Why James Cameron is Done With Developing New Movies

By  · Published on May 7th, 2012

With a dormant development arm, James Cameron has fully committed himself to holding his breath underwater and exploring the depths of narrative that he can mine from Pandora and the world of Avatar. A sequal and a threequel were already in the mix, but The Playlist is noting that Cameron seems more than open about an Avatar 4.

It was 14 years from first draft to finished film, and its been almost 3 years since that sci-fi epic was released, so if the prospect of 3 more seems like it would take up the rest of Cameron’s sane days, it’s because they just might. The director looks to be quitting the original story game.

“I’ve divided my time over the last 16 years over deep ocean exploration and filmmaking. I’ve made two movies in 16 years, and I’ve done eight expeditions. Last year I basically completely disbanded my production company’s development arm. So I’m not interested in developing anything. I’m in the Avatar business. Period. That’s it. I’m making Avatar 2, Avatar 3, maybe Avatar 4, and I’m not going to produce other people’s movies for them. I’m not interested in taking scripts,” said Cameron.

So stop sending them to him, will ya?

The quick math here involves a 57-year-old filmmaker, 3 massive projects with ambitious technological components and zero desire to shift outside that universe. It all adds up to a career that ends on a distant planet with blue cat people.

Of course, the death of original Cameron projects isn’t complete:

“I think within the Avatar landscape I can say everything I need to say that I think needs to be said, in terms of the state of the world and what I think we need to be doing about it. And doing it in an entertaining way. And anything I can’t say in that area, I want to say through documentaries, which I’m continuing. I’ve done five documentaries in the last 10 years, and I’ll hopefully do a lot more. In fact, I’m doing one right now, which is on this, the Deep Sea Challenge project that we just completed the first expedition. So that’ll be a film that’ll get made this year and come out first quarter of next year.”

There it is. Documentaries and Avatar are the only storytelling mediums that Cameron needs now.

Of course it’s a bit unfair to say that he’s done with original filmmaking. After all, the stories and continued adventures of Jake Sully and friends (which would make a great title for one of the franchise entries) are yet to be completely written. However, it’s nothing if not bittersweet to hear that a man who shaped the 80s, 90s and 00s with (sometimes literally) one fell swoop is done playing the game in an open way. It’s like hearing a master brain surgeon claim he’s tired of saving lives and ready to play more golf. It’s also just plain bitter that he’s going to be telling us about the “state of the world” with mustache-twirling unobtanium hunters and the Na’vi.Cameron as guru of the zeitgeist? No thanks.

This is legacy building. Hopefully it won’t be like Kurtz in the jungle. This is from the man who lamented a story crisis in Hollywood, closing out his landmark career with three sequels to a movie that was more lauded for its visuals than its heart. Of course, he’s also got asteroid mining to look forward to in his retirement.

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