Inside 'Avatar'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," December 17, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not in Kansas anymore. You're on Pandora, ladies and gentlemen. Respect that fact every second of every day. If there was a hell, you might want to go there for some R&R, after a tour of Pandora. Beyond that fence, every living thing that crawls, flies or squats in the mud wants to kill you and eat your eyes for jujubes.

We have an indigenous population of humanoids. They're fond of arrows dipped in a neurotoxin that will stop your heart in one minute, and they have bones reinforced with naturally occurring carbon fibers. They are very hard to kill. As head of security, it is my job to keep you alive. I will not succeed.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Midnight tonight, one of the most anticipated movies hits the theaters in minutes, literally minutes, James Cameron's "Avatar." It's produced by 20th Century Fox, which, along with Fox News, is part of the News Corps family.

Actor Stephen Lang is one of the stars in the movie. He joins us live. It must be fun to see that soundbite.


VAN SUSTEREN: It's a blast.

LANG: Yes, absolutely.

VAN SUSTEREN: And the movie opens literally in an hour or so.

LANG: I guess around midnight. Hopefully they're lining up now and have been for hours. We'll see how we do.

VAN SUSTEREN: Tell me what it's like. It must be exciting.

LANG: Well, we're sort of at the end. I'm at the end of a road that started a couple of weeks ago just in terms of promoting the movie. So we've been all over the world, all over Europe, to Moscow, talking to journalists, doing premieres.

And last night we had the Los Angeles premiere and it was thrilling, just thrilling. So I'm kinds of exhausted, but I'm really exhausted by it.

VAN SUSTEREN: We check ratings. So in 24 hours you check box office receipts? What do you do, look for reviews?

LANG: Well, the reviews are all coming out. And mostly they're pretty glowing for the picture. I personally will not be checking the box office. But one of my sons, who's very into the grosses, I know he'll keep me up-to-date on it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Expensive. This is huge.

LANG: It cost a couple of bucks, for sure.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's supposed to be the most expensive.

LANG: I'm not exactly sure if it is, but it's way up there. You can see the money is all on the screen.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's so different about this movie? I mean, what's so special about it?

LANG: It's a really remarkable and innovative blending of storytelling with the most cutting edge cinematic wizardry possible.

And it's all because Jim Cameron is the real -- he's a visionary filmmaker. He's, in many ways, the Leonardo of our time. He combines this superb and dense artistic vision with the mechanical know-how of an engineer. It's just this great synthesis. He's a remarkable cat.

VAN SUSTEREN: You met Cameron before this movie, right?

LANG: I did indeed.

VAN SUSTEREN: What happened?

LANG: Some 20-plus years ago I read for Aliens. He was doing a picture. I read for it, and I didn't get it. But, you know, it took a while, but the chickens have come home to roost. He thought of me in connection with this picture.

VAN SUSTEREN: When you picked up the script for this, did you know this is a great picture, or was it sort of a -- is it sort of fluid, sort of roll the dice, or did you know right then and there?

LANG: No, the script is a page-turner. The story was absolutely thrilling. He's a terrific writer. So the world that he imagined he got down on paper very vividly, very specifically. I thought the role was just extraordinarily rich and fun to play.

And so when I saw it, I was stunned and I was awed, but I wasn't totally, because it was all there on the page, I thought.

VAN SUSTEREN: So you read the script and you film it in different scenes, and sometimes out of sequence, an odd sequence.

LANG: Sure.

VAN SUSTEREN: So you don't see it until the end.

LANG: Right. I first saw it I n London is where I first saw it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Not till then?

LANG: I've seen it in various incarnations, at various stages, but I hadn't seen the entire thing until about a week ago, and I'm still reeling from it.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's bizarre when you think about it. You work so long and hard on it and you have no idea until the end what it's going to look like. In my business, we have a little bit of an idea.

LANG: You want to hear something bizarre? I don't even think Jim Cameron had seen the entire thing up till two weeks ago, and he made it.

VAN SUSTEREN: You had to have it done. If he didn't like it, you were cooked.

LANG: I think there were a lot of nervous executives probably.

VAN SUSTEREN: So it opens don't. Are you going to go see it in a regular theater?

LANG: I think I'll probably sneak in somewhere at some point, maybe in New York, just to see it with an audience. Because when you go to premieres, you know, you feel you are among friends. They have a vested interest in loving it. But I feel pretty confident that, you know, when you pay your money, you're going to get a lot of film for it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's created a lot of buzz. Everybody is excited. The fact that everybody knows it's opening at midnight tonight. I wish you the best of luck and it looks like it's going to be a huge success.

LANG: Thanks.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thanks for joining us.

LANG: Thanks for having me.

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