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“Avatar 2″ star Zoe Saldana talks about prepping for the return to Pandora

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It’s no secret that James Cameron has been hard at work preparing for “Avatar 2″ and “3,” but that preparation process can take a while. Cameron spent 12 years working on the first one, and the sequel is expected to hit theaters somewhere between 2014 and 2016.

That gives the actors plenty of time to prepare for the role. Sam Worthington has said that he and James Cameron have talked about doing training for some underwater filming, and Sigourney Weaver has also mentioned that she has spoken with Cameron about his plans, so it seemed fair to assume that leading lady Zoe Saldana might know a thing or two about “Avatar 2.” Turns out she’s a bit more out of loop.

“I don’t know [when the sequel will start filming] but I’m waiting. My bags are still packed,” Saldana said when IFC caught up with her on the Film Independent Spirit Awards red carpet.

She should at least know that “Avatar 2″ is heading into the deep blue seas of Pandora. Cameron might not be saying much about the upcoming sequel, but he will say that fans will be seeing a whole new part of the fictional planet.

“I want people to feel that same sense of excitement about that world,” Cameron said in an earlier interview. “You know the fictional Na’vi people and I want them to feel that excitement of discovery of a new world that they’re going to see things that they haven’t imagined. All that sort of the perk package of the first movie is still going to be there. And the themes will be there and be played out in a way that I think people can accept.”

Are you looking forward to “Avatar 2″? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Carol Cate Blanchett

Spirit Guide

Check Out the Spirit Awards Nominees for Best Male and Female Leads

Catch the 2016 Spirit Awards live Feb. 27th at 5P ET/2P PT on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Wilson Webb/©Weinstein Company/Courtesy Everett Collection

From Jason Segel’s somber character study of author David Foster Wallace, to Brie Larson’s devastating portrayal of a mother in captivity, the 2016 Spirit Awards nominees for Best Male and Female Leads represent the finest in the year of film acting. Take a look at the Best Male and Female Leads in action, presented by Jaguar.

Best Male Lead 

Christopher Abbott, James White
Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation
Ben Mendelsohn, Mississippi Grind
Jason Segel, The End of the Tour
Koudous Seihon, Mediterranea

Watch more Male Lead nominee videos here.

Best Female Lead 

Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Rooney Mara, Carol
Bel Powley, The Diary of A Teenage Girl
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Tangerine

Watch more Female Lead nominee videos here.

Hollywood’s top 10 maverick directors

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Hollywood demands plenty from directors. In a forest of remade classics, “Chipmunks” sequels and other safe, dependable investments, studios want bankable reasons to invest in innovation. Indie filmdom has long been a launchpad for Hollywood careers, but only a select few filmmakers can claim to have gone against the grain with enough force to change long-term trends.

From Spike Lee and Woody Allen’s takes on New York life to Stanley Kubrick and James Cameron’s new experiments with special effects, these ten directors topped our list of wave-makers and game-changers. Each of them showed the establishment how approach movies from new perspectives, and each one deserves to be called a maverick.

Some of these towering figures are no longer with us, and a few are still making their marks, but we have them all to thank for heading into new territory and ensuring that other creators down the line would be inspired to think differently as well.

For more on today’s maverick filmmakers, tune in to the 2012 Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 25 at 10/9c on IFC. And while you’re watching, don’t forget to log into IFC.com chat with our movie experts LIVE via IFC Sync, presented by Capital One.


10. Amy Heckerling

Career highlights: “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” ”European Vacation,” “Clueless”
Paved the way for: Judd Apatow, Kevin Smith and John Hughes

Heckerling gained a cult foothold in an overwhelmingly male-dominated class of directors when her film “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” debuted in 1982. “European Vacation” and “Look Who’s Talking” cemented her place in ‘80s comedy, but they also proved her ability to score big rankings and dollars at the box office.


9. Robert Redford

Career highlights: “Ordinary People,” “Quiz Show”
Paved the way for: Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderbergh and Darren Aronofsky

It is difficult to understate the importance of Redford’s career and the extent of his impact on film both inside and outside of Hollywood. After building a formidable acting career (which already included an Oscar nomination for “The Sting”), he earned a directing win right out of the gate for 1980’s “Ordinary People.” His honorary Oscar in 2002 speaks for his career as a whole, though, as well as the importance of the Sundance Institute, which has opened big doors for countless directors and independent projects.


8. Kathryn Bigelow

Career highlights: “Near Dark,” “Point Break,” “The Hurt Locker”
Paved the way for: The Wachowskis and Mary Harron

A diehard indie filmmaker throughout her career, Bigelow made history with her 2009 Best Director Oscar for “The Hurt Locker.” She was the first woman to win in the category, but it only marks the tip of her iceberg-sized career. Few resumes come with credits as diverse and awesome as her jarring Best Picture-winner, “Point Break” and “Near Dark”—regardless of gender. When it comes to directors, her creative brilliance and scope are in a class of their own.


7. Spike Lee

Career highlights: “Do the Right Thing,” “Malcolm X” and “Bamboozled”
Paved the way for: Lee Daniels, John Singleton and Dee Rees

Lee may be a magnet for controversy, but the fact of the matter is that the guy knows how to direct a well-crafted film, even when the project doesn’t translate to a ticket-sales jackpot. “Bamboozled” and “Miracle at St. Anna” have suffered their fair shares of critical attacks, but even when they were getting picked apart, they still introduced discourses on race at the movies that all too often stay clear of the spotlight.


6. Woody Allen

Career highlights: “Annie Hall,” “Manhattan” and “Midnight in Paris”
Paved the way for: Zach Braff, Jon Favreau and Christopher Guest

Woody Allen staked out his own genre of nakedly up-front narrators and navel-gazing New Yorkers, but his larger body of work has been a titanic beacon for aspiring filmmakers of all types. His movies make big budgets and big casts seem absolutely unnecessary, and his use of simple documentary techniques in his comedies paved the way for countless mockumentaries and narrator-driven flicks that have sprouted up in recent decades.

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James Cameron could need special submarines for “Avatar 2,” says Sigourney Weaver

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It’s not a surprise that James Cameron plans on taking “Avatar 2″ into the sea, but it news on how he plans to get there.

He already has told Sam Worthington that he’ll be filming underwater, and now Sigourney Weaver has offered more insight on how Cameron plans on shooting under the sea. In an interview with Italian website Bad Taste (via /Film), Weaver dished that Cameron might need to have some special submarines built so he can shoot the upcoming movie.

“Cameron will only begin filming the new ‘Avatars’ after having gone underwater in a specially built submarine,” she said. “It is thought that he would like to go to the Mariana Trench. Re-beginning work on ‘Titanic’ for the 3D version has also given him many inspirations for ‘Avatar’.”

This wouldn’t be a first for Cameron. He used submarines to help shoot “Titanic” as well as his nonfiction 3D IMAX projects, “Ghosts of the Abyss” and “Aliens of the Deep.” But it is interesting that he seems to need advanced technology to help him shoot “Avatar 2″ and “3.” Also worth noting is that the Mariana Trench mentioned is the deepest part of the Earth’s oceans.

That could explain why “Avatar 2’s” release date is somewhere between 2014 and 2016. It sounds like Cameron still has a lot of work to be done before filming can begin. Cameron spoke about the ocean world recently and seemed excited about his filming possibilities.

“You know, the fictional Na’vi people and I want them to feel that excitement of discovery of a new world that they’re going to see things that they haven’t imagined,” he said. “All that sort of the perk package of the first movie is still going to be there. And the themes will be there and be played out in a way that I think people can accept.”

Are you intrigued by Cameron’s underwater filming techniques? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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