Hey folks, Harry here... with a report on the Q&A that James Cameron gave at the 70mm presentation of THE ABYSS and ALIENS in L.A. There's some fun stuff here - so give it a look!
Hey Harry, This probably isn’t a scoop, but I thought it would qualify as “cool news” and wanted to send something in – here in L.A., film geeks had a veritable Sophie’s Choice tonight between the “Back to the Future” marathon at the New Beverly and a double feature of “Aliens” and “The Abyss” in 70MM with a James Cameron Q & A sandwiched in between at the grand old Aero Theatre (where Donnie Darko was shot). I chose the latter and don’t regret the decision (especially since they will also be doing a BTTF marathon tomorrow). Needless to say, a discussion about “Aliens” quickly became all about "Avatar" and though there was not a whole lot that wasn’t known before, it was pretty spellbinding to hear Cameron talk about this stuff. Here are some of the interesting tidbits: - Cameron never thought he’d shoot a new movie in 1.85 ratio, but he loves the way 3D looks in that ratio, so audiences seeing the film in 3D will get a 1.78 presentation versus audiences who see the film in scope (widescreen) in 2D. - He seemed unusually humble and said that “Avatar” may not make film history, but there are a few shots in the film that he knows for certain will be quite memorable, saying that he has his crew just got something back from the lab that made them say, “what the fuck?” (further fueling the “fucking our eyeballs” fire). - He also said that the CG special effects aren’t necessarily revolutionary, but he believes that the way he’s shooting the film, with a camera that can give him and the actors instant feedback with a rendered image that loosely replicates what will be on screen in the final product, could very well change moviemaking. (He said the rendering looks like an “80’s video game” right now, but technology should advance to the point where it could look like the final product while they're filming on set.) - When somebody asked about getting good performances out of the actors when they’re acting opposite a tennis ball, he said he didn’t see how it was any different than somebody auditioning for him in an office in Santa Monica, and that on his next film, whatever that may be, he should be able to create a rig where an actor could be interacting with a monitor that could provide a virtual acting partner (with a voice) – he said it was just too expensive for this one for too few scenes. -When asked about the future of exhibition, he said it could be an “indefinite” period of time before 3D films won’t require glasses, but believed that stereoscopic 3D could be moving to TV screens and portable devices within the next five years and added that “since we spend our lives in front of screens at work and when we come home, don’t you think if there was an improvement for screens, people would want it?” - He did take a non-Avatar question when someone asked about “having other people take over franchises that you created.” He got a huge laugh when he cut to the chase and said, “oh Terminator?” He then said that he basically traded the rights for Terminator for a directing career and then when Arnold Schwarzenegger wanted to do T3, his heart just wasn’t in it, though he had a few ideas. He said the producers “ran off with the rights, which caused some bad blood” and so when Arnold asked him after they were going in a different direction, Cameron told him, “just do me one thing – ask for more money than anyone ever has.” Arnold said, “reeeeealllly?” He said, “yes. Because what idiots would make a Terminator movie without you?” Which seemed like a direct jab at Terminator Salvation even though he was talking about T3. The audience roared accordingly. -Somebody also asked about his reputation as a hardass on set and compared him with Michael Mann, to which Cameron jokingly replied, “What? Michael Mann’s a whacko.” (A crew member from two of his films stood up and defended him.) - He also described his time since Titanic, mostly deep sea diving, seeing things “more amazing than anything in Hollywood since it was real.” It ended with the moderator saying “I feel like we witnessed something historic,” which it surely did. And if you ever get to see either "Aliens" or "The Abyss" in 70MM, don't pass it up - it's fucking amazing. If you’re able to use this, call me Marsellus Wallace.