Avatar (script to the movie “avatar” directed by james cameron)


THE SOUND OF DRUMS, from a great distance, growing louder.


WE ARE FLYING through mist, a dimly glimpsed forest below.

When I was lying there in the VA hospital, with a big hole blown through the middle of my life, I started having these dreams of flying.

We are very low over the forest now, gliding fast, the drums

Sooner or later though, you always have to wake up…


A SCREECH OF BRAKES as a vehicle WIPES FRAME, revealing –

JAKE SULLY, a scarred and scruffy combat vet, sitting in a beat up carbon-fiber wheelchair. At 22, his eyes are hardened by the wisdom and wariness of one who has endured pain beyond his years.

Jake stares upward at the levels of the city. MAGLEV TRAINS WHOOSH overhead on elevated tracks, against a sky of garish advertizing.

JAKE (V. O.)
They can fix

a spinal, if you’ve got the money. But not on vet benefits, not in this economy.

The traffic light changes and Jake pushes forward with the crowd, pumping the wheels of his chair. Most of the people wear FILTER MASKS to protect them from the toxic air. In a LONG LENS STACK it is a marching torrent of anonymous, isolated souls.


The room is a tiny CUBICLE, prison cell meets 747 bathroom.
Narrow cot, wall-screen droning away in the B. G. –

The Bengal tiger, extinct for over a century, is making a comeback. These cloned tiger cubs at the Beijing Zoo are…


Jake laboriously pulls his pants off – rocking to one side, pushing the fabric down past his hip, then rocking to the other, and so on.

His legs are white and atrophied. Utterly useless. But his arms are tattooed and powerfully muscled. A “Born Loser” tattoo prominent on his shoulder.

JAKE (V. O.)
I became a Marine for the hardship. To be hammered on the anvil of life. I told myself I could pass any test a man can pass.

Jake struggles with his pants a long time.


Not the kind of place you’d bring your mom.

We find Jake near the pool table, BALANCING his chair, front wheels off the ground, while holding a tequila shot on his forehead. ONLOOKERS, including some other disabled vets, CLAP and WHOOP.

Jake grabs the glass, SLAMS down the shot as they cheer.

A WALL-SIZED SCREEN filled with the World Cup game – men RUNNING on antelope legs.

CU JAKE, watching what he can’t have. Expression stony.

JAKE (V. O.)
Let’s get it straight up front. I don’t
want your pity. I know the world’s a
cold-ass bitch.

Jake’s eyes shift – HIS POV, seeing the bar through gaps in the crowd. A MAN on a barstool SLAPS the WOMAN he’s with. Hard. She cowers but he’s got her arm, shouting, raising his fist. An eternal tableau. People look away.

CU JAKE – not looking away.

JAKE (V. O.)
You want a fair deal, you’re on the wrong planet. The strong prey on the weak.

TIGHT ON JAKE’S HAND as he starts pushing the wheel of his

TRACKING WITH HIM as he rolls forward.


JAKE (V. O.)
It’s just the way things are. And nobody does a damn thing.

Jake stops, unnoticed, next to the bullying man. He leans down and grabs one leg of the man’s barstool – and YANKS.

The chair flips. The guy goes down HARD and –

JAKE hurls himself from the wheelchair, toppling on the guy, getting a grip on him like a pit bull and PUNCHING the crap out of him, right there on the floor.

Avatar (script to the movie “avatar” directed by james cameron)