Topic: Entertainment

Exclusive: Curtis breaks silence on his biggest career break

By Taroi Black

Māori actor Cliff Curtis is on his way to Hollywood to meet with the producers and directors of the Avatar movie sequels. It was announced this week that Curtis will be the first new actor to join the original cast.

Cliff Curtis is calmly reeling in the excitement of the recent news. 

Curtis says, "It's been on the boil for a while and I haven't been able to talk about it and it's been quite an exciting process you know, getting to speak to James Cameron the director of the whole franchise and Jon Landau the producer. It was just exciting to get that news out there and made the announcement."

The star will play a new character in the upcoming Avatar film, named Tonowari, the leader of the Metkayina, a reef clan from Pandora. 

"If you look at the Avatar franchise I totally relate to the underlying kaupapa of the kōrero of colonisation and just taking from the whenua. You're just using it as a land bank and just taking the resources out of it and never mind the consequences for the tangata whenua or the indigenous people. So, the underlying message to it these colonises are coming from a different culture or planet coming and taking the resources from the tangata whenua, so that's pretty much what the deal is," says Curtis.

The first Avatar film remains the highest-grossing movie of all time, racking up $2.78 billion worldwide. Curtis will feature in all four sequels.

"That's the exciting part, you know James Cameron is a bit of genius and I am pretty sure he is going to raise the bar again, what that is going to look like, nobody knows. That's all under the wraps, I think he is building new technology to achieve what he wants to achieve but there's so many parts to it."

Filming is expected to start later this year and the casting process is well under way in order to meet their first schedule in 2020. 

"It's right up there you know, four movies in an overall franchise, that's a first for me, I've never managed to that. It is the tihi o te maunga, so it's the biggest movie franchise ever and that's also a bonus, so yeah I'm loving it," says Curtis.

New Zealand based Director James Cameron still hasn't revealed any details for Avatar 2, however, what we do know is most of the film will be set underwater.