Avatar sequels will 'almost certainly' be shot in NZ
Thu, 26 Jul 2012 10:39a.m.
Hollywood director James Cameron says the Avatar sequels will almost certainly be shot in New Zealand where film crews have a "freshness and flexibility" he no longer finds in the US.
He has told the New York Times that he was not moving to New Zealand to compete with Wellington-based Sir Peter Jackson.
The two directors are regarded as kindred spirits who push technological limits of film.
The New York Times article profiles the southern Wairarapa area Cameron has controversially purchased land in, saying Pounui Ridge "comes close" to being like Pandora, Cameron's mythical Avatar planet, because it overflows with odd wildlife.
The Avatar sequels will almost certainly be shot in Sir Peter's Wellington production studio, about 15 minutes by helicopter from Pounui, the report says.
Visual effects will be completed at Weta Digital, though motion-capture work on the Avatar sequels will still be done on a stage in California.
Avatar 2 will not be ready until 2015 or later, at least a year later than Fox wanted.
It was ultimately New Zealand's contemporary film culture that persuaded Cameron to shift his work life, in stages, toward the Southern Hemisphere.
New Zealand film crews "aren't the sort of third-generation people you find working on sound stages in a very jaded Los Angeles", said the Canadian-born director named last year as Hollywood's top earner.
Cameron may build new facilities in Auckland.
But he is careful not to challenge Sir Peter.
"I'm not there to compete with Peter," he said.
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