James Cameron has decided that if you can't live in the spectacular fictional world of "Avatar," you might as well go for the next best thing.
The 57-year-old has purchased two plots totaling 2,470 acres about 50 miles northeast of the city of Wellington on New Zealand’s North Island. The total cost for land considered some of the most gorgeous in the world? A reasonable $16.6 million.
"I fell in love with New Zealand on a visit in 1994, and vowed to live here someday," Cameron said in a statement. "Now that dream is becoming a reality."
''I grew up working on my grandfather's farm in Canada and my wife Suzy's family own a farm in Oklahoma," he added. ''We want to raise our kids with the values we had when we were growing up, close to the land and with a strong work ethic. We hope we will be accepted as good neighbors and good members of the community in South Wairarapa.''
The two properties were apparently both run as dairy farms, something Cameron says he intends to continue. Media reports say the director and his family plan to reside on the acreage indefinitely, with plans for a new eco-home to be built on site.
Ironically, Cameron's new property is less than 12 miles away from another certain famous director, Peter Jackson, who used New Zealand as the backdrop for his Oscar-winning "Lord of the Rings" franchise. He's currently in the midst of filming "The Hobbit."
It's currently unknown what will happen to the current Cameron family residence, a stunning 100-acre coastal ranch in Santa Barbara, Calif. Back in October, the news program "Nightline" was given an exclusive tour of the solar-powered property by Cameron himself, who says the natural surroundings inspired him to write "Avatar."
It will also be interesting to see how much time the director spends on the property, especially as development on the next two "Avatar" sequels picks up. Last May, a search for a new home to house his Lightstorm Entertainment production company ended with the leasing of more than 115,000-square-feet of soundstage and production office space in Manhattan Beach, Calif. The studio will serve as the primary production HQ for the next two films in the sci-fi franchise.
Of course, one can assume that Cameron could always video conference in — and there's always WETA Digital in Wellington to assist with special effects — but something tells me his attention to detail might delay a permanent move for some years to come.
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