James Cameron Denies Shooting ‘Avatar 2’ Footage During Dive

'If they think of you first as a filmmaker, then all of the exploration stuff must be so that you can be a better filmmaker,' he tells MTV News.
By Kevin P. Sullivan, with reporting by Josh Horowitz

James Cameron
Photo: MTV News

When James Cameron returned from his record-breaking deep-sea dive to the Mariana Trench, many people assumed the expedition must have been for a movie, most likely "Avatar 2," which is said to involve the oceans of Pandora.

But Cameron, when he spoke with MTV News, insisted that is simply not the case. "Completely spurious rumor. People try to connect the dots, right? If they think of you first as a filmmaker, then all of the exploration stuff must be so that you can be a better filmmaker. Wrong conclusion," he said. "That's like [saying] 'A frog with no legs is deaf.' "

The director said the two aspects of his life are connected, but not in a way the rumors suspected. "The correct conclusion is I do the movies to pay for the expeditions, so every once in a while, I have to come back to make a movie," Cameron said. "It's pretty much that simple."

Even with films planned for the immediate future, Cameron doesn't seem that worried about his explorations getting in the way. "I think the studio execs that want another 'Avatar' film are probably more concerned than I am," he said.

Cameron's trips to the bottom of the ocean are admittedly dangerous, and he spoke openly about the potential risks involved with that kind of exploration. "I would say watch out for implosion. When a pressure vessel implodes at that kind of pressure, it does so at supersonic speed," he said. "There are things worse, though, like coming up outside of the search area, because you're bolted into the sub. You're going down pretty far. It's possible to come partway up, get moved 25 miles in a current before you come all the way up. That would be bad."

According to Cameron, that kind of morbid thinking is what prevents actual tragedies from occurring. "You could freeze to death at the bottom, you could have a fire inside the sphere and asphyxiate — all kinds of bad stuff. The reason you get morbid is by going through all the scenarios ahead of time, you're doing the engineering to prevent them and you create all the procedures to prevent them," Cameron said. "It's basically what NASA does. You list every single thing that could go wrong, and then you do everything you can to have that not happen."

As for where Cameron hopes to explore next, he said the ocean will keep him busy for the foreseeable future. "We have a vehicle now that can go, by definition, to anywhere in any ocean in the world. If it can go to the deepest place in the Challenger Deep, 65,000 feet down, it can go anywhere else," he said. "There's so much yet to be explored. That's an unknown continent on our planet. Think about Google. You can basically call up a satellite photograph of some hill in the Congo in seconds, but you can't do that underwater. I could be exploring down there for the next whatever."

Check out everything we've got on "Avatar 2."

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