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‘Avatar: The Way of Water’: Jack Champion Filmed His Entire Performance Twice

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The release of Avatar: The Way of Water last month introduced a plethora of new characters to the franchise, with one of the most notable being the human character Spider, played by Jack Champion. In an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair, director James Cameron offered additional insight into the filming process behind the movie and how Spider’s scenes were seamlessly integrated into the final product.

“The beauty was, we got to do it twice. So [cinematographer] Russ [Carpenter] would light the scene, so everything that we did with Jack photographically, we did previously with him in terms of capture. So, Jack did his entire performance twice, once for all the other actors like Sigourney [Weaver] and Britain [Dalton] and Sam [Worthington], so that he was there kind of off camera,” Cameron said to Vanity Fair. “And he was like 13 at the time. And then later when we shot, he was 15, so he changed in size and vocal range a bit, but we capped him and then we had these capture scenes.”

The actor aging two years by the end of filming showcases the large scale of the movie’s overall production process. However, having Champion present during the filming of the motion capture sequences likely contributed to giving the motion-capture actors a more authentic performance within the volume. The character of Spider himself played an integral role in the story due to his relationship with the villain, Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), which could lead to potential directions for his arc to take in future installments following his pivotal decision at the end of the film.

Avatar: The Way of Water showcased technical leaps from the first film, with its realistic water simulations alongside the seamless integration of human actors in CGI environments. With the second and third Avatar installments filmed back-to-back, Cameron faced a heavy undertaking due to both films having separate motion capture and live-action shoots. However, the end results eventually paid off, with Avatar: The Way of Water receiving a positive response from critics and audiences alongside a global haul of $1.9 billion that continues to grow.

As audiences embrace the epic return to Pandora, they can anticipate the arrival of the third film in 2024, which Cameron teases will take the franchise in a new direction with the introduction of the Ash People, a fire clan that will showcase the Na’vi from a different angle. With the movie under two years away, fans can continue to speculate about the direction the characters will go until the film debuts exclusively in theaters.

Avatar: The Way of Water is now playing in theaters. Its follow-up is expected to debut on December 20, 2024. Check out Cameron’s interview with Collider about the 13-year-long production of the film below.

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