Her heart goes on in Pandora.
In this day and age, Hollywood often looks to nostalgia to bring something to the table. Between countless reboots, adaptations (even if the original film was literally just released), and actor/director reunions, the industry is unrelentingly cyclical. James Cameron may or may not attempt to refute that statement and declare that he’s an innovator above anything else. However, there is definitely an amalgamation of old and new in Cameron re-teaming with Titanic star Kate Winslet for the Avatar franchise.
This announcement comes as a surprise to some, and for good reason. Horror stories of Cameron’s harsh comments to Winslet on the Titanic set have been circling for years, despite both parties’ insistence on diffusing the situation. Their back-and-forth lasted years despite public appearances together.
Winslet and Cameron’s reunion involves four Avatar sequels a.k.a. the most expensive movies of all time. Hence, the aptest Winslet quote from their “feud” era happens to be one she made to the LA Times during Titanic press: “I would only work for Jim Cameron again for a lot of money.” That’s certainly now a dream come true, regardless of whether things are smooth sailing or not.
“Kate and I have been looking for something to do together for 20 years, since our collaboration on Titanic, which was one of the most rewarding of my career,” Cameron said in the statement to Deadline regarding Winslet’s Avatar appearance(s). “I can’t wait to see her bring the character of Ronal to life.”
So, Avatar fans (I have to say this: are there any more Avatar fans out there?) have a character name but not much else to go off of. Winslet will be in a starring role, but there is no information about whether she’ll appear in more than one of the sequels. Avatar 2 and 3 are shooting concurrently at the moment, with 4 and 5 to follow suit soon after.
Knowing Cameron’s work ethic — which is intense, to say the least — and Winslet’s own sought-after star status, it’s hard to say whether she’ll stick around for long. Winslet own track record with franchises hasn’t yet been the best either. She starred in two films in the Divergent series, which was a commercial success but Insurgent mostly flopped with critics. At least Winslet got out before the ill-fated Allegiant. But if anything, the Divergent series is just one of those that show the propensity for franchises to fail. In preemptively making so many Avatar sequels, Cameron himself is banking on successes that are more or less unpredictable.
People will get into cinemas for a James Cameron flick, but with a whole lot of other films to spend their money on and at least some underlying consensus that Avatar sequels are unnecessary, it’s a lot to risk. Suffice to say, Cameron needs all the help he can get and perhaps Winslet will be a secret weapon.