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How James Cameron will spend his non-'Avatar' time

February 1, 2011 | 10:46 am

James Cameron may be throwing his "Avatar" sequels into a higher gear, writing and prepping movies so they'll be ready for release by 2014 and 2015. But over the coming months he'll also kick-start a busy side career as a mentor and producer.

Before he starts working in earnest on "Avatar," Cameron will be steering a trio of other films.

They include Guillermo del Toro's adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's Arctic thriller "At the Mountains of Madness," a reboot of medical action-adventure "Fantastic Voyage" and a live-action 3-D film centered on Cirque de Soleil that will deploy some of the 3-D technology he used to shoot "Avatar."

The Del Toro film is on track to start shooting in June, and "Fantastic Voyage" will proceed shortly after that. But neither, he said, should impinge on his "Avatar" schedule. "Those both ['Mountains' and 'Voyage'] should be largely through the pipeline before I have to take the phone off the hook and get singularly focused on the two 'Avatar' films," Cameron said in an interview with 24 Frames.

The first product of Cameron's new spate of producing efforts can be seen Friday with the opening of "Sanctum," a 3-D underwater thriller set in Australia; for more on his unusual decision to get involved with that movie -- which includes a desire to demonstrate that 3-D can be just as effective in intimate stories as in big-canvas ones -- please see our recent print story.

As for "Madness," Cameron downplays his input on the genre film. "Guillermo doesn’t need a lot of help," Cameron said. "He’s a pretty self-contained, visionary guy, does his own writing, works with a team of designers. He’s certainly not going to need me to come to the set."

So why did he jump in? "It was working with [Del Toro] and Universal to try to figure out the best, most efficient way to shoot the film and act as a shuttle diplomat more than anything to keep the momentum going on the project."

But don't expect the producing activity to continue when this little streak ends.

All of this behind-the-scenes activity is uncharacteristic for a man who prefers to immerse himself in his own films, and when his latest three projects are done, he'll be stepping back from his patron role.

“The recent decision I made is, I don’t really want to produce movies [that I don't direct] anymore,” Cameron said. “It makes sense to do these films to prove a point, but that’s not something I see myself doing 10 years from now.”

-- Rebecca Keegan


 Photo: James Cameron at the "Sanctum" premiere. Credit: Fred Prouser / Reuters

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