MEET – On the occasion of the release of Avatar: The Waterwaywe caught up with the Canadian director, whose films have already grossed over $6 billion.
“I think this movie is pretty good, right?” James Cameron pauses briefly to catch his breath. Like the characters in Avatar: The Way of Water, in theaters on December 14 in France, the Canadian director has just completed a very long breath-holding session – and a very long answer to a simple question: “Did you like your movie?”
It took five years of work for the sequel to the first episode, released in 2009, to arrive in time for the Christmas holidays – with the last six months particularly intense. “We finished it about a week ago,” resumes Cameron, who receives us in a suite at the Hôtel Bristol, in Paris. Hunt down the director of titanic will have been a challenge: after a missed appointment in September in Los Angeles, then two others by videoconference in October and November, it is in extremis (and after having passed an antigen test) that we catch him before he does not fly to the set of an evening talk show inaugurating the ball of his French promotional tour.
Six months of final sprint, therefore. Seven days a week and eleven hours a day tirelessly checking each sequence, each image of the approximately 3,250 special effects shots needed to assemble Avatar 2. “Not a sprint, a marathon”corrects the filmmaker, evoking the last moments in the mixing room to check the sound and color corrections of the last “realwhich he was working on. “Realfor spool. “It’s a unit of time allowing the film to be broken up into small sequences of ten or twelve minutes. It comes from the time when we worked on film. And the last “real“to have passed the ultimate”quality controlwas number 11. Which, according to our scholarly calculations, corresponds to a little more than half of this film which displays three hours fifteen on the clock. “Three hours and two minutes, with seven minutes of credits”, corrects the director again and politely.
Don’t think that James Cameron likes to split hairs for nothing: his thoroughness, precision and attention to detail are at the heart of his success. An unequaled success which, to this day, sets him apart (some would say above) his peers. How to explain this singularity?