James Cameron More Attuned with Actors – The Hollywood Reporter
For James Cameron, the filming of Avatar: The Way of Water allowed him to focus on his actors and their performances in a way he’s not used to. The filmmaker, who is known for set pieces in films such as the Terminator franchise, Titanic and True Lies, notes that it was freeing to have none of the usual distractions on Way of the Water, which was filmed with actors using performance capture technology in New Zealand.
“As a director, I’m much more atuned to the actors, because that’s all I have to worry about,” Cameron says in a new behind-the-scenes featurette, which The Hollywood Reporter is debuting. “I’m not distracted by the camera move or the extras in the background. I’m just there for them. It’s all I care about. It’s all I’m watching.”
For the actors, the workday began donning performance capture suits and head rigs to capture facial expressions. While the original Avatar utilized such technology, the sequel took a leap in its facial performance capture. “We are capturing a much higher fidelity of performance,” says producer Jon Landau.
The film, which opened Dec. 16, has earned $441 million globally to date. Despite the spectacle on screen, the actors found filming to be an intimate affair.
“I’ve done a lot of green screen. I’ve done a lot of blue screen. But never anything of course like this, where there really is no screen. You are just acting in a space,” says Kate Winslet, who joins the franchise as Ronal and reunites with her Titanic director.
For Sam Worthington, who returns as Jake Sully 13 years after starring in the highest grossing film of all time, shooting was “about playing and imagination.”
Says the actor: “There is no fear, there is no shame. You can do whatever you need to do to get to that truth.”