Jack Champion literally grew up making “Avatar: The Way of Water”.
In an interview with Variety, the 18-year-old actor talks about playing the role of the human character Spider, who lives among the Na’vi in the blockbuster sequel.
READ MORE: ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Surpasses ‘Avengers: Infinity War,’ Becomes Fifth Highest Grosser Globally
“I thought my name was Monk — short for Monkey Boy — and they said that everything including live action was going to be done by October of 2018,” Champion recalls, looking back on landing the role when he was only 12.
“I don’t think they were lying, [but] no one could really expect how long it was going to go. Then, of course, when COVID hit, it just screwed everything and delayed everything,” he says. “But I didn’t really know much other than he was a human raised around the Na’vi, and I didn’t know who his biological parents were.”
As fans of the movie already know, it turns out that Spider, whose real name is Miles Socorro, is actually the son of franchise villain Miles Quaritch, though living on Pandora, he dresses a lot more like one of the Na’vi.
Talking about how he prepared for the role, Champion says, “It was like, ‘He’s like Tarzan.’ So it was just kind of like, ‘OK, probably going to be half naked.’ And then luckily during filming, I got with my trainer Josh Murillo and he helped me go from a pudgy 12-year-old to a pretty ripped 16-year-old.”
READ MORE: Actor Jack Champion Had To Shoot His ‘Avatar: The Way Of Water’ Scenes Twice Two Years Apart
Because his character is human, but he lives and interacts mostly with other computer-generated Na’vi characters, director James Cameron went to special lengths to film his live-action scenes.
“We had this acting troupe that would basically re-act what the actors did just for my sake, but they’d wear this giant Na’vi puppet on their shoulders, so there’d be a torso here and then a head up here, and then they’d control the arms with little sticks — foam Na’vi that were actually 10-feet tall for us to look at,” Champion says.
With “Avatar: The Way of Water” under his belt, the young actor will next be seen in the upcoming “Scream VI”.
“I have to go on record — before being cast, I was one of the biggest fans of ‘Scream’,” Champion says. “I have so much respect for the legacy of the franchise. Obviously, I can’t really say much about it, but I can assure people that it’s a really good story.”