James Cameron Discusses Putting the "Heart and Soul" into Avatar's Aliens

James Cameron Discusses Putting the "Heart and Soul" into <em>Avatar's</em> Aliens

The celebrated director says that the goal of the technology behind Avatar was to make it "disappear."

When James Cameron introduced footage of his new 3-D sci-fi film, Avatar, at the San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC), he said that the idea for the movie had been in his head for over fourteen years, but he waited a decade to begin developing the project because he had to wait until technology caught up to his imagination.

Cameron, tight-lipped about Avatar until SDCC, admitted that creating realistic characters was the "biggest challenge of the film."

"No matter how much art and technology we threw at this thing, if it wasn’t in the eyes of the characters – if you didn’t see a soul there – it would just be a big clanking machine."

Cameron said that they spent "a lot of time on the charcter design," but that ultimately it was the technology and the performances of the actors that allowed the digital characters to come to life.

"In theory, [actress Zoe Saldana] doesn't appear photographically in the film but we wanted the character to be based on her, the way her mouth and face and eyes look and then we just kind of stretched and dilated it. Her eyes are four times the size of a human eyeball by volume. They're huge. We knew that being driven by the performance that she gave that it'd still have heart and soul which was the critical thing. I think that after the first few minutes you forget that they're blue. I mean, really, it was a fine line to walk between making them too alien.

"The ideal movie technology is so advanced that it waves a magic wand and makes itself disappear. I think that's what we tried to do on Avatar."

Avatar was written and directed by Cameron and also stars Sam Worthington, Michelle Rodriguez, Sigourney Weaver and Giovanni Ribisi.

Avatar opens December 18th!

Click HERE for an Avatar picture gallery!
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