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James Cameron delves into the 3D world of Cirque du Soleil | Chicago Sun-Times

December 20, 2012

The Aerialist (Igor Zaripov right) leads Mi(EricLinz) through fantasy world artistry 'Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away.'

From The Chicago Sun-Time by Cindy Pearlman on 12/20/12

Go to the deepest recess of the ocean. James Cameron has been there – and done that.

To help shoot some scenes for his new “Cirque” movie, Cameron decided to abandon the water and hit the sky. “I’m not the DP, I’m in a body harness hanging 80 feet above the stage filming ‘Ka.’”

Does he ever worry about his own safety? “Nah,” Cameron says. “I always put myself in the place where I want to be. Doing a Cirque movie is exactly where I want to be.’”

Doesn’t he have any fears? “Put me in a body harness with a camera and I’m fine. Free rock climbing, however, is something you will never see me do. Ever!”

Cameron produced the new film “Cirque du Soleil 3D,” directed by Andrew Adamson and opening Dec. 21. The film uses his CPG’s Fusion 3D camera system. The film has Cameron joining forces with Adamson and Cirque Du Soleil and tells the story of various hit shows including “Ka” and the watery “O.”

The plot revolves around a young couple who lose each other and must travel through the dreamy worlds of Cirque to come back together.

Question: What interested you in Cirque du Soleil in the first place?

James Cameron: I kept hearing from so many people how much they love Cirque du Soleil. I haven’t seen every single one of them, but I’ve seen a good number of them for the last 20 years. I love the experience; my kids love it. Then I met the CEO of Cirque when I was finishing “Avatar.” He looked at the 3D in “Avatar” and I said, “Why aren’t we doing something about your shows in 3D?” I got contracted to supply the cameras and thought, I’d like to do more, so I finagled my way into it.

Q.This is a true high-wire act with the performers in danger all the time.

JC: I’m astonished by the capabilities of human beings and what they train themselves to do. What we do see is the thousands of hours going into creating a peak physical performance. If you ever tour the Cirque headquarters in Montreal, where they have a big training facility, they start with the creme de la creme of acrobats and contortionists. They’re coming in well-trained and have to learn the choreography. I expected these performers to be divas, but when you’re with them they’re so sweet and humble. They’re this big family. For filming, they gave us the guidelines of where you put the camera and how many takes before we tired them out.

Q.How far along are you when it comes to that little film you’re working on these days called “Avatar 2?”

JC: Oh, believe me, it’s not that little! It’s not exactly a little, intimate drama. I’m working on “Avatar 2” and “Avatar 3.” I was talking the other day with Peter Jackson and said, “You had it easy dude. You had the books when you did the second and third ‘Lord of the Rings.’ I have to create my own books in my head and extract a script from it.” I’m deep into it and I’m living in Pandora right now. There is that start-up torque where you feel it’s coming to you. Then you build up momentum. That’s when it gets fun. The characters talk and it’s writing itself. I’m almost there right now. It’s building fast.

Q.Where do you write?

JC: As a writer, I need isolation. I’m calling you from New Zealand right now where I’m writing on a little farm. When you live in a special world like Pandora, you have to live in that world and the quiet helps. The only problem is it’s a little too nice when it comes to the weather. I want to go play outdoors.

Q.Do you ever feel the pressure of topping yourself?

JC: Pressure, no. It’s a little daunting because sequels are always tricky. You have to be surprising and stay ahead of audience anticipation. At the same time, you have to massage their feet with things that they know and love about the first film. I’ve walked that line in the past, so I’m not too worried about it. At the same time, I definitely have to deliver the goods.

Q.Do you have a release date you can share with us for the new “Avatars?”

JC: That will be determined by when I get the script out. No pressure!

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