'Avatar' Director James Cameron Says Fan Pressure Inspires Him

'It makes you a better filmmaker when you know you've got a lot of fans to please and that their expectations are high,' he says during MTV's live-stream chat.

In 1997, James Cameron achieved an unprecedented triple crown, launching "Titanic" to Best Picture and Best Director Oscars and the title for all-time box-office champ, grossing an astounding $1.8 billion worldwide. In 1999, the Albert Brooks comedy "The Muse" featured a cameo from the filmmaker, depicting him as someone unsure of what to do next. Now, 12 years later, he is finally ready to unveil his follow-up.

On Thursday afternoon (December 3), the legendary director sat down with MTV for a live-stream Q&A, taking questions from fans and unveiling new footage from his December 18 sci-fi flick "Avatar." One of the first things he said was that he held no ill will toward all those who have fed the pressure he's spent the past 12 years preparing to overcome.

"I think there is obviously a lot of expectation whenever a filmmaker that people know — through films like 'Titanic' or 'Aliens' or 'Terminator' or whatever — there's always an expectation," he admitted while discussing his revolutionary flick about an alien planet and the space-traveling humans who seek to colonize it. "There's a lot of expectation around this film, and I guess I knew that would happen unless I made a romantic comedy or something."

Undeniably, the pressure is high these days as word of an enormous budget has further fueled the fire, but "Titanic" once had the same fears of not recouping its investment pre-release. And, when you're a filmmaker who has brought fans "The Terminator," "T2," "True Lies" and on and on, it's only natural that the fan anticipation will grow with each flick. To hear Cameron tell it, he wouldn't have things any other way.

"I think it makes you a better filmmaker when you know you've got a lot of fans to please and that their expectations are high," he insisted. "So you try pretty hard and you get the best people in the movie."

Now, the question is whether "Avatar" — released with the same sort of buzz, nearly 12 years to the day since "Titanic" — can re-create that film's success and become the new all-time box-office champ. "I don't think it's realistic to try and topple 'Titanic' off its perch," Cameron reasoned. "Some pretty good movies have come out in the last few years, and 'Titanic' just struck some sort of chord. Obviously, we're hoping that 'Avatar' is successful at some level."

Check out everything we've got on "Avatar."

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