By Mike Bedigan, PA Los Angeles Correspondent
Sigourney Weaver says it is “moving” to know that Avatar: The Way Of Water has provided “respite” for the people of Ukraine, during the ongoing conflict with Russia.
The Hollywood actress, who stars in James Cameron’s blockbuster sequel, said giving people “that kind of escape” was the reason she was in the entertainment business.
It comes as James Cameron announced that the film was fast approaching becoming the number one distributed film in Ukraine’s history.
“That means that when the missiles stop and the power comes back on, people are going to the movie theatres in Ukraine,” the director said, speaking at a ceremony to commemorate him and Jon Landau in Los Angeles on Thursday.
“And they’re seeing a movie that has beauty and has hope, a movie in which a bunch of high-technology bad guys invade you and the plucky wilful underdogs fight back and win.
“It means something to them (and)… it’s so great that our movie is touching hearts and giving hope in Ukraine right now.”
He added: “That made the whole thing worthwhile for me, not the money, not the awards, that.”
It comes after Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky made a guest appearance at the 80th annual Golden Globe awards on Tuesday.
In a video message, he told audiences it was “clear” that the “tide was turning” in the ongoing war in his country, and that Ukraine would be triumphant in its struggle.
Speaking to the PA news agency following Thursday’s event, Weaver praised the courage of those caught up in the conflict.
“It’s just so moving, the idea of what they’re living through and all the danger of that and all the incredible pressure that they’re under,” she told PA.
“That they would be able, first of all to have the courage to go to into a movie theatre that’s working and they would be showing this movie that’s also about a family that’s being uprooted and attacked.
“The idea that we are providing this respite from the war and such hardship… I mean, that’s why we’re in this business, frankly. To give people that kind of escape.”
Her Avatar co star Stephen Lang said that if the film could provide a “therapeutic” experience for people, then it was “doing good work”.
“The escapist nature of cinema is central, that’s the reason that people go into the dark and sit together in this intimate setting with strangers,” he told PA.
“To be delivered to a different place and a different time in a story.
“God knows that if you’re living through trauma, then the notion of being able to put that trauma aside for a certain period of time is important, it’s therapeutic.
“But further than that, the film itself really does have a direct relationship on the lives and the trials that the people of Ukraine are going through right now.
“And if in some way it gives them some kind of benefit, some kind of a feeling of solidarity, of being able to breathe a little freer, then in its own way the film is doing good work.”