Movieline Explores: James Cameron's Exhaustive Search for the Perfect Avatar Breasts

PLAYBOY: How much did you get into calibrating your movie heroine's hotness?

CAMERON: Right from the beginning I said, "She's got to have tits," even though that makes no sense because her race, the Na'vi, aren't placental mammals. I designed her costumes based on a taparrabo, a loincloth thing worn by Mayan Indians. We go to another planet in this movie, so it would be stupid if she ran around in a Brazilian thong or a fur bikini like Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C.

PLAYBOY: Are her breasts on view?

CAMERON: I came up with this free--floating, lion's-mane--like array of feathers, and we strategically lit and angled shots to not draw attention to her breasts, but they're right there. The animation uses a physics-based sim that takes into consideration gravity, air movement and the momentum of her hair, her top....

-- From Avatar director James Cameron's exhaustive interview in the new issue of Playboy.

In a converted hangar at Santa Monica Airport, director James Cameron stands, cross-armed, above a visual effects engineer hunched over a workstation.


"Let's see 'em."

"Keep in mind that we did our best to incorporate your notes, and did an additional round of motion-capture to address them, and--"

"I don't have time for this bullsh*t hemming and hawing, let's just see them."

The engineer clicks his mouse. The glow of the huge cinema display is reflected in Cameron's impassive face.

"Those are tits."

"They are."

"Those are not the tits."

"Can a tiny bit more specific?"

"Specific? What else do I need to tell you?"

"Well, Jim, you know that this is our, I think, fifteenth go at this so, I was hoping maybe some more concrete feedback."

"Nineteenth. You have have failed me eighteen times previously."

"Maybe if you'd say something more helpful, I could fail fewer times?"

"What did I tell you last time?"

"You said something about imagining three pounds of blue Jello in two Ziploc bags, that's how they should move this time."

"Was that not specific enough? I don't see that in this footage, at all."

"We went out and bought the Jello, the Ziploc bags. We spent five entire days doing mo-cap on them."


"Well, you see it. And you don't seem happy."

"If you'd already committed 17 million dollars to getting this set of Na'vi tits perfect, and had to fight off the goddamn studio every day, hiding that budget number from them while you chased absolute, alien-mammary perfection, and then you saw this, tell me, would you be happy?"

"You told us to go with the Jello and the bags."

"I didn't mean literally do that. It's about a look, a feel!"

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    Here's what I read:
    PLAYBOY: How much did you get into calibrating your movie heroine’s hotness?
    CAMERON: Right from the beginning I said, “She’s got to have tits,”
    (Then it all denigrated into Charlie Brown Teacher Speak.)

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