James Cameron Plans ‘The Informationist’

Call on just about anyone to list ten directors who don’t suck and surely James Cameron will wind up on that list. Right now the visionary director is hard at work on sequels to Avatar, the somewhat groundbreaking adventure he directed, wrote produced and edited, but we know the name of the project most likely to get his attention next. It’s a book adaptation called The Informationist.

Sure, some folks didn’t see much difference between the Avatar storyline and that of Disney’s Pocahontas, but if you weren’t dying your skin blue after seeing the 2009 release, don’t forget that incredible innovations in filming technology were utilized during production. Cameron’s work is all about boldly going where no man has gone before. The Terminator series is still considered a landmark in science fiction. For the sequel, T2: Judgement Day, a liquid metal humanoid killing machine brought terrific advances in special effects artistry. Just prior, his highly under appreciated work, The Abyss, took a hearty group of survivors to the bottom of the ocean to interact with an alien much kinder than the one he directed in Aliens. As for Titanic? Well, who else would have been bold enough to recreate such an epic disaster in such studied detail?

What uncharted terrain is left to be traversed? How about the wilds of Africa? Or maybe the layers of a woman’s psyche?

Lightstorm Entertainment purchased the motion picture rights to the 2011 novel The Informationist by Taylor Stevens, with James Cameron eager to direct the film for Twentieth Century Fox. We just have to wait for the finishing touches on the second and third Avatar films, in pre-production now, for work on The Informationist to begin.

The Informationist is the story of Vanessa “Michael” Munroe, an information specialist. Her area of expertise strikes me as awfully similar to that of Lisbeth Salander of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or Olivia Pope of Scandal, the addictive political thriller from Shonda Rhimes.

Because of her skills, Vanessa is highly sought after by heads of state and wealthy private clients. A rich oil baron puts her on payroll to search for his daughter who went to the continent of Africa four years prior, and then seemingly vanished. Vanessa, who actually lived in Africa as a child winds up quickly double-crossed, stuck in the middle of no where, and left for dead. As she tries to survive, she also must face a past she’s been trying to forget her entire adult life.

On the production team are James Cameron and Jon Landau. They’ll have to shop around for a writer to adapt the novel soon, but we probably won’t be hearing about actors for a while.

In his statement, Cameron said, “Taylor Stevens’ Vanessa Michael Munroe is an intriguing and compelling heroine with an agile mind and a thirst for adventure. Equally fascinating for me is her emotional life and her unexpected love story. I’m looking forward to bringing Vanessa and her world to the big screen.”

John Landau added, “This was an opportunity to continue our relationship with Fox and Jim Gianopulos beyond the Avatar films. We were drawn to this book because of the terrific, compelling narrative and the character, who typifies the strong female protagonists that have inhabited Jim’s work in this case Vanessa Munroe is essentially a mix of Lisbeth Salander and Jason Bourne.”

See that? Landau and I agree about Dragon Tattoo similarities.

A follow up, second “Vanessa Michael Munroe” novel, titled The Innocent, premiered just this year.

An autobiography from the book’s author Taylor Stevens, would be just as compelling to read. The woman was raised as a child inside an apocalyptic religious cult. She lived in strict all over the world, was cut off from her family at age twelve, not educated more than on a sixth grade level, and spent much of that time begging on the streets or washing clothes for hundreds of her fellow cult members. In her twenties, Stevens was able to escape the cult and is now a full-time writer and mother.

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