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On Tuesday, James Cameron, writer-director of 'Avatar,' said that he plans to direct 'Avatar 2' and '3' simultaneously once production on the sequels gets underway. "Our plan right now is to do two and three as a single large production and release them a year apart," Cameron told reporters. "In order to do that, we have to refine our technical processes beyond the end of where we were finishing 'Avatar' one year ago. We need to future-proof ourselves out five or six years to the end of the third film."
Cameron spoke to press at an event in conjunction with the release of the upcoming 'Avatar' 3-Disc Special Edition DVD. During a q&a with attending media, he indicated he hadn't made any decisions regarding the rumored 'Cleopatra' film he might direct with Angelina Jolie as its star, but he said he knew exactly how he planned to approach the two sequels to his 2009 box office smash.
"I haven't made any decisions about that," Cameron said of 'Cleopatra.' "But here's a decision - I'm not going to work on a film between ['Avatar'] two and three. It's really a question of whether or not I do [another film] between now and when we start two."
"We're evaluating how much of our techwork and how much of our facility work it's going to take," he continued. "That's not decided as of right now. I'd love to just start on 'Avatar 2' right now, but I don't know if that's possible or if it makes sense to wait."
Cameron had a few more things to add about the 'Cleopatra' project when he spoke to the New York Times recently, saying, "There's a Cleopatra project in work, meaning that it's been in development at Sony. And it's a subject that's always fascinated me. So yeah, I've been talking to them about it but no decisions have been made. But it sounds hot, doesn't it? I mean, Angelina Jolie and Cleopatra? To me, that's like a slam dunk. Whether I wind up doing it or not, I think it's going to be a great project."
Cameron also said that he was working on an 'Avatar' novel, which would not merely recap the story of the film in print form, but provide a template by which other storytellers could further explore that world. "The novel's a big project," Cameron admitted. "It's not a novelization... I asked myself, 'If this had been based on a book, what would that book have been?' It ends co-terminously with the end of the movie. I'm not going to give you one frame beyond that. But how about the 30 years before Jake came to Pandora? The discovery of the planet? Grace's arrival there? [It will include] all the back story and the history of Earth - all the context and then everything lateral to what you see in the movie, whether it's things that are happening off-camera or things that are happening inside the characters' heads."
Speaking of Grace, the character in the film played by longtime Cameron collaborator Sigourney Weaver, the director suggested she may indeed return for the sequels despite having apparently died in the first film. "Who said she died?" Cameron quipped. "Nobody dies in a science fiction movie. Whether Grace lives or dies depends more on Sigourney's agent than anything."
Finally, Cameron addressed rumors of his involvement in an upcoming 'True Lies' television series. Specifically, he said he wishes the producers luck, but will have nothing to do with it. "I'm not really doing that," he explained. "That was initiated by others - friends of mine who wanted to do that. I said, 'Yes, go with God. Do 'True Lies.' But do I have to show up to do anything?' They said, 'Absolutely not.'"