James Cameron is making history with his next flick, Avatar – there's no mistake about it. The movie will be shot on a Cameron-created 3D camera system, using motion capture and live-action in the same shot. It's so impressive, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have both been visiting the set to watch Jim in action.
According to everyone I've spoken to, it's going to change the way we watch film. And that goes the same for Joel David Moore, who stars along side Sigourney Weaver, Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Wes Studi, Michelle Rodriguez, CCH Pounder, Laz Alonso, Peter Mensah and Stephen Lang. Only half-way through shooting, Joel has been amazed at what he's seen so far. "I'll be shooting that for a while; we started in February and we are shooting until February 2008 – it'll be a year of my life by the time it's done. But I gotta tell you, it's the most amazing thing I've ever done."
And that starts with working with Jim Cameron. "He's one of the biggest and best directors in the business and to be able to be put in that position of luxury and comfort is really cool. When I first sat down and read the script for the first time, it's got James Cameron, this is the most amazing thing, it's going to be a sci-fi thing. So I assumed this is just a sci-fi, but it's so much more. And even better than that is what we're doing; it's just stunning. I have to be discrete even talking about it, but they're going to blow your mind. As far as technology, it's history in movie making; people are likening this to the creation of color TV."
In Avatar, Joel and Sigourney play anthropologists, studying plant and nature life, on another planet. "We're over there trying to study this other system," Joel adds. "In that, we learn about them and learn that we like a lot about them that we may or may not like about humanity. And this is something Jim has done well – he's given an arch to all his characters that we all have our own stories and struggles; no one's just tagging along for the ride. It's pretty spectacular."
The interesting part about this system Cameron is using is that no one is allowed to talk about it. Normally, people aren't supposed to talk about their character or the plot of a movie; but this is the first time I've heard where actors and actresses aren't able to discuss what cameras are being used. "It's more of the overall technology being used; Jim knows what he's doing, but we can't talk about the way he's doing it because it's his creation. He's created this style of motion capture."
Joel also credits Jim for bringing in Sigourney, reuniting the two since working on Aliens (1986). "There's a reason she's working on this movie – he's just got that way of making films. And that way is always successful and on top of his game. And I can't say enough about Sigourney; it's just amazing to be able to work with her. She's just a fan of it; she's willing to just go along for the ride. But to watch her in this new technology, in every step of the way been giddy about it, and open to trying everything; she's in there trying with the hustle of trying this. It's me and Sigourney and Sam (Worthington) trekking off to this other world and try to assimilate to this other society, and because of that, almost every one of my scenes is with them. We really team up and get through it and she's been fun throughout this process."
With filming on Avatar not set to end until February '08, and a release date of May 22, 2009, I'd say we're in for a nice surprise.
You can catch Joel in his new horror comedy, Hatchet, in theaters September 7th.