James Cameron spoke at a press junket today to promote the release of the Avatar extended edition Blu-ray set. Cameron spoke in regard to his Avatar sequels, his rumored Cleopatra project and the upcoming television series based on his 1994 film, True Lies.
“Our plan right now is to do two and three as a single large production and release them a year apart,” Cameron said, “In order to do that, we have to refine our technical processes beyond the end of where we were finishing ‘Avatar’ one a year ago. We need to future-proof ourselves out five or six years to the end of the third film.”
Though Cameron’s name has recently been brought up in connection with Cleopatra [with Angelina Jolie attached to star], Cameron announced that it was currently undetermined whether or not he’d come aboard that specific project.
“I haven’t made any decisions about that,” were Cameron’s exact words, “but here’s a decision: I’m not going to work on a film between [’Avatar’] two and three. It’s really a question of whether or not I do one between now and when we start two. We’re evaluating how much of our techwork and how much of our facility work it’s going to take. That’s not decided as of right now. I’d love to just start on ‘Avatar 2’ right now, but I don’t know if that’s possible or if it makes sense to wait.”
In the meantime, Cameron is continuing work on his Avatar novel, which he hopes will serve as a bible for other creators to offer their own unique takes on the world of Pandora.
“The novel’s a big project,” said Cameron, “It’s not a novelization... I asked myself, ‘If this had been based on a book, what would that book have been?’ It ends coterminously with the end of the movie. I’m not going to give you one frame beyond that. But how about the 30 years before Jake came to Pandora? The discovery of the planet? Grace’s arrival there? All the back story and the history of Earth. All the context and then everything lateral to what you see in the movie. Whether it’s things that are happening off-camera or things that are happening inside the characters’ heads.”
Cameron also reiterated his thoughts on Sigourney Weaver’s character returning for Avatar sequels, despite her apparent death in the first film.
“Who said she died?” Cameron teased with a big grin, “Nobody dies in a science fiction movie. Whether Grace lives or dies depends more on Sigourney’s agent than anything."
Though he’s listed as a producer, one project that doesn’t have Cameron’s full attention is the upcoming True Lies series, planned for development at ABC.
“I’m not really doing that,” Cameron said, “That was initiated by others. Friends of mine who wanted to do that. I said, ‘Yes, go with God. Do ‘True Lies.’ But do I have to show up to do anything?’ They said, ‘Absolutely not.’”
Though Cameron has been involved with a number of scripts for potential True Lies sequels over the years, he added that he’s not aware whether any of the ideas from those drafts will be incorporated into the show.