When Jon Landau and James Cameron announced that their production company Lightstorm had added The Informationist, the first novel in Taylor Stevens’ Vanessa ‘Michael’ Monroe book series as a post-Avatar project to produce and direct this week, the rush for information was insane. With two Avatar sequels, the long-awaited Battle Angel anime adaptation, and Disney’s World Of Avatar theme park in the works, the public wondered if they really needed something else on their plate.
“We literally just closed the deal last week,” said Jon Landau today.
In my exclusive interview with Landau, we received some new information that helps us figure out the timetable, casting and creative process behind what could be Hollywood’s next big franchise.
Landau was nonplussed when confronting all of the potential projects for the next ten or so years. His views on the timetable for finishing Avatar 2 and 3, developing The Informationist, and continuing pre-production on Battle Angel were straightforward:
“We never put a timetable on anything. Our jobs are to make sure we bring the best creative result to the process, and that’s when it’ll be ready…. However, nothing’s been put on indefinite hold. We want to be in a position when we come out of Avatar and have a choice. Battle Angel is something we are definitely still interested in. I think it would be a phenomenal movie. However, there might be timing situations, technology, cast availability issues that we don’t need to deal with now with those [future] films when we can wait three or four years when we’re done with Avatar.”
The main character of The Informationist is Vanessa ‘Michael’ Monroe, a former child mercenary turned information broker for high profile clients like corporations and governments. Described as ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo meets Jason Bourne’, Landau tells us there’s definitely a potential blockbuster franchise in the works:
“We have to remember that Taylor Stevens is planning on writing seven books for this character. We really see this as something that has potential to be a series…. It’s a female protagonist that is both smart and physically adept… What we need to do is make a movie that plays across the world. She’s a heroine for everybody. She really represents every person. Whether you speak English, Chinese, French, German or Portuguese. There’s certainly an edge to the character, but Jim’s able to bring edge and appeal to female characters. There was a humanity to Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2. He’s able to bring in so much pathos to such tough characters.”
In terms of female actresses for these characters, James Cameron is known for bringing some of the biggest Hollywood stars to the forefront. He gave us Jessica Alba in Dark Angel, Eliza Dushku in True Lies, and Kate Winslet in Titanic in some of their first roles. Landau conveyed that more of the same plans to happen with the character of Vanessa ‘Michael’ Monroe:
“What Jim Cameron has always historically been successful at is finding the best actors and actresses for the role. We plan to do the same for The Informationist. When we did Titantic, Leonardio DiCapio didn’t even finish Romeo + Juliet. No one knew Sam Worthington when we did Avatar. In fact, no one even knew Arnold [Schwarzenegger] when Jim did The Terminator. It’s about finding actors and actresses who can disappear into the role.”
Overall, I’m more excited for the potential of The Informationist than I am for the future Avatar sequels. (But that just might be the nerd talking in me.) Have any of you guys read The Informationist? Who would be your dream girl to play Vanessa ‘Michael’ Monroe? With so many movies in their queue and no set timeline, when do you think the film will hit?
images via Slashfilm