Moviemaker JAMES CAMERON sent the cast of his new movie AVATAR off to the jungle for bonding boot camp exercises before he started shooting the upcoming epic.

The Titanic director called on stars including Sigourney Weaver and Zoe Saldana to get a feel for rainforest life, so they could better play their jungle-dwelling characters in the film.

He told an entertainment magazine, "We did a sense-memory experiment in Hawaii. We trekked around the rainforest for three days, building campfires and cooking fish, trying to live tribally."

And Saldana insists Cameron's pre-filming jungle expedition was a great idea: "That experience helped us so much. Sigourney, Sam and I were shooting the movie on a regular cement floor on a soundstage, but we needed to know what it was like to walk in a jungle world, what that felt like.

'Avatar' releases worldwide on Dec 18th.

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