Elusive director James Cameron has finally announced his next movie project — it’s called AVATAR, and it means he WON’T be makes Battle Angel Alita for a while, anyway. In EW he explains they were working on both scripts but…
The way I pitched it to Fox was, ”We’re doing both these films.” The order is relatively arbitrary, because we’re making an investment in a methodology and a technical infrastructure that could produce both. But I ultimately had to choose which one was going to be first, and I began to run into a bunch of script problems with Battle Angel, because I was synthesizing down these graphic novels. There are 10 of them. It was the kid in the candy store problem — too many good ideas and no story. So we went through five drafts and didn’t solve them. So I switched to Avatar and we started developing that. Then, of course, a great script came in on Battle Angel!
Later in the same interview, Cameron sets The Beat‘s heart a pounding with this description of what AVATAR will be about:
Well, my inspiration is every single science fiction book I read as a kid. And a few that weren’t science fiction. The Edgar Rice Burroughs books, H. Rider Haggard — the manly, jungle adventure writers. I wanted to do an old fashioned jungle adventure, just set it on another planet, and play by those rules.
Your premise reminded me a lot of the Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter, Warlord of Mars series.
It’s definitely got that feeling, and I wanted to capture that feeling, but updated. To be certain, I wanted a film that could encompass all my interests, from biology, technology, the environment — a whole host of passions. But I’ve always had a fondness for those kind of science fiction/adventure stories, the male warrior in an exotic, alien land, overcoming physical challenges and confronting the fears of difference. Do we conquer? Exploit? Integrate? Avatar explores those issues.
Meanwhile, Cameron must first conquer director M. Night Shyamalan, who has, as luck would have it, ALSO announced a project called AVATAR…except this time it’s The Last Airbender. Yes, Mr. Surprise Ending will direct a film based on the popular Nick cartoon, which is manga-esque but NOT based on a Japanese property, in case you were wondering. The dueling Avatar’s may have to duke it out, Hollywood style.
Although they may have the same name, the two projects have nothing to do with each other in terms of storylines. Cameron’s is a sci-fi action-adventure that he’s been working on for 11 years.
Par said it has registered the name of its project with the Motion Picture Assn. of America.
A Fox rep said, “We own the movie title ‘Avatar.’ There won’t be another film called ‘Avatar’ coming from anyplace.”