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Synthetic actors to star in "Avatar'

Published Sep. 16, 2005

Director James Cameron (Terminator 2: Judgment Day) is planning a movie with synthetic actors. Avatar is expected to include at least six photorealistic CGI "actors" in leading roles, actors who appear to be real but do not exist in the physical world.

Digital Domain, the special effects house in which Cameron is a partner, is staffing up for the huge effort, which is expected to go into production next summer following the completion of the director's $100-million current project, Titanic. Avatar's budget probably will be in the same range.

While computer-generated creatures have been used effectively in films including Jurassic Park, Jumanji and Dragonheart, filmmakers using computer animation have yet to put anything remotely human on the big screen. Cameron is determined to be the first to do so.

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Nicolas Cage has signed to star opposite Meg Ryan in City of Angels. Cage will receive $12-million for his work.

City of Angels, to be directed by Brad Silberling (Casper), is inspired by Wim Wenders' German film, Wings of Desire. Cage won the best actor Oscar this year for Leaving Las Vegas.

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Michael York and Robert Wagner have joined Mike Myers and Elizabeth Hurley in the action-adventure comedy Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. The film will feature cameos by a number of well-known actors.

Austin Powers is about a special agent and playboy who is defrosted after 30 years in a cryogenic freeze with only antiquated spy skills at his disposal to match wits with his nemesis.