Stephen Lang reveals his on-set relationship with James Cameron

Watch: Stephen Lang discusses debate with James Cameron on Quaritch

Stephen Lang explained that working with James Cameron on the Avatar franchise is a “demanding” experience, but he gives his director his best.

The 70-year-old star returns to Pandora as the evil military Quaritch – despite the character’s first death – in Avatar: The Way of Water.

Lang said he relishes the opportunity to work with Cameron again, even though the filmmaker works his actors hard on set.

Read more: James Cameron explains the use of 3D and high frame rate in Avatar 2

“He’s a tough leader on himself and I think he demands by example that he sets that you bring your A-game,” Lang told Yahoo UK.

He added: “Jim is tough on me. I won’t talk about how he is with anyone else at all. But he can be tough on me because he knows he can be tough on me. me because he knows it works for me.

“I can be just as tough at the back. In the end, if we go head to head, I’ll lose every time. And that’s how it has to be.”

Stephen Lang returns, and this time has his own Na’vi avatar, in Avatar: The Way of Water. (20th century workshops)

The version of Quaritch seen in Avatar: The Way of Water is a “recombinant” – an Avatar body implanted with the real Quaritch’s memories, copied before the final battle that led to his death.

Read more: Early reviews for Avatar: The Way of the Water are rave reviews

Lang said it led him to “a more complex performance” than the one he delivered in 2009, and it involved close collaboration and discussion with his director.

He said: “If we get into a debate he’ll say ‘I wrote it’ and I’ll say ‘well I am’. Eventually we get along and the truth is we’re in sync pretty well when he it’s about who Quaritch is and where Quaritch is going.

This version of Quaritch must agree to no longer be a human in Avatar: The Way of Water.  (20th century workshops)

This version of Quaritch must agree to no longer be a human in Avatar: The Way of Water. (20th century workshops)

“There can be times when we don’t agree on the details. He always has ‘I’m the director,’ too.”

Read more: Matt Damon regrets turning down Avatar role

Lang said he loved having the opportunity to play a character he knows well, but with a slight twist that challenges how the character sees the world — as well as his performance.

“He’s Quaritch but he’s sort of Quaritch-plus — or Quaritch-less. He’s Quaritch redux, but it’s different,” Lang said.

Stephen Lang previously played a human incarnation of Quaritch as the main villain in 2009's Avatar. (20th Century Studios)

Stephen Lang previously played a human incarnation of Quaritch as the main villain in 2009’s Avatar. (20th Century Studios)

The star said: “What is added to him is [the Na’vi spiritual force of] Eva. What is added to it is the way of water. It is now part of its new, improved or reconstituted DNA.

“And it’s going to have all kinds of effects on him that he can’t really understand or predict.”

Read more: Explaining the CGI boundaries broken by The Way of Water

Cameron revealed in 2017 that Quaritch is set to be the main villain in all of his planned Avatar sequels, with the franchise currently set to end with the fifth movie in 2028.

Avatar: The Waterway is in theaters and IMAX starting December 16.

Watch the trailer for the sequel to Avatar, The Way of Water

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