James Cameron’s hotly anticipated sequel Avatar 2 is set to resume shootign in New Zealand after the director and crew were given special permission to enter the country.
This would make Avatar 2 the first major Hollywood blockbuster to go back into production since the pandemic shut down film sets worldwide.
New Zealand’s borders have been closed to foreign nationals since 16 March as part of strict measures to curtail the effects of Covid-19. The lockdown efforts have worked so far with fewer than 1,500 cases of the virus and 22 deaths. So, the news that Cameron and the 55 members of his crew have been allowed by economic development minister, Phil Twyford, to fly into the country on a privately chartered plane has caused some consternation among locals.
Cameron’s producer, Jon Landau, posted an Instagram picture of the pair arriving at Wellington international airport last week, with both men wearing face masks and plastic face shields, saying “Made it to New Zealand. Our 14-day government-supervised self-isolation now begins".
Like most films, the Avatar sequels had to halt production in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but work has not completely stopped on Avatar 2 in the intervening time, with Landau previously confirming that virtual production in California with Weta Digital on the visual effects has still been going ahead, and has now confirmed that the sets are ready.
Since last year, filming had alternated between studios in Kumeu, New Zealand, and Wellington, the country’s capital. Shooting could go ahead at one location while the sets were being built at the other.