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James Cameron and BATTLE ANGEL ALITA, GHOSTS OF THE ABYSS and more clues about that next film!

Hey folks, Harry here with a ton of reports from around the world regarding James Cameron and the ever-elusive next project. I think right now, Jim is unsure which project will be his next one. He's honing in on it, and it is just a matter of which project from the few in front of him he's liking most. From past experience, I'd say we'll most likely hear an announcement in August regarding the next film title, till then, he'll continue to develop the projects he's keying on, and make a decision at that time. Of course, that's just speculation at this point... Only Jim knows the truth... Let's get on to the reports...

Moviehole gets the lowdown on Jim Cameron's plans for "Battle Angel Alita"  

James Cameron's been flogging the bejesus out of his latest effort "Ghosts of the Abyss" and while doing so talking to every man and his dog about the next projects on his plate. One project he hasn't touched on much is "Battle Angel Alita", and in an upcoming edition of Hot Dog magazine he belatedly addresses it. "Battle Angel is a very real possibility, and that's the film that I fully intend to direct, that I *will* direct ? the issue is will it be the next film, or will it be the one after the next film? That's really all there is to it at this point. We've done a tremendous amount of design for the film, we're fine-tuning the script, it's just a matter of time.", says Cameron.

"What I like about it is that when we first meet Alita she's very young, she's sort of almost pre-pubescent in a way, and she actually matures throughout the story. I like that, that the development of her mind actually affects her physicality. There's a lot of really great things about it, and there's a lot of things ? whether the artist really intended them or not ? that I read into it, and so I think it'll be a good fusion of what Kashiro created and how I would do things."

"The manga is very episodic and very discordant ? it's not internally consistent, meaning sometimes she looks like one thing and has one set of abilities, and at the whim of Kashiro he'll go off on a whole different tangent. It needs to be fused and focused and given a centralised storyline. But the character will be very, very true to Alita as she is in the manga."

"Motorball might find its way more into the second film ? I definitely want to do more than one film. I want to create a world and a character that can go through at least one more film, possibly more. And that's not just for the classic financial reasons, it's just that I think there's a possibility for a real mythology here, so I feel that this is a good canvas to do something big that's got more scope."

Cameron also talks a little more about why he won't be doing "True Lies 2".

"I'm not too keen on that. I just feel that the geopolitical climate has changed so much in the last year and a half. In the days following the September 11 attack, I just felt like I didn't want to do anything that had to do with a light action-comedy dealing with a counter-terrorism unit. It just didn't appeal to me at all. We played that light because at that time, I don't think people took that kind of threat particularly seriously. I think people are very different now."



Next we had this tidbit from Sailor Ripley which amused me, because I would just like to see Cameron wearing the "Blue Peter Badge"!

hello there

don't know if you've heard this already but James Cameron was on tv over here on monday afternoon on the kids magazine show 'blue peter'. he was i guess talking about his imax-titanic(?) thing, but the presenter was shameless in putting him on the spot for scoops on his next project. he tried his best to dodge, but she got him to say it would be something along the lines of a 'big hollywood blockbuster' and after much more persuasion, a "science fiction" film. i guess that may not be saying much, but the guy really did not want to talk about it. at least he got a 'blue peter badge' out of it, which over here is like a knighthood for kids who do real geeky things and adults who will probably never get a real one.

thanks for the site by the way. any david lynch tidbits?


Sailor Ripley

Next I got this tiny report from Ed regarding the London IMAX screening of GHOSTS OF THE ABYSS that went down a couple nights ago...

Hi Harry  

I was in attendance at the London IMAX preview on Ghosts of the Abyss last night where James Cameron was in attendance fielding questions from a mostly happy crowd. He was been interviewed for the Guardian and let slip a few tantalising details about his next feature, although he wasn't saying what it was. What we do know is a)its a 20th century fox production (So Alien 5 is a possibility?), b) its BIG budget. When pushed he said that it was "virtually impossible to make but thats the way I like it. I like the big show." c)It will feature some computer generated characters- not the synthespians he once talked about to be sure but complexed characters based a la Gollum on human performances and d)it'll be filmed using the Reality 3-D system used for GOTA. Apparently he has expecting over a 1000 theatres to be kitted out withthe necessary projection system forthe release.  

