James Cameron revealed that he filmed Avatar sequel The Way of Water at the same time as the forthcoming third and fourth films to avoid what he called “the Stranger Things effect,” per Entertainment Weekly.
While Hollywood visual effects can turn out to be extraordinary, the veteran director was not willing to take any risks when it came to growth spurts of his hired child actors. Therefore, he coined a new phrase to describe the inevitable growth spurt of child actors on his multiyear project.
“I love Stranger Things, but you get the Stranger Things effect where they’re supposed to still be in high school, and they look like they’re 27,” Cameron remarked to EW. “You know, I love the show. It’s okay, we’ll suspend disbelief. We like the characters, but, you know.”
Trinity Jo-Li Bliss was about 7 when she was cast as Tuk in the sequel and is now 13, while 18-year-old Jack Champion, who plays Spider, was 12 and is now 18.
Cameron recalled Champion was “growing like a weed” when he was cast. “We shot with Jack when he was 14 and 15, almost up to 16. So we were shooting him over an 18-month period.”
Explaining his grand plans to the outlet, Cameron shared the ambitious shooting schedule, “The way I mapped this out is that it’s one big continuous saga when you see it all, but each film has its own offramp and finale that rounds it all out,” the director explained.
“The best metaphor is really good episodic TV, where you understand the problems of the character. The specific proximal problem of this story has been resolved, but these characters are going to have the same problem next time I drop in on them because they’re not going change that much, or they will change profoundly if something happens that’s bad enough or enlightening enough.”
The third instalment of the Avatar franchise is scheduled for a December 20th, 2024 release date.[via]