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James Cameron. Photo by Ruben V. Nepales

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Zoe Saldana. Photo by Ruben V. Nepales

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Sam Worthington. Photo by Ruben V. Nepales

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Sigourney Weaver. Photo by Ruben V. Nepales



Only in Hollywood
Avatars making love

By Ruben V. Nepales
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 16:03:00 12/26/2009

Filed Under: Entertainment (general), Celebrities, Cinema

LOS ANGELES ? In the interest of investigative journalism, we asked director James Cameron the nagging question that has been in your mind since you watched ?Avatar? with millions of other people: How do the Na?vi and the avatars make love?

?I can?t answer that in mixed company,? said James ? ?Jim? to his cast and crew ? with a smile, suddenly being coy as he looked at the group of journalists interviewing him. But he added: ?Actually, we had it in and we cut it out.? Then, still grinning, he quipped: ?So that will be something for the special edition DVD, if you want to see how they have sex.?

But when the company was no longer, um, mixed, the director of the visually stunning film told us how they make whoopee in Pandora: They use their tails.

Added DVD footage

?They do!? exclaimed Zoe Saldana, alluring but definitely not as towering in person as her 10-foot-tall, blue-skinned character, Neytiri. With the way she described this scene with Sam Worthington (Jake Sully), ?Avatar? may earn millions of dollars more when the DVD version is released with this added footage: ?It made such perfect sense. If you sink to your banshee and you?re sinking to a tree, why not sink into a person? I almost feel like you?ll have the most amazing orgasm, I guess [laughter]. It was a very funny scene to shoot because there were so many technical things that sometimes you have to keep in mind that paying attention to all those might disrupt the fluidity of how a scene is supposed to take place.?

Zoe continued: ?And because Jim was shooting for a PG-13 rating, we couldn?t move in certain directions. The motion would look a little too past the PG-13 rating standards. So it was really funny for Sam and me. We had a lot of giggles there.?

Technological breakthroughs

The actress of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent, commented on James, who is being hailed for his technological breakthroughs in ?Avatar?: ?I?ve never worked with folks like Jim and Sam on such an intimate level because we were working for a year and a half. Jim was extremely generous with his knowledge and his art. He will stop any train, office or engine to answer any questions because he understood very early on ? and this was a very wise thing to do if you?re going to work with technologies like performance capture ? that you have to invest the time in allowing your actors to know exactly what they?re doing and establish a very specific tonality with every scene.

?So that when I?m supposed to be reacting to something, I need to know its size, color and texture. Jim always knew that. He wanted us to have a very close relationship with our environment in the film even if it wasn?t there while we were shooting. That?s why we went to Hawaii, where we got our feet wet in the rain forests. By the time we got back to LA and started shooting, I knew what it was like to walk on forest grounds even though we were shooting in a warehouse that was completely gray and all cement.?

Sam was in a skirt the previous time we interviewed him on the set of ?Clash of the Titans? in England. ?I was wearing a lovely skirt, showing off my legs,? the actor gamely recalled in this latest interview. Well, he actually had a kilt on in his role for ?Clash?? but Sam?s typical Australian humor kicked in. At one point in that chat in the UK, he naughtily raised the kilt.

Like an expedition

When Sam was asked if he hangs out with James, he referred to the filmmaker?s forays in a Russian submersible to shoot his underwater documentaries. The actor, predicted to be one of the breakout stars in 2010, said: ?I?ve had beers with Jim but I haven?t gone on expeditions with him yet. I?m a bit nervous doing those expeditions. Because he goes out with these Russians and launches his submarines. But I?d still like to do those expeditions with him. Making a movie with him is like an expedition. He?s a truck driver from Canada and I?m a bricklayer from Australia. We get on like a house on fire. We?re both down-to-earth and passionate about work. And we know how lucky we are to be working in this industry. I would have a beer with him anytime. I?d buy him about 10, if not more.?

Spending almost two years with the ?Titanic? director didn?t feel like drudgery at all, according to Sam. He explained: ?I didn?t feel during the 14 months that I was filming that I was doing a big juggernaut of a movie. That?s how much Jim would protect Zoe and me. It was like you?re in the eye of the storm which was very smooth and calm. This is not putting the film down, but it felt like we were making a small Australian film. That?s how Jim operates. It?s a family.?

Sigourney Weaver, Dr. Grace Augustine in the film which is praised as one of the year?s best, worked with James on ?Aliens,? back when he wasn?t ?King of the World? yet. She recalled how the crew was hostile to James, who was not yet widely acclaimed then compared to Ridley Scott, who worked on the first film in the ?Alien? series.

The actress, who told us that she couldn?t believe it has been nearly 30 years since she shot ?The Year of Living Dangerously? with Mel Gibson in the Philippines, said: ?When Jim and I were doing ?Aliens,? the crew was like, ?Ridley Scott?s shoes are too big for Jim, this Canadian guy, to step into.? Every time he tried to show his work, ?The Terminator,? to the crew, they wouldn?t show up. But he did a wonderful job on ?Aliens? and the crew eventually came to respect him very much, but it wasn?t easy.?

In the spirit of fun, Sigourney was asked if James should now be promoted to ?Emperor of the Universe? amid the greater acclaim being bestowed on him since ?Avatar? dazzled critics and filmgoers alike. ?Yes, I think it has to be a bigger place ? the solar system or two solar systems,? Sigourney replied with a laugh. ?But he has earned it. I remember reading the script ? I?m a fast reader but it took about three days for me to read the script twice because it was so dense with details. I?d be reading along and I?d be like, ?This is great but how is Jim ever going to do any of this?? The first time I saw the movie, I was so moved because he has done what he set out to do. Only he could have done it.?

E-mail the columnist at rvnepales_5585@yahoo.com and read his blog, ?The Nepales Report,? on http://blogs.inquirer.net/nepalesreport.

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