5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Making of AVATAR

Eyes AVATAR is one of the most successful movies ever made and director James Cameron employed a number of unusual techniques to make it. In this article we highlight five cool facts about the making of the movie AVATAR. Find out about the Na’vi language, the digital imagery, the cast, the inspiration and the budget for the film.

Guest post by Simon Hill

The making of the movie AVATAR was one of the most expensive and complex productions in film history. It actually started back in 1994 when visionary director James Cameron wrote the script which would grow into AVATAR. He soon decided the technology wasn’t capable of realizing his vision and so the project was shelved until 2006. Thanks to the onscreen successes with the King Kong remake, Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films, and Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean, Cameron decided the required technology had advanced enough for him to make AVATAR.

Here are some cool fun facts about the making of AVATAR that might surprise you:

  1. The Na’vi language in AVATAR is a real language developed entirely from scratch by a linguist. Cameron hired Paul R. Frommer from USC and tasked him with creating a language which would be easy for the acting talent to learn and pronounce but which wouldn’t resemble any existing human language. Frommer created a language with about 1,000 words and Cameron added around 30 of his own. Australian-born actor Sam Worthington, who played Jake Sully, later said that he found mastering the Na’vi language easier than learning to do an American accent.
  1. AVATAR is made up of about 60% computer generated elements and only 40% live action and traditional miniatures. James Cameron and crew used a virtual camera system during the shoot so the director could get an approximation of how things would look with the computer generated imagery added in. It is estimated that every individual frame of the film (which amounts to 1/24 of a second) took an average of 47 man hours to complete.
  1. Several famous actors were considered for the lead roles in AVATAR before the current cast landed the roles. The studio wanted a big name in the central role and they suggested Matt Damon or Jake Gyllenhaal for the part of Jake Sully. Cameron wanted an unknown and settled on Sam Worthington who has since gone on to star in several massive Hollywood films. Michael Biehn was considered for the role of Colonel Quaritch but apparently Cameron was keen to avoid comparisons with Aliens and he had already cast Sigourney Weaver for AVATAR. In the end Stephen Lang got the part.
  1. Cameron cast the net wide when asked what his inspiration for AVATAR had been: he answered “every single science fiction book I read as a kid.” He went on to acknowledge the strong theme of a clash between civilizations and the criticism of the impact of mechanized warfare. The film draws together themes which touch on the old imperialism, ecology and even the Iraq War. There’s also a Hindu influence with the Na’vi but Cameron also mentioned his mother would dream of tall blue aliens and it was an image he always intended to use.
  1. The film demanded a large budget and so it took a while before the studio gave it the nod. In the end, AVATAR cost more than $237 million with another $150 million+ set aside for marketing. At the box office worldwide it took in over $2.7 billion shattering the previous record held by Titanic. In terms of profit it is the most successful film ever made.
Sponsored by Panasonic VIERA. Return to the world of AVATAR in stunning full HD with the Panasonic VIERA HD TV.

What factoids or things have surprised you about AVATAR?


The comments to this entry are closed.