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Sigourney Weaver will play different character in 'Avatar' sequels

Sigourney Weaver’s character died in battle at the end of Avatar, but James Cameron isn’t letting that get in the way of bringing the actress back for the three sequels he begins filming later this year. Dr. Grace Augustine, the idealistic but tough-as-nails scientist who advocated peaceful outreach with the Na’vi, won’t be resurrected. Instead, Cameron has other ideas.

“Sigourney and I have a long creative history, dating back to 1985 when we made Aliens. We’re good friends who’ve always worked well together, so it just feels right that she’s coming back for the Avatar sequels,” the director said in a statement.

“Her character of Grace Augustine, as fans know, died in the first movie, so she’s playing a different and in many ways more challenging character in the upcoming films. We’re both looking forward to this new creative challenge, the latest chapter in our long and continuing collaboration.”

Weaver isn’t the only Avatar actor who will appear in the sequels even though their character perished in the first film. Stephen Lang, who played the scar-faced Marine Miles Quaritch, will also return, as a revitalized version of the same villain. Sam Worthington and Zoë Saldana will reprise their characters in the as-yet untitled sequels, which will be filmed back-to-back. The release of the next Avatar movie will be in December 2016, with the second to follow in December 2017, and the third a year later.

James Cameron and Cirque du Soleil partnering for 'Avatar' arena show

Soon, the Na’vi will be taking over the screen and stage.

James Cameron has partnered with Cirque du Soleil to produce an Avatar-inspired arena show, a project set to premiere shortly before the first of three new Avatar films is expected to hit theaters. The Cirque show will tour the globe in late 2015, while the next installment in Cameron’s alien action-adventure is tentatively scheduled for a December 2016 debut. All three films are currently in pre-production. READ FULL STORY

James Cameron on 'Avatar' sequels: Scripts should be done within six weeks

James Cameron delivered major Avatar news during a Reddit Ask Me Anything session on Saturday, announcing that scripts for the next three films will be completed within six weeks.

“The second, third, and fourth films all go into production simultaneously,” he wrote. “They’re essentially all in pre-production now because we are designing creatures, settings, and characters that span all three films. And we should be finished with all three scripts within the next, I would say, six weeks.”

But Cameron, who penned the original Avatar screenplay, isn’t going it alone this time. Josh Friedman, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, and Shane Salerno are collaborating with him on this massive undertaking.

“There’s always pressure, whether it’s a new film or whether it’s a sequel, to entertain and amaze an audience. I’ve felt that pressure my entire career, so there’s nothing new there,” Cameron added. “The biggest pressure I feel right now is cutting out things I love to get the film down to a length that is affordable. There hasn’t been a problem finding new and wonderful things to include in the movie.”

Production on Avatar 2 is slated to begin this fall. Principals Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Stephen Lang are returning for the sequels with hopes that the next films can be as successful as the 2009 original. Avatar grossed nearly $2.8 billion worldwide and won Oscars for cinematography, visual effects, and art direction. Cameron hopes to continue pushing creative and technological boundaries with the franchise.

“I believe all movies should be made in 3-D, forever, but the projection needs to be better and brighter,” he wrote during his AMA. “I want people to see in the movie theaters what I am seeing in my perfectly calibrated screening room and people aren’t seeing that. Larger formats. I’d love to see screens get bigger.”

The Avatar sequels are scheduled for release December 2016 through 2018.

Casting Net: Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington back for 'Avatar' sequels; Plus, Michael Pena for 'Ant-Man', more

• Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington have finalized deals to reprise their roles as Neytiri and Jake Sully in the three upcoming Avatar sequels for director James Cameron. News of their “expected” return was first reported in August. Stephen Lang is also returning as Marine Colonel Quaritch. The three follow ups will be shot back to back and are rolling out to theaters in December of 2016, 2017, and 2018. [THR]
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Is the 3-D fad over?

All the way back in 2009, eager studio executives eyed Avatar‘s $2.8 billion worldwide gross and gushed “I see you” to the film’s groundbreaking 3-D technology. A few months later, Alice in Wonderland became a $1 billion hit, and before Johnny Depp had even wiped the makeup off his face, the industry had decided 3-D would be its savior.

