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James Cameron


Brent Dunham

Publication Year: 2011

James Cameron (b. 1954) is lauded as one of the most successful and innovative filmmakers of the last thirty years. His films often break records, both in their massive budgets and in their box-office earnings. They include such hits as The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, Titanic, and Avatar. Part scientist, part dramatist, Cameron combines these two qualities into inventive and captivating films that often push the boundaries of special effects to accommodate his imagination. James Cameron: Interviews chronicles the writer-director's rise through the Hollywood system, highlighted by his "can-do" attitude and his insatiable drive to make the best film possible.

As a young boy growing up in Canada, Cameron imagined himself an astronaut, a deep-sea explorer, a science fiction writer, or a filmmaker. Transplanted to southern California, he would go on to realize many of those boyhood fantasies.

This collection of interviews provides glimpses of the filmmaker as he advances from Roger Corman's underling to "king of the world." The interviews are drawn from a number of sources including TV appearances and conversations on blogs, which have never been published in print. Spanning more than twenty years, this collection constructs a concise and thorough examination of Cameron, a filmmaker who has almost single-handedly ushered Hollywood into the twenty-first century.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-viii

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pp. ix-xx

It was one day on the set of The Abyss that James Cameron almost died. At the bottom of a gigantic underwater set, Cameron ran out of oxygen. His First AD was supposed to monitor his O2 levels while he was under but failed to do so on this particular occasion. Cameron knew he...


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pp. xxi-xxiv


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pp. xxv-2

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How to Direct a Terminator

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pp. 3-7

“I was sick and dead broke in Rome, Italy,” director James Cameron reminisces, “with a fever of 102, doing the final cut of Piranha II. That’s when I thought of Terminator. I guess it was a fever dream!”
Terminator, the second movie helmed by the Canadian-born filmmaker, also marks the debut of Arnold Schwarzenegger (Starlog #88) in a...

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The 1984 Movie Revue: James Cameron Interviewed

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pp. 8-14

James Cameron, writer-director of The Terminator, was one of the last cum-laude graduates of the Roger Corman School of Survival Filmmaking— New World Pictures as it existed before Corman sold the company and moved on...

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Writer-Director Shows the Special Effect Energy Can Radiate

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pp. 15-18

Once upon a time in America—in late October 1984 to be precise—Orion Pictures dumped onto the market a little science-fiction thriller. Two weeks, the marketing whizzes obviously figured, then Dune, 2010, and all the other big-deal Christmas movies would stomp Arnold Schwarzenegger...

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Aliens: An Out of This World Communication with Director James Cameron

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pp. 19-22

“There are three kinds of pictures: high-budget movies, low-budget flicks, and no-waste films. I’m a no-waste filmmaker,” says James Cameron, underscoring the fact that, in a business where the average product costs more than $10 million, a careful, imaginative artist can generate...

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James Cameron Takes the Plunge

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pp. 23-28

The Abyss has predictably polarized critical opinion. Rolling Stone said, “It out ET’s ET,” while Film ’89 commented on how bad the script was. The dispassionate view probably lies somewhere in the middle ground between the two. What no one can dispute, though, is how director James...

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James Cameron Takes a Second Plunge

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pp. 29-34

The Abyss was filmed at the never-completed Cherokee Nuclear Power Station outside Gaffney, South Carolina. Said Cameron, “The reactor was never installed in what became our tank, so there was no danger of lurking radioactivity. The project ran out of funds while 50 percent complete...

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Aliens: James Cameron Interview

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pp. 35-40

With the release of the Aliens: Special Edition video, curiosity has been aroused about alternative versions of other James Cameron films, including the rumored “extended play, dance mix” of The Abyss. Nigel Floyd dips into his Cameron interview files to give you the official version...

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The Hero’s Journey

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pp. 41-49

The eighteenth-century English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge declared that when you approach a work of art, you must leave your perception of reality behind and approach the work on its own merits, its own level. He described it as “the willing suspension of disbelief.” We must willingly...

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Approaching the Sequel

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pp. 50-56

Writing a film sequel is always difficult. If you think about the sequels that are successful—the Rocky series, Lethal Weapon, or Aliens, to name just a few recent examples—they always start with the same characters and generate a new story line. They break new ground...

