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Peter Jackson and James Cameron geek out about filmmaking's future at Comic-Con's Visionaries panel

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Peter Jackson has a storm trooper costume that he couldhave worn. James Cameron would have preferred to come as Peter Jackson:”I’d sign a lot of autographs and make a lot of deals.” Instead, the twovisionary filmmakers spent an hour with each other, and EW executiveeditor Jeff Giles, at their first ever Comic-Con. The two received aton of applause from the packed audience for their commitment to new technologies and originalstorytelling. Aside from the random guy who jumped the stage and poured himself a glass of water before being whisked away by security, there were no other major surprises, but there were plenty of deep thoughts. Some highlights:

Not surprisingly for two directors who have pushed the envelope of filmmaking technology, there was much talk of the future of motion-capture, digital effects, and 3-D. Cameron confirmed that a 3-D version of Titanic is in the works. The conversion process, he said, takes a year to 18 months. “We’veseen a couple of minutes already, and it looks great.” For his part, Jackson said
Warner Bros. isn’t as enthusiastic to convert the Lord of the Rings films into 3-D. “They feel there aren’t enough 3-D screens out there.They are a bit more conservative.” To which Cameron countered that there would be a lot more 3-Dscreens if everyone knew Lord of the Rings was going into 3-D. “Warner Bros. needs to show a pairof balls here,” he said.

Of course, Jackson acknowledged, technology has also run in the opposite direction, making it easier for people to watch movies on portable gadgets. Maybe too easy. “If people wantto see movies on their iPod, I can’t do anything about it,” Jackson said. “But iPod moviesare postcards of the film experience. They can’t compete with thetheatrical movie experience.”

Jackson also revealed that the King Kong ride at Universal Studios is being revamped. (The ride’s old rubber Kong was destroyed in a fire a year ago.) The overhaul is a technologically complicated replacement that would involve the Universal tram ride pulling into a soundstage, where a motion simulatorwould rock the tram around Sky Island, putting riders in the middle of a battle royale between Kong and aT. Rex—complete with steamy hot dino-breath being pumped onto riders. The new Kong attraction should be ready for the park next summer.

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