Fox, Paramount, Disney, and Universal collectively shelled out $700 million to help equip theaters with new projectors, and the number of 3-D releases jumped from 20 in 2009 to 45 in 2011. Perhaps most importantly, audiences proved willing to pay an extra $3.50 per ticket, so Hollywood made a point of “enhancing” every film into a “premium” 3-D experience. Oh, what a difference four years makes: 3-D box office receipts are taking a serious tumble these days, and audiences are increasingly opting for cheaper 2-D tickets. So how did the format fall so far so fast? READ FULL STORY

'Avatar' ups its sequel count from two to three

Avatar fans, you’re in luck: You’re going to be seeing even more of the Na’vi than you originally anticipated. Producers announced today that in addition to two already-planned sequels to the 2009 juggernaut, there will be a fourth film in the franchise.

James Cameron has hired screenwriters Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds), Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), and Shane Salerno (Savages, Salinger) to collaborate with him on the screenplays for the next three films, which will be shot simultaneously starting next year. The release of the first sequel will be in December 2016, with the second to follow in December 2017, and the third a year later.

“Building upon the world we created with Avatar has been a rare and incredibly rewarding experience,” Cameron said in a statement. “In writing the new films, I’ve come to realize that Avatar’s world, story and characters have become even richer than I anticipated, and it became apparent that two films would not be enough to capture everything I wanted to put on screen. And to help me continue to expand this universe, I’m pleased to bring aboard Amanda, Rick, Shane and Josh — all writers I’ve long admired -­ to join me in completing the films screenplays.”

'Avatar 2' will utilize underwater performance capture, says producer

It’s been common knowledge for a while now that the upcoming Avatar sequels would be set at least partially underwater, thus affording director/adventurer James Cameron to combine his love of blockbuster action-romance with his love of the ocean. Given that the first Avatar was largely created on a green screen performance-capture stage, you would’ve figured that the underwater scenes in Avatars 2 & 3 would be shot dry-for-wet — the same way Cameron filmed Aquaman.

But Cameron’s longtime producer Jon Landau revealed at the NAB Technology Summit on Cinema that the sequels will use an intriguing new technology. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the producer explained, “We have kept a team of digital artists on from Avatar in order to test how we can create performance capture underwater… we could simulate water, but we can’t simulate the actor’s experience, so we are going to capture performance in a tank.” READ FULL STORY

James Cameron provides update on 'Avatar' sequels, says Peter Jackson 'had it easy'

The eternal wait for a return journey to Pandora continues. But Avatar fans, just know that James Cameron is hard at work on the script that will follow up his 2009 sci-fi mega-blockbuster.

Cameron, the writer-director-producer of reigning box office champion Avatar, recently talked with the website Play Goes Strong, revealing that he’s currently in New Zealand working on writing Avatar 2 and Avatar 3. “I’m writing on a little farm. When you live in a special world like Pandora, you have to live in that world,” he said. READ FULL STORY

Where's the love? The sudden death of the Hollywood sex scene

Whether romantic, playful, or dangerous, the sex scene has always been a Hollywood staple. Suddenly, it has disappeared. EW investigates.

We all remember our first time, right? If you were growing up in the ’80s, it could’ve been when Tom and Rebecca broke every public-decency law on that train in Risky Business. Or if you were a ’90s teen, it might’ve been Demi and Patrick getting clay in places clay should never, ever be, in Ghost. For the millennials: maybe Reese and Ryan playing tongue tag in Cruel Intentions?

The first love scene you saw in a movie is hard to forget. But what’s hard to remember these days is the last time any of us saw one on screen. Not just a sexy moment but a bona fide hot, unironic, don’t-watch-it-with-your-parents love scene between big stars in a big Hollywood movie. You definitely didn’t see one in any of last year’s nine Best Picture Oscar nominees, which featured characters getting killed, saved, sick, and angry — but never, under any circumstances, lucky. That includes Silver Linings Playbook, in which Jennifer Lawrence’s character is a self-proclaimed sex addict.

Actually, chances are you didn’t see one on the big screen at all in 2012. In a year when TV shows like HBO’s Girls and Showtime’s Homeland had more pants-down action than a urologist’s office, only one out of the 25 highest-grossing movies had a genuine roll in the hay: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1. READ FULL STORY

James Cameron to direct 'The Informationist' after 'Avatar' sequels

James Cameron may have told the New York Times back in May that he’s in the “Avatar business. Period,” but 20th Century Fox has announced he’ll direct an adaptation of the novel The Informationist for the studio after he completes the second and third Avatar films, now in pre-production.

Cameron will co-produce The Informationist with Jon Landau, his partner at Lightstorm Entertainment, which has acquired the rights to the book by Taylor Stevens published in October 2011, according to a Fox press release Tuesday. The pair expect to hire a writer soon to adapt the book.

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