit there, and then I don't know what happened. So there are things that happen like that. Again, you're glad the work will exist and people will find it on DVD, but it's too bad, because it could have been a real contender, I think.

Speaking of contenders, you've got Avatar on the horizon, which is reportedly one of the most expensive movies ever produced. Could you actually see and feel where all that money was going?

No, actually. I think they counted every penny. It was a very responsible production, and I think the money is all in what will, frankly, be the most seamless 3-D experience anyone's ever had, because the story is actually a wonderful, old-fashioned, epic adventure.

What do you like about your character?

Well, I liked her because she's a very surly character. She doesn't really like a lot of people, and she comes to love Sam Worthington's character very much. She actually is leading a double life. One is sort of a very compromised professional in the human world, and another is this very free spirit in the world on her planet as her avatar, and that dichotomy was something that was really fun to play.

Was working with James Cameron again something you'd been thinking about for a while?

You know, I hadn't really thought about it. We'd kept in touch. He wasn't, really. [Laughs] He wasn't working. But he called me, and he sent me the script, and I had to read it, like, three times, which I've never done before.

Do you think that there's pressure to make all the money back?

I'm sure it will make the money back. I'm sure it'll make so many more times the money back, because I'll tell you, a lot of people — I don't know how old you are — but there's a certain huge group of people who, you have to see it once; you're going to see it again because you won't believe what you saw the first time; the third time, you're gonna go again because you want to experience the pleasure of actually being there and really feeling that, and then you're going to go again just because it's fun. So I don't see any problem with them making the money back.

Has Jim's directing style changed a lot over the years?

Well, he was always so sweet to me during Aliens. And that was a tough picture for him, because the crew had this big Ridley Scott obsession, and it took him a while to get their attention as a filmmaker. But with me and the other actors, I always felt, he cast so well; he's so devoted to his actors. He does get impatient with filmmaking in a way, but he always pushes himself harder than anybody else, so even though he can be a little growl-y, it's over in a second when you move on. He operated on every single shot in this movie.

Weirdly, the movie's been so under wraps that I'm not sure anyone knows what it's about, exactly.

And I think he was so smart to do that, because it is a gift. And in a way, it's a kind of corny gift, because Jim said this is the movie he wanted to see when he was 14. I think all of us have that desire to see this movie. It's such a kind of big, hard-core wonderful story about people and worlds and species and so many things, and it's going to take you on a ride like you won't believe. So I hope families from people, like, 85 to 5 see it, because otherwise, you'd have to explain it to the person at home, and you wouldn't be able to do that. It would sound like you had smoked, like, so many things, but it's just so cool to go to this other place.

I love science-fiction. I think when things are tough in the world, it’s a great adventure to go into space. I’m delighted to work with James Cameron again. Our movie, Avatar, is coming out this next Christmas, where I play a very powerful, funny, smart woman scientist. I love science-fiction and I love working with Jim again, but I’m more interested in going forward and doing things I haven’t done, than going back and doing something that I’ve done before.
. . . . . Sigourney Weaver (

Oh, don't make me choose. That's like Solomon. I wouldn't be able to choose because they're such different experiences, making them and for the audience. I just finished working with James Cameron on Avatar and it was great to work with him again. And I would love to work with Ridley Scott again. I've worked with them both twice now. . . . . Sigourney Weaver when asked by an interviewer this summer if she had to choose, would she pick Alien or Aliens. (

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