‘Avatar’ director James Cameron talks ‘Hugo’ and 3D with Martin Scorsese

What do James Cameron, Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson have in common? Well, a number of things, probably, but as of late, they are directors who have moderated Q&As with Martin Scorsese following screenings of his latest film, “Hugo.”

Paramount has a history of slotting filmmakers for Q&As. It’s something they try to do as often as possible, anyway, and in the case of DGA screenings (one of which Wes Anderson moderated in New York a few weeks back), the requirement is that members serve as moderators. All that aside, it’s an interesting accent on a film like “Hugo,” which is ultimately about the magic of cinema, from the larger-than-life experience of a movie to the joy of the nuts and bolts of making one.

With that in mind, the studio has made available a featurette with Cameron (who moderated a guild Q&A here in Los Angeles for “Hugo” and called it a “masterpiece”) and Scorsese talking about the film, its themes, the 3D technology employed and more.

“Your film is about the magic of cinema,” Cameron says in the video below. “And the movie is magical…It’s like a 16-cylinder Bugatti firing on all cylinders, and the 3D is one of those cylinders…It’s absolutely the best 3D photography that I’ve seen.”

Says Scorsese of 3D, “It’s such an exciting chance now for the medium to expand. Imagine ‘Citizen Kane’ in 3D.” Of course, he adds for good measure, “I’m not saying do it.”

And the philosophy fits in, ultimately, with Scorsese’s passion for the form. I smiled when he talked about cinema heading toward holograms when he spoke following an early-November screening of the film. “In ‘Hamlet’ the character can walk into the audience and do ‘to be or not to be,'” he said, giddy at the prospect.

It’s also interesting to note that along with Scorsese, Steven Spielberg (“The Adventures of Tintin”) and Francis Ford Coppola (“Twixt”) have taken to 3D as of late. Are the legends adapting to a natural progression or are they sparking to a new element and searching for ways to pioneer it in their way? Probably a bit of both.

Check out the featurette below. “Hugo” opens nationwide on Wednesday, November 23.

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