So Cameron goes digital for a uber-project costing a fuck load of dollars? As long as it isn't set on an ocean liner i'm the right side of excited.  

Hope this is of interest.  

Ed Whitfield, London England

Next we have a lengthy report from James Lowe regarding that same screening, but in fuller detail. Enjoy...

Hi Harry,

A veteran reviewer/reporter here with a review of Ghosts Of The Abyss...


The biggest screen in England. Showing a James Cameron Film. In Imax format. And 3D too.

Okay, that sounded interesting when I was stumping up the cash for tickets. Add in the fact that it was the premiere and that James Cameron was going to be there and, yeah okay, I'll admit it, I was very interested.

Firstly, the film, and I know it's already been reviewed so I'll keep it short and sweet.


There, that's that out of the way.

Afterwards, Cameron came out for the obligatory interview/Q & A session and gave the audience the lowdown on his early days working for Roger Corman ("true guerilla film-making... we actually made sets using MacDonalds' trays to look like spaceship interiors, I'm not kidding.") to his obsession with technology ("I'm a self-confessed boffin, in touch with my inner nerd")

Talking about Ghosts, he commented on Bill Paxton playing the consistently scared-shitless character in all his films from Aliens onwards, to his own obsession with technology: "I see technology as being our potential destruction and our potential salvation. Even in Titanic, the survivors were rescued thanks to wireless technology."

He confessed to only making Ghosts as an excuse to go down to the Titanic wreck ("...filming was secondary...") a fact which the interviewer commented was like john Huston making films as an excuse to go hunting. This recieved an unsure response, "uh, yeah, sure... Did he do that?"

Then, he went into detail on the shoot itself: "We'd freefall for two hours, then acquire the wreck. A short dive would end up being twelve hours, along one would be sixteen. it was like being wedged into a volkswagen for an entire day... We expected to find pockets, not the complete preservation that we got. Nobody expected wood panelling and mirrors to still be intact."

He said he was halfway through a documentary focusing on geological sites in the atlantic and pacific oceans, photographing communities of animals that have rarely been seen before. He sees this as "... the link between inner and outer space as scientists say life in the sea would probably mirror what would exist on Mars or Europa."

Now there were some questions that obviously needed answers and the audience as a whole seemed to be trying to get the info we wanted out of him. Here's what we got:

Opinions on Terminator 3: "... I went from being a truck driver to a director and I never owned the rights to the films, but I was fortunate enough to direct T2 on my own terms. But (with T3) I felt it was time to move on. The primary reason for T3 was financial which didn't interest me. Arnold held on through loyalty to me, but I eventually said to him, 'go on, charge them a lot of money and go make a movie.' and he did."

The BIG question... His next project. Only clues, I'm afraid, but here they are:

* He is doing a film next year. Shooting starts in January.

* It will be in 3D, for 20th Century Fox. Plus, he is getting Fox to facilitate 1000 more cinemas to cope with 3D.

Now, he went on to say how he planned to alternate back and forth between mainstream movies and documentaries, but said that his next mainstream effort will be "... really, really hard, like impossible to do. In the vain of Avatar, using synth-actors. But, it needs to be actor-driven, not key frame animation." He also mentioned Battle Angel Alita, which is in the "production queue and just waiting to be made. In 3D, of course."

One thing he said was a definite though: He will never shoot on film again, it's digital all the way. Can't say I'm surprised to hear that.

I asked him if he would ever go back to low-budget film-making just to test himself. His answer: "This is low-budget. $12 million. And Dark Angel too, TV is low-budget compared to film. This is K-mart stuff. I've done a lot of press in the U.S for this film and I'm amazed they never asked me about the budget for this. I guess because it's a documentary they don't care."

