We were at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills to speak Sigourney Weaver about her new movie, You Again. But I wondered how long it would take before someone would ask her about Avatar, and a possible sequel. Of course her character, Dr Grace Augustine died at the end of the movie but, as we all know, Spock came back from the dead in Star Trek, so there is always hope.
About six questions into the interview a clever journalist managed to connect You Again to James Cameron and we were on our way!
Jamie Lee Curtis plays your arch nemsis in this film. Your chemistry with her, another James Cameron chick (True Lies), is wonderful.
She’s such an amazing woman. She’s so herself and so unlike anyone I’ve ever met. She comes into the trailer in the morning, she takes charge, she fixes your hair, she brings you a book, she tells you what you should wear. She just is a force of nature, and I just love her. We e-mail each other, ‘Dear Frienemy,’ we adore each other. It would be fun to do something else with her.
So what’s happening with Avatar 2?
Well, I’m not at liberty to talk about it, but of course it is science fiction, (she added with a twinkle in her eyes). But there will definitely be an Avatar 2. Jim is already at work on it.
Are you surprised at all by the movie’s phenomenal success?
I am surprised, and I think I’m grateful to Jim for re-inventing 3D as something that has real emotional power. I think that 3D continues to be used in a not very intelligent way. As if it’s a novelty and that’s what the audience wants, when really what the audience wants is for it to be immersed in an experience which is really compelling.
I don’t think anyone realized that Avatar would bring so many people into the theatre who hadn’t been to the theatre for so long. I think it’s a great thing to be a part of, because I think it’s so much about excellence, the excellence Jim brings to whatever he does.
You’ve been in blockbuster hits before, this is a little different. How are people responding to you?
Well, I think I’ve finally accepted the fact that people are going to ask me for my autograph. I’ve sort of lived this hunted life in New York, pretending that I was I just an actor, and now that’s gone.
That didn’t happen to you after playing Ripley in Alien?
It did, but I was in denial for years. But now there’s no turning back. I’m now an Avatar, and now I am a household name. I was sort of holding on to that little shred of privacy. But I feel so fortunate to be working so much in this business, to have all these opportunities. And I’ve finally embraced my fate
Do you think the industry has over-embraced 3D?
I don’t follow all the stories, but I think it’s not appropriate for every film. I can certainly understand filmmakers saying, ‘Why do I have to do this?’ It is appropriate for certain films if you want to do that. But I think it should be up to the filmmaker and it should not be dictated by the studio.
I think the studio says, ‘Okay, I want 20 3D films!’ They’re not going to be the best films. That’s not how you do it. Each story must invite a certain technology, and I think Jim’s technology was so different. It’s so actor-oriented.
One of the things in the DVD is going to be 40 minutes where you’re going to see us doing performance capture in our little black suits against what’s in the film. So you’re going to see Zoe Saldana pick up this huge kick-ass bow, put an arrow in and shoot it.
I think the acting community’s going to see the performance capture in Avatar is so inspired, and off every nuance of the actor’s performance, which I think wasn’t clear when the movie came out, because it was such an overwhelming experience for people. Jim is committed to actors; that’s why he calls it performance capture and not motion capture, and it really sets the actor up as the basis of the whole thing.
He really did spend years thinking about the technology.
Oh, I think so, and he’s refining it even more now.