Writer and director James Cameron, who became a household name after creating the lush, mystical world of Pandora in the blockbuster film, “Avatar,” wants to dive down to the deepest part of the ocean to film the “Avatar” sequels.
“I liked the idea of exploring other planets, and then I found out we have this alien planet right here on Earth called the ocean,” Cameron told “Nightline” anchor Bill Weir in an exclusive television interview.
Cameron is planning to take a team down to the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the world’s oceans located off the coast of Japan in the Pacific Ocean.
“I wouldn’t spend all that money on a sub if I wasn’t going in it,” he said.
Pandora’s oceans and their threatened conditions will be the center the ”Avatar” sequels.
“It focuses on ocean issues,” Cameron said. “We’ve got a planet that’s a blue planet. From a distance, you look at it and Earth is a lot more blue than it is brown, you know, the landmass, and we’re making the oceans unsurvivable for a lot of the species right now. … It’s just a way to focus a little energy in that direction.”
“We will see the oceans of Pandora,” he added, ”which we haven’t seen at all, and that’s an ecosystem that I’m dying to start designing because its going to look spectacular.”
The first “Avatar” film showed a beautiful world that was being threatened with destruction, a nod to what’s happening to our real environment. Cameron will be spending the next five years writing the second and third films together, a “continuation” of the same message, he said.
“The themes can play out in a way people can accept,” Cameron said. “I’m not going to become more strident. Well, we got away with this much environmental content in the first movie — not, ‘Let’s double it.’ I think that would be a mistake because it has to be entertainment, first and foremost.”
The irony of making an environmentally-conscious film that requires countless hours of computer work to produce its incredibly complex graphics, all of which draw on energy resources, is not lost on Cameron. In fact, the filmmaker said the next two “Avatar” films will be produced with help from solar power.
“We use a lot of computer power, and so you got a lot of people at work stations. We’re drawing on a lot of wattage for all the computers and render machines,” he said. “What we’re going to do is, essentially, put a 1.2-megawatt solar power station on the roof of our new facility so we will actually be net zero in energy. We’ll get it all from the sun to power the next two ‘Avatar’ films.”
One problem: The technology to make that a reality doesn’t exist yet, but Cameron’s solution is just to invent it.
“We just go to a big solar provider integrator and, you know, you work with a local utility and, so, a power-purchase agreement and the installation [can be designed],” Cameron said. “It’s actually fairly straightforward. … In California, especially, there are some good rebates available for solar, so it actually starts to make it cost-effective.”
Check back Wednesday for more on Bill Weir’s interview with James Cameron. And tune in to “Nightline” on Oct. 12 at 11:35 p.m. ET to see the full story.