A blockbuster movie like AVATAR requires a huge number of people behind the scenes - and on camera. In this article we delve into the story behind the cast and crew of the movie AVATAR to identify the key players. You’ll find the main AVATAR movie cast along with a few of the most important people behind the scenes.
Guest post by Simon Hill
AVATAR has now entered the record books as the highest earning film of all time at the worldwide box office. This is the kind of success that any actor would want to be associated with but only a lucky few got the nod from director James Cameron. In this article we take a closer look at the cast and crew of the movie AVATAR.
Back in 1994 Cameron wrote an 80 page script which would develop into AVATAR. He delayed the production because he was concerned that the standard of computer generated imagery was not yet high enough to realise his vision. The production ramped up in 2006 as a crew was put together and Cameron committed to having a complete AVATAR movie cast by February of 2007.
The crew for AVATAR was huge and the film relies heavily on digital imagery. The main companies involved in creating the unique visual look of AVATAR were Weta Digital and Industrial Light & Magic. They had to develop a completely new camera system to allow Cameron to shoot the film and get real time approximations of the digital imagery to blend in with the live action footage.
Cameron hired a number of people he had worked with before including James Horner, the man responsible for scoring Aliens and Titanic. He would also work with Stan Winston again to help design the visual style of the movie. He even hired a linguist to create a Na’vi language and a professor of plant physiology who provided tips for the film’s set designers tasked with creating Pandora.
The cast of AVATAR the movie took several months to select. This process featured the usual tension between studio and director and the first hurdle was the casting of the film’s protagonist Jake Sully. The studio was keen to hire a big name and suggested Matt Damon but Cameron wanted an unknown actor to bring something real to the part. In the end he cast Sam Worthington who was living in his car at the time and has since gone on to star in Terminator Salvation and Clash of the Titans.
Sigourney Weaver was cast as Dr. Grace Augustine and she revealed that she based her persona on James Cameron himself “this kind of brilliant, approach-driven, idealistic perfectionist.” The two had worked together before on Aliens and that fact cost Michael Biehn the role of Colonel Miles Quaritch which went to Stephen Lang instead.
Michelle Rodriguez was cast as Trudy Chacon and Cameron revealed he had been keen to work with her since seeing her in Girlfight. Giovanni Ribisi got the part of Parker Selfridge, Joel David Moore was cast as Norm Spellman and Dileep Rao played Dr. Max Patel.
An even greater challenge than casting the human parts was to find actors to play the Na’vi. The AVATAR movie cast playing the Na’vi would be digitally enhanced later and during their performances motion capture was used so the emotion would still come through in the computer generated characters. Zoe Saldana, who most recently played Uhura in the Star Trek remake, was cast as Neytiri, the princess of the Omaticaya. C.C.H. Pounder played Mo’at and you may remember her as Claudette from The Shield TV series, amongst many other parts. Laz Alonso won the part of Tsu’tey and Wes Studi was cast as Eytucan.
All of the cast of AVATAR the movie were sent on jungle treks by Cameron to prepare them for their roles.Sponsored by Panasonic VIERA. Return to the world of AVATAR in stunning full HD with the Panasonic VIERA HD TV.
Who's your favorite character in AVATAR and why?