Archive for Stephen Lang

#1 Most Anticipated Film of 2009 – James Cameron’s AVATAR

Posted in action/adventure, film, news, sci-fi with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2008 by worldofmatmos

An early poster design for the film.

The return of James Cameron to the big-screen with his new sci-fi epic Avatar has fanboys writhing with anticipation. As news slowly seeps out onto the Internet, more of this amazing film is revealed to those not privy enough to be on set. With its release date still more than a year away (December 18, 2009), time cannot pass quickly enough.

For those unfamiliar with Avatar, it had languished in development ever since Cameron first wrote his scriptment back in 1995. The helmer always known for pushing the limits of filmmaking technologies, was unsatisfied with the current technologies at that time to properly produce his epic futuristic tale of interplanetary warfare and colonization.

After the success of Titanic in 1997, Cameron used his unbounded success to explore more interesting endeavors such as his obsession with deep-sea wrecks and the world’s real abysses. Over the better part of nearly a decade, Cameron along with Director of Photography Vince Pace, developed their steroscopic 3D Fusion Camera system in between the production of documentaries like Ghosts of the Abyss and Aliens of the Deep.

The film’s production commenced after it was announced back in 2005, and it wasn’t long before the highly-secretive tentatively-titled Project 880 began leaking rumors throughout online film communities. It was at first believed that Project 880 was Cameron’s long-speculated live-action adaptation of Yukito Kishiro’s manga Battle Angel (now circulating under the pseudonym of Dolphin Project) and will most likely be Cameron’s next endeavor after Avatar to be due in 2011.

Although early drafts of the 80-page scriptment were once available online, they were promptly removed by Lightstorm Entertainment, leaving only remnants for the rest of us get but a glimpse of what’s to come. The story is pure Cameron sci-fi, and centers around an ex-marine named Jake Sully who is thrust into an interplanetary war where humans have left earth to terraform and exploit the distant world of Pandora and its indigenous species for a rare material called unobotanium. With humans being unable to survive on Pandora, they assume the form of an “avatar”, which allows them to inhabit an artificial body as its handler. Jake eventually forms a bond with the indigenous Pandorans – the Na’vi – and helps them to rise up against the human oppressors. Some detractors have called the story boring and preachy with its themes of acculturation and environmentalism (as if that’s something bad); knowing Cameron’s work, we will all be in for the ride of our lives with what he calls “crazy, balls-out sci-fi”.

Cameron and his team have not only revolutionized the digital production pipeline for this and future generations of filmmakers with their pioneering technology and techniques, but these techno-wizards are crafting films that continue to push the limits of the imagination. Working with long-time collaborator Rob Legato, Cameron has a virtual production studio that allows him to utilize “synthespians” in environments generated in real-time and in stereoscopic 3D.

Avatar also reunites Cameron with his Aliens star Sigourney Weaver as a xenobotanist; Australian actor Sam Worthington plays Jake, and Zoe Saldana as a Na’vi princess. The cast also includes Stephen Lang, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel David Moore, and Laz Alonso. Although everyone involved with the film has had to be extremely tight-lipped about the production, what they have disclosed is that it was an extraordinary experience. The film wrapped principal photography earlier this year and has moved into its insanely daunting post-production schedule at full speed.

In recent interviews with Tom Rothman, the Chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment, he has been quoted as saying that the footage he has seen thus far is “the coolest shit [he’s] ever seen.” Next year has quite a slateful of huge movies, but everyone knows to steer clear of December and what could be the film to usher in a new era in cinema. Until more is known, we will just have to wait…