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Iron Jim

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pp. 57-70

By February the town was starting to talk—James Cameron was at it again. When he made The Abyss he went over budget and over schedule, missing his release date by four weeks. When he made Terminator 2: Judgment Day he broke budget records and kept three editors working...

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Rich and Strange

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pp. 71-76

In actual fact, the following interview with James Cameron was solicited by Boxoffice based on false assumptions. We were present at NATO/ ShoWEST last March when the writer/director/producer received NATO’s “Producer of the Year” award and gave a stirring address about the...

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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: The Movie Director as Captain Nemo

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pp. 77-109

Nemolike James Cameron dove in a Russian submersible two and a half miles under the sea to visit—and film—the Titanic for his epic movie on the mythic doomed ship. Then he re-created a nearly full-size model of the vessel in Baja California, replete with historically precise details composed...

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A Drive of Titanic Proportions

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pp. 110-132

Q: What was your childhood like?
Cameron: It was not remarkable from the standpoint of outside influences.
I lived in a small town. It was two thousand people in Canada. A little river went through it and we swam—you know, there was a lot of water around. Niagara Falls was about four or five miles away. And so, you...

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The Final Frontier

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pp. 133-138

Ever since he saw 2001: A Space Odyssey at age fourteen, James Cameron has been in love with film, space, and technology. Like that of the late Stanley Kubrick, Cameron’s moviemaking has been notable for its technological innovations, from the morphing shots in The Abyss and Terminator 2: Judgment Day...

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James Cameron: The Second Coming

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pp. 139-143

James Cameron’s Dark Angel has, in the course of its first year, established itself as a challenger to the crown of top SF TV show. As the second season begins, Jenny Cooney Carrillo meets the Titanic ego who is out to build a better Angel...

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Sound of Silence

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pp. 144-146

Andrei Tarkovski’s original Russian language movie of Solaris is one of the classics of sci-fi cinema, but it dates from the age before Star Wars— when science fiction didn’t necessarily mean action, adventure, and lightsabers. In view of that, you have to wonder how modern audiences...

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James Cameron

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pp. 147-168

Following an Imax screening of his Ghosts of the Abyss, Iron Jim Cameron (aka “The King of the World”) took to the stage to discuss the three Ts (technology, Terminators, and the Titanic) with Adrian Wootton...

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My Titanic Obsession

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pp. 169-173

The director James Cameron would be the first to admit that he is obsessed by the ocean. Ever since he first plunged into the murky depths at the age of sixteen, the filmmaker has been unable to kick the underwater habit...

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King of All He Surveys

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pp. 174-177

“I’m the king of the world!” James Cameron cried at the 1998 Oscars, echoing his leading character in Titanic. When the director picked up eleven Academy Awards and his epic netted box-office receipts of $1.8bn, he defied critics who’d predicted that the film would be sunk by a fatal...

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James Cameron: A Life in Pictures

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pp. 178-188

The Titanic may have floundered but James Cameron’s film remains buoyant as the biggest box office success in history. Nothing this director does is modest in scale: he waited fifteen years for technology to catch up with his ideas to make Avatar in groundbreaking 3D. His previous, otherworldly...

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James Cameron

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pp. 189-199

Tavis Smiley: Pleased to welcome James Cameron to this program. The Oscar-winning filmmaker is one of the most successful directors, writers, and producers of our time, with seminal films like Titanic, The Terminator...

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James Cameron Interview: Avatar Blu-ray; Also Talks Titanic 3D and Avatar 2

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pp. 200-206

According to director James Cameron, the groundbreaking sci-fi epic Avatar is not only the highest-grossing film of all time, but it is also the most pirated film of all time. However, that hasn’t deterred its box office numbers and, if Blu-ray/DVD sales are any indication, it’s not negatively...

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James Cameron Interview! Talks Avatar Re-release, Sequels, 3D Conversions, and Working with Del Toro

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pp. 207-214

Jim Dorey: Today I have with me mega-director James Cameron, whose highest-grossing movie of all time, Avatar, is being re-released on August 27 with an additional eight minutes of highly anticipated footage for us. Welcome, Jim.
James Cameron: Hey, thanks for having me on...


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pp. 215-219

E-ISBN-13: 9781617031335
E-ISBN-10: 161703133X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781617031328
Print-ISBN-10: 1617031321

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2011