Venturing on set of James Cameron’s latest Avatar film can be as meaningful as you’d expect. Visual effects supervisor Eric Saindon paid Cameron a visit in 2016, just after he’d left the New Zealand premiere of Pete’s Dragon. If you don’t know of Saindon, he’s the creature expert behind not only Pete’s pal, but Gollum. His credentials are second to none. Saindon’s work with Cameron 10 years ago on the first Avatar led to what became a, well, friendly work lecture. Saindon says, “I walked onto the stage and Jim came over to me and said, ‘Hey, you’re doing this Battle film?'” In an alternative reality, Cameron would now be the director of Alita: Battle Angel, crashing into cinemas on Feb. 14 in the US. It’s a story that isn’t straightforward to describe. Based on Yukito Kishiro’s cyberpunk manga Battle Angel Alita, it follows Alita, a young female cyborg suffering memory loss. As she tries to piece together who she is, she gets up to various antics in Iron City, a futuristic metropolis populated by many an untoward character. In 2005, Cameron had the choice: take on Avatar, what was then known as Project 880, or the adaptation of Battle Angel Alita. The doe-eyed Alita ultimately came second to the blue people with tails, and Cameron handed the project over to director friend Robert Rodriguez. “I thought he was gonna do Battle Angel to be honest,” Saindon says. That didn’t stop Cameron from discussing it on the Avatar 2 set. “So… [Read full story]
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