Thursday, February 3, 2011

James Cameron Compares 'Sanctum' And 'Avatar 2' Underwater Scenes

'We have to figure out how to do performance capture underwater, which has never been done,' he says of 'Avatar' sequel.
By Kara Warner

James Cameron
Photo: MTV News

When James Cameron isn't making record-breaking blockbusters or helping NASA design 3-D cameras, he spends his spare time producing the little $30 million underwater thriller "Sanctum," which opens Friday.

In the film, directed by Alister Grierson and written by Australian explorer/ filmmaker/ Cameron pal Andrew Wight, a team of divers get trapped during an underwater expedition when an unexpected storm floods the entrance to a cave. The production was conceived and filmed in 3-D, much of it underwater.

When we caught up with the trio behind the film — Grierson, Cameron and Wight — we asked, given the fact that they now have plenty of experience shooting underwater and in 3-D, if they will be teaming up for "Avatar 2," which Cameron has said will partially take place underwater.

" 'Avatar' does have some underwater stuff, but it will mostly involve characters that are the Na'vi and the Avatars," Cameron said. "So we have to figure out how to do performance capture underwater, which has never been done. That's a whole other problem," he admitted.

When Cameron said he and his friends will look for more opportunities to work together, Grierson joked that he'd be taking over Sam Worthington's role.

"We had a great experience [working together] this time," Cameron said. "I don't know if 'Sanctum 2' is in the cards, though."

He added that, whether or not Grierson and Wight get involved in the "Avatar" action, they'll all be doing more underwater projects and that they learned new tricks from their work on "Sanctum."

"Every time you do a project, you learn. You make the cameras better, you learn more about the procedure," Cameron said, before turning a bit metaphorical about his highly technical filmmaking process. "We like to build race cars and then we like to go race the race car and then we go back and work on the engine some more."

Check out everything we've got on "Sanctum."

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