Filming In Zero Gravity Could Be James Cameron’s Next Frontier For The Avatar Movies

Like filming with motion capture or filming underneath the waves, filming with zero gravity isn’t exactly new — it’s just limited. Right now, the effect can be achieved practically with parabolic flight which, in laymen’s terms, means treating an airplane like a rollercoaster. The pilot must skyrocket the aircraft upwards in a trajectory mapped against the center of the Earth, and then promptly plummet downwards at the exact same speed. Any commercial plane can do it and, if it’s done right, will net the passengers approximately 20 seconds of weightlessness. It’s incredibly cool but, like I said, it’s frustratingly limited, both by time and expenses.

Because of the steep barriers to entry, most movies that feature zero gravity sequences simply simulate the effect with CGI and wires. Films such as James Gunn’s “The Guardians of the Galaxy,” Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar,” and Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” all feature space walks filmed in this way. It’s just easier — but when has that ever stopped James Cameron?

In 2010, and in partnership with Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Cameron boarded GForce-One, a modified Boeing 727-200 jet, to experience zero gravity for himself. We’ve already established that Cameron’s film work naturally follows his personal interests, so it’s not really that dramatic a leap to theorize how Cameron might attempt to feature enhanced zero gravity tech in his future “Avatar” installments. 

Funny thing, though, the first script treatment for “Avatar: The Way of Water” almost paved the way for that very thing. 

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