Avatar likely filmed in Wellington
Cameron: 'I'm not here to compete with Peter'
Hollywood filmmaker James Cameron has all but confirmed sequels to the blockbuster hit Avatar will be shot in Wellington - but maintains he is not moving here to ''compete'' with Sir Peter Jackson.
Cameron told The New York Times the sequels would ''almost certainly'' be shot in Jackson's Wellington production studio, with visual effects completed at nearby Weta Digital.
Motion-capture work on the sequels would still be done in California, with ''Avatar 2" not ready until 2015 or later.
About $362 million was spent in New Zealand making the first Avatar 3-D film, employing hundreds of digital animators in Wellington for years on the complex computer-generated images.
Avatar employed more than 1500 people in New Zealand and injected about $100m into the Wellington economy alone. As well as the digital animation, Weta did the conceptual design, specialty costumes, props and weapons for the film.
Cameron told the NYT he was considering emulating Jackson, perhaps by building new facilities in Auckland.
"I want to help in any way I can," he is quoted as saying.
"I'm not there to compete with Peter.''
In January, Cameron paid about $20m for the 817ha Pounui property in remote south Wairarapa and a 250ha dairy farm.
In March, he added a 10ha lifestyle block, and last month added two further lifestyle blocks and a 13ha site containing several buildings.
Cameron and wife Suzy Amis have said they want to raise their children, 10-year-old twins Claire and Quinn, and Elizabeth Rose, 5, ''close to the land and with a strong work ethic''.
He is quoted in the NYT as saying he will turn a recently purchased wedding reception hall into his ''workshop'', go scuba-diving in Lake Pounui, and turning the dairy farm to sustainable cropping.
But the Titanic director said that ultimately it was New Zealand's contemporary film culture that persuaded him to shift his work life here.
New Zealand film crews, he said, had a freshness and flexibility no longer found in the United States.
"They aren't the sort of third-generation people you find working on soundstages in a very jaded Los Angeles.''
In March The Dominion Post revealed Cameron had applied for residency under Immigration New Zealand's Investment Plus category - reserved for those investing more than $10m.
As such the 57-year-old director must now spend at least 44 days in New Zealand each year in the final two years of a three-year investment period.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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