James Cameron filmed to avoid the “Stranger Things effect” with the young Avatar actors

James Cameron

James Cameron

James Cameron is never going to pass on the opportunity to take a jab at another major franchise, and Stranger Things’ ticket has just been called. The blockbuster director says one of the major motivations behind the back-to-back filming of Avatars 2-4 was to avoid the “Stranger Things effect,” or when your young actors look too old to play children due to the natural aging process.

“Otherwise, you get—and I love Stranger Things—but you get the Stranger Things effect, where they’re supposed to still be in high school [but] they look like they’re 27,” Cameron tells Entertainment Weekly. “You know, I love the show. It’s okay, we’ll suspend disbelief. We like the characters. But, you know.”

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His main concern was for Jack Champion—who played the Spider—who over the course of shooting was “growing like a weed.” Champion snagged the role when he was 12, and wrapped filming the Avatars sequels four years later at 16.

Now, this whole “aging-out” worry seems moot when you’re utilizing technology that enables 73-year-old Sigourney Weaver to play a teenager in The Way Of Water, but sure. Nonetheless, Cameron could not stop Champion’s aging, and even throughout Avatars: The Way Of Waterthe changes between the actors from ages 14 and 16 still peek through all those visual effects.

“In some scenes, I’m 14, and then in the next scene, I’m 16,” Champion says in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “So I’m like, ‘Wait a second, I look slightly more pudgy.’ And then in another scene, I’m 2 inches taller with abs. It’s a little weird sometimes.”

“They did some CGI stuff, but it’s not like they had the anti-aging serum from the movie,” Champion adds. “Puberty just happened, and we had to let it run its course.”

with The Way Of Water swiftly dominating box offices upon its release, those involved in the films are already looking forward to the release of Avatars 3which has nearly completed shooting principal photography.

“I was very shocked by [Avatar 3]. It just takes a hard left turn, and that’s not a bad thing. You think you know where it’s going, but then a wrecking ball comes,” Champion says of the sequel. “So you’re completely like, ‘Oh wow, I never thought that would’ve happened.’ You also see more regions of Pandora, and you get introduced to more cultures. So I think it’s even better than Avatars 2. Collectively, they’ll each get better.”

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