Cliff Curtis confirms NZ a potential hot spot for Avatar sequel

By Taroi Black

New Zealand has been tipped as a potential location to film the sequel of Avatar.

Movie star Cliff Curtis spoke to Māori Television today after meeting up with the film director James Cameron since landing a role in the billion dollar franchise.

The Te Arawa descendant is poised to make more impact in Hollywood. 

Cliff Curtis says, "For me to come in and bring in the influences that I have from our tāonga Māori. I recognize the reo, like my character's name is Tonowari. So I see "Tono" and that  sounds totally Maori."

Cliff Curtis just returned from LA two days ago after meeting with Avatar director James Cameron. While details around the sequels haven't been released, Curtis says he relates well with the cultural aspect of the story. 

"I'm excited but still testing the waters, it's still their kaupapa but they've invited me into it and how much I get to influence that I don't know yet, but I'm throwing all sorts of ideas out there just to see what sticks.

There's also so much I don't know I haven't read all of the scripts, I've only read a couple and so we have two years out before it even hits the screens. So there's going to be a lot of anticipation on what the world is going to be about." 

Commitments to such a large film project means long stays away from home, but Curtis has recently heard parts of the sequel will be filmed in Aotearoa (NZ).

"That's the meke (awesome) brother (Taroi Black), bringing it home you know, that's us and I think it's beautiful to be able to be working on Hollywood projects and still be connected to home. That's my greatest accomplishment in my career is being able to maintain my ahikaa (local) and that sense of belonging being home and not losing that sense of connection." 

Production for the first of the four films starts at the end of the year.