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Sunday January 29, 2023

Filmmaker James Cameron on art, AI and outrage

"Anybody could buy a paintbrush. Not everybody can paint a picture," the Canadian director said.

By AFP
December 07, 2022
Filmmaker James Cameron on art, AI and outrage
Filmmaker James Cameron on art, AI and outrage

Paris: From "Terminator" to "Titanic" to "Avatar", director James Cameron has pushed Hollywood´s technical wizardry to new limits, but human emotion must always come first.

In an era when special effects are much more accessible to filmmakers, and studios are willing to regularly spend hundreds of millions of dollars on blockbusters, it is the artistic talent that makes the difference, Cameron said during a visit to Paris.

Whether he can still strike the balance will be tested as the world finally gets to see "Avatar: The Way of Water" next week -- a sequel to his groundbreaking extraterrestrial epic that has been 13 years in the making.

"Anybody could buy a paintbrush. Not everybody can paint a picture," the Canadian director said. "The technology doesn´t create art. Artists create art -- that´s important."

It was originally hoped that a first sequel would be out in 2014, but Cameron´s gargantuan ambitions led to repeated delays.

He does not come across like the sort of megalomaniac director of Hollywood lore -- describing his sets as "a big hippie commune with a bunch of really great artists."

But these hippies are armed with some powerful computers.

"We had over 3,200 shots, which is a lot to maintain high quality, high quality control," Cameron said.

"We brought in machine deep learning and plugged AI into various stages of the process to assist us... not to take the place of the actors at all but actually to be more truthful to what they had done," he said.