Did you think Avatar was as technically ambitious a production as a director can imagine? Well, think again. James Cameron wants to travel 6.8 miles beneath the surface of the ocean to shoot footage for the Avatar sequel and win a $10 million X-Prize at the same time.
The X-Prize is an award given to pioneers in privately funded science and exploration. It was previously given to the first team to build a privately funded, manned spacecraft and launch it out of Earth’s atmosphere. Now it’s going to the first private crew to make two manned dives to Challenger Deep, the deepest surveyed point in all of Earth’s oceans.
Winning the X-Prize will just be a bonus for Cameron in his quest to the bottom of the sea; The Daily Mail reports that the sequel to Avatar will be set in the oceans of Pandora, the planet portrayed in the first film, and Cameron will shoot some scenes with the submarine he’s building — in 3D of course.
Few filmmakers can pitch something like that to their financiers with a straight face, but Avatar was the most successful film ever, raking in nearly two billion dollars at the box office, so Cameron is among those filmmakers. He might even be the only member of that club.
Cameron is no stranger to deep sea exploration. He shot the deep sea acclaimed documentaries Ghosts of the Abyss and Aliens of the Deep.
No one has visited Challenger Deep since explorers Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh made the journey half a century ago. The X-Prize was announced to commemorate their voyage.