Hmmm, I actually meant low-budget like in the Corman days, but--hey!-- any answer would do.

Then, things got a little weird as a foreign gent asked him whether he had borrowed ideas from the Doc Savage books, quoting some similarities. Cameron denied it, but the guy seemed unconvinced and carried on until he finally took the hint and let someone else ask a question.

Outside = surreal. A mob of hysterical fans were camped outside, getting way too worked up about autographs and photos. One threatened to call the police when a bouncer moved him out of the way of the door. This was scarier than anything else. Forget Aliens, Fanboys are the real deal. Imagine an army of Rupert Pupkins invading. Earth wouldn't stand a chance!

All the best,

James Lowe

Finally we have this report from that same screening from Hicks... just a few different details, here ya go...

Hi Harry,

Call me Hicks.

I saw Ghosts of the Abyss at the BFI London IMAX last night (not going to talk about that - you got it covered). But Mr Cameron was there for an interview following the film.

Mostly it was retrospective or about Ghosts (he is a very giving and comprehensive Q&A man), but there were a couple of tidbits...

1) His oft-mooted space project was originally for MIR but focus was shifted to the International Space Station after MIR was de-orbited. This is on hold because of the recent shuttle disaster - although he stressed that he was willing to do anything NASA required of him...

2) He will be releasing another IMAX 3D film about deep sea vents that have their own unique ecosystems. It is being shot and he says it is the most spectacular thing he has ever laid eyes on.

3) He categorically declared that he would be entering pre-production on his next feature by the end of the year! He would not name it nor give specifics, BUT he was drawn by a question about AVATAR to say that it was in that vein, but not as hard line as AVATAR, but would involve actor-driven digital characters. He talked about how TWO TOWERS had made it clear that digicharacters could be done well. It will be shot digitally - he intends to never shoot on film again (except, interestingly, for slow mo shots...lots of technobabble followed which I can't summate here). He also said it will be 3D!!! Like the way he pushed Disney to outfit 50 odd theatres in the US with 35mm 3D capabilities for Ghosts, likewise he is asking for 1000 screens to be ready for this feature, which will be screened as 2D and 35mm 3D. It won't be IMAX cos IMAX can't support feature length.

4)He said he will definitely be directing his manga/anime project in the future. Apologies, I can't remember the title off the top of my head.

I think that's everything...

He also said a fairly terrific thing when answering the obligatory 'advice for aspiring film-makers' question:

"I don't care if you've shot 2 mins or 200 mins, if you've shot something you are a film-maker. Everything after that is budget negotiation."


Harry here... Ok... so the screen count has risen from 500 to a 1000 screens that will be outfitted for 3D for Cameron's next film. Heavy duty digital characters brought to life in a fashion similar to Gollum, being heavily actor based. He's definitely passionate about BATTLE ANGEL ALITA and wants to do multiple films with that character. He's basically saying that the next film is between BATTLE ANGEL ALITA and a different science fiction film. Of the other science fiction projects he has that we know about... there are... FATHOM, FORBIDDEN PLANET, FANTASTIC VOYAGE, an Untitled MARS project, PLANET ICE, GODSPEED and AVATAR. OF those... if I were willing to place a wager... I'd have to say I bet this next film is between BATTLE ANGEL ALITA, GODSPEED and PLANET ICE. Just call it a hunch at this stage. And if you were putting a gun to my head and asking me what his next film would be... I'd say GODSPEED. I don't know much of anything about it. I know that it was a pitch by Ryne Douglas Pearson (who wrote KNOWING, which Richard Kelly has re-written and is turning into a film). I know that GODSPEED is an action adventure film set in space... If anyone out there knows more than the logline on this project, e-mail me, so we can determine if this is a real probability. BATTLE ANGEL ALITA would require digital characters to be done perfectly... PLANET ICE... I just don't know anything about. Hmmmmm... the search continues...

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