The cast of Avatar
Photo: ABC
PAGE 3
Sam: We both met [James] for the first time in [his office], which was a bit like going to the principal's office. He was sitting in the corner so you had the big long walk in, so automatically your butterflies are stirring.

Zoe: I remember we went downstairs and he put me on tape and I didn't pass out, I didn't sabotage the audition. It never even felt like it was an audition. It just became this incredible chemistry that would wake me up in the middle of the night and I would say, "Damn man, I don't want to be sleeping, I don't want to be eating, I just want to do this." I've never felt that way before, where like nothing else existed.

James: I guess I'm most proud of the fact that we made a big commercial movie and it played by the rules of a big commercial movie—we reached a big global audience—but we did it with a message. And I would even argue that some of the success of the film is based on the fact that people are feeling this other level to it. It's connecting them to nature, it's connecting them to a sense of an important cause.

Sigourney: I think that's what so wonderful is that people come up and the first thing they say is, "I've never seen anything like it, and it's so moving."

Zoe: Yeah, I think about a month ago I took my niece and she's only 6—and we did talk about this, about how it might not be appropriate for kids under a certain age—but a 6-year-old, they get up every 20 minutes to go to the bathroom. Fortwo hours 40 minutes, she never got up, never uttered a word. It touched her in such a way that I'm driving her home and I'm like, "So do you want to talk about it?" and she's like, "I think I might need a moment." There was this peace. She got it; it made her feel.

Sam: Well, you listen to a song, okay? The first time you listen to a song you get off on the beat or the way it's put together or the way the band plays it. The first time you see this, you get blown apart by the emotion of it, the world that you've created, all the special visual effects. But you only keep going back to the song over and over again if the words actually hit your heart, and people aren't just coming back to this movie twice or three times. We're talking to people who've seen it five or 10 times.

James: The film asks us to look at ourselves as human beings from the outside, really if you think about it, from nature's point of view. If we could go and take the perspective of nature and look back at ourselves, that's what the film is doing, and by the end of the movie you're rooting for nature.

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