Avant-garde filmmaker James Cameron who gave us gigantic hits Titanic, True Lies 1 and Terminator 1 & 2 will re-define movie experience when Avatar finally opens in theaters come December 2009.
Conceived as a potential franchise filmed in 3D for release in the new digital 3D format, Avatar is the story of a wounded ex-marine (played by Sam Worthington), thrust unwillingly into an effort to settle and exploit an exotic planet rich in bio-diversity, who eventually crosses over to lead the indigenous race in a battle for survival.
Just as he did with the then little known Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron wanted a new face to portray the lead, Jake Sully. Having searched around the world and screen tested a number of emerging young actors, Cameron has chosen the young Australian Sam Worthington, a rising star who has been recognized by The Australian Film Institute and The Film Critics Circle of Australia in his homeland from such work as Somersault and Dirty Deeds.
Zoe Saldana (The Terminal, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl) will portray the local woman Jake first betrays, then loves. The movie also stars Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez and Giovanni Ribisi.
Said Cameron, "For me, as a lifelong fan of science fiction and action, "Avatar" is a dream project. We're creating an entire world, a complete ecosystem of phantasmagorical plants and creatures, and a native people with a rich culture and language.
The story is both epic and emotional. The two things that make this film even possible are pioneering advances in CG effects and performance capture, as well as my 22 year relationship with Fox, since only with great trust can you operate so close to the cutting edge. I plan to honor that relationship by bringing them a winner. And I have the team to do it, the best team of artists and technicians I've ever been privileged to work with. This one's going to be a grand adventure."
"Every year, our business makes hundreds of films, most of which come and go. But a Jim Cameron film is different," said Fox executives Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos. "Jim's movies raise the bar, both in storytelling and use of technology. Avatar will do so again. The world he has created is breathtaking and the action breathless. Avatar will be a seismic change in the movie going experience."
The film's new image-based process of facial performance capture gets all the subtle nuances of the actors' performances. The virtual camera system also allows Cameron to work intimately with the cast while seeing in real-time, as each scene evolves, the computer generated worlds and characters. This revolutionary approach allows Cameron to direct scenes with CG characters and environments exactly as he would on a live action set.
The edited performances and scenes, incorporating Cameron's hands-on camera moves, will be turned over to Peter Jackson's Oscar-winning visual effects house Weta Digital (The Lord of the Rings trilogy). Weta's artists will incorporate new intuitive CGI technologies to transform the environments and characters into photorealistic 3D imagery that will transport the audience into the alien world rich with imaginative vistas, creatures and characters.
Avatar is the latest creative partnership between Cameron and Twentieth Century Fox, one of the most successful filmmaker-studio alliances in motion picture history. Cameron and Fox first joined forces in 1985 for Aliens, which became a sci-fi classic. Next came The Abyss, which revolutionized visual effects technology; and True Lies, a blockbuster starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 1996, Fox greenlighted Cameron's Titanic, which became the most successful film in history, and won a record-breaking eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
One of the world's largest producers and distributors of motion pictures, Fox Filmed Entertainment produces, acquires and distributes motion pictures throughout the world. These motion pictures are produced or acquired by the following units of FFE: Twentieth Century Fox, Fox 2000 Pictures, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox Animation.