It’s probably better that I didn’t know ahead of time that I was going to sit down with James Cameron this week to talk about “Avatar.”
Surprisingly, I’ve never interviewed James Cameron. I’ve sat down with his longtime producer Jon Landau before, and I attended one press conference around the time “Titanic” hit home video, but the entire time I was at Ain’t It Cool, Harry had Big Jim on lockdown. It was very clear that only one Ain’t It Cooler was allowed near the man, and that was Grande Rojo.
As it was, I had about a day’s advance notice, and it worked out well that way. I didn’t have time to overthink things, and since I had the same six minutes as everyone else, it really wasn’t the time to do the grand epic interview that I’m sure I could do with the man. Instead, we were there to speak quickly about about the upcoming theatrical re-release of “Avatar,” with nine new minutes of footage included, and also to talk about the future of the series.
As I sat down, I had my Moleskine open on my lap, and Cameron pointed at it. “Why do you get a cheat sheet? I don’t need notes.”
“I just want to make sure I get to everything…”
“You won’t,” he said, smiling.
“… and don’t forget anything.”
“You will.” He smiled even more as he said it, and I relaxed, pleased to see how up his post-lunch mood was and pleased to take a little gentle ball-busting from a guy so notoriously demanding of his crews that the official crew shirt on the first “Terminator” sequel actually read “T3: Not With Me” on the back.
I think the resultant conversation was a good one, and I hope someday we have the opportunity to sit down for a real talk at length. I remain just as fascinated and engaged by him as a filmmaker now as I was at 14 when “The Terminator” first appeared in theaters.
Thanks to Fox for putting me in the room, and to Cameron for his time.
“Avatar” returns to theaters and audiences return to Pandora on August 27th.
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