Saturday, December 11, 2010

James Cameron

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James Cameron

Cameron speaking at TED in 2010
Born James Francis Cameron
August 16, 1954 (1954-08-16) (age 56)
Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada
Occupation Film director, film producer, film editor, screenwriter, inventor
Years active 1978–present
Spouse Sharon Williams (1978–1984)
Gale Anne Hurd (1985–1989)
Kathryn Bigelow (1989–1991)
Linda Hamilton (1997–1999)
Suzy Amis (2000–present)
James Francis Cameron[1] (born August 16, 1954) is a Canadian film director, film producer, screenwriter, editor, and inventor.[2][3] His writing and directing work includes Piranha II: The Spawning (1981), The Terminator (1984), Aliens (1986), The Abyss (1989), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), True Lies (1994), Titanic (1997), and Avatar (2009). In the time between making Titanic and his return to feature films with Avatar, Cameron spent several years creating many documentary films (specifically underwater documentaries), and also co-developed the digital 3-D Fusion Camera System. Described by a biographer as part-scientist and part-artist,[4] Cameron has also contributed to underwater filming and remote vehicle technologies.[2][3][5]
In total, Cameron's directorial efforts have grossed approximately US$2 billion in North America and US$6 billion worldwide.[6] Without adjusting for inflation, Cameron's Titanic and Avatar are the two highest-grossing films of all time at $1.8 billion and $2.7 billion respectively.[7] In terms of worldwide gross, he is the second-highest grossing director of all time, behind Steven Spielberg.

[edit] Background

Cameron was born in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada, the son of Samira (née Shapourzadeh), an Iranian artist and nurse, and Phillip Cameron, an electrical engineer.[8][9] His paternal great-great-great-grandfather emigrated from Balquhidder, Scotland in 1825;[8] thus, he descends from Clan Cameron.
Cameron grew up in Chippawa, Ontario and attended Stamford Collegiate School in Niagara Falls; his family moved to Brea, California in 1971 when he was 17.[10] Cameron enrolled at Fullerton College, a 2-year community college, in 1973 to study Physics. He switched to English, then dropped out before the start of the fall 1974 semester.[11]
After dropping out, he worked several jobs such as truck driving and wrote when he had time.[12] During this period he taught himself about special effects: "I'd go down to the USC library and pull any thesis that graduate students had written about optical printing, or front screen projection, or dye transfers, anything that related to film technology. That way I could sit down and read it, and if they'd let me photocopy it, I would. If not, I'd make notes."[13]
After seeing the original Star Wars film in 1977, Cameron quit his job as a truck driver to enter the film industry.[14] When Cameron read Syd Field's book Screenplay, it occurred to him that integrating science and art was possible, and he wrote a ten minute science fiction script with two friends, entitled Xenogenesis. They raised money and rented camera, lenses, film stocks, and studio, and shot it in 35mm. To understand how to operate the camera, they dismantled it and spent the first half-day of the shoot trying to figure out how to get it running.

[edit] Early career

As Cameron continued educating himself in techniques, he started as a miniature model maker at Roger Corman Studios.[12] Making fast, low-budget productions taught Cameron to work efficiently and effectively. He soon was an art director in the sci-fi movie Battle Beyond the Stars (1980). He did special effects work design and direction on John Carpenter's Escape from New York (1981), acted as production designer on Galaxy of Terror (1981), and consulted on the design of Android (1982) .
Cameron was hired as the special effects director for the sequel of Piranha, entitled Piranha II: The Spawning in 1981. However, the director left the project and Cameron was hired by Italian producer Assonitis to take over, giving him his first directorial job. He worked with producer Roger Corman. The interior scenes were filmed in Rome, Italy while the underwater diving sequences were shot at Grand Cayman Island.
The movie was to be produced in Jamaica, but when Cameron arrived at the studio, he discovered that the project was under-financed and his crew comprised primarily Italians who spoke no English. Under duress, Cameron says, he had a nightmare about an invincible robot hitman sent from the future to kill him, giving him the idea for The Terminator, which would later catapult his filming career.

[edit] Major films

[edit] The Terminator (1984)

After completing a screenplay for The Terminator, Cameron decided to sell it so that he could direct the movie. However, the production companies he contacted, while expressing interest in the project, were unwilling to let a first-time feature film director make the movie. Finally, Cameron found a company called Hemdale Pictures, which was willing to let him direct. Gale Anne Hurd, who had started her own production company, Pacific Western Productions, had previously worked with Cameron in Roger Corman's company and agreed to buy Cameron's screenplay for one dollar, on the condition that Cameron direct the film. Hurd was signed on as producer, and Cameron finally got his first break as director. Orion Pictures distributed the film.

Cameron in September 1986
Initially, for the role of the Terminator, Cameron wanted someone who wasn't exceptionally muscular, and who could "blend into" a normal crowd. Lance Henriksen, who had starred in Piranha II: The Spawning, was considered for the titular role, but when Arnold Schwarzenegger and Cameron first met over lunch to discuss Schwarzenegger playing the role of Kyle Reese, both came to the conclusion that the cyborg villain would be the more compelling role for the Austrian bodybuilder; Henriksen got the smaller part of LAPD detective Hal Vukovich and the role of Kyle Reese went to Michael Biehn. In addition, Linda Hamilton first appeared in this film in her iconic role of Sarah Connor, and later married Cameron.
The Terminator was a box office hit, breaking expectations by Orion Pictures executives that the film would be regarded as no more than a sci-fi film, and only last a week in theaters. It was a low-budget film which cost $6.5 million to make, cutting expenses in such ways as recording the audio track in mono. However, The Terminator eventually earned over $78 million worldwide.

[edit] Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)

During the early 1980s, Cameron wrote three screenplays simultaneously: The Terminator, Aliens, and the first draft of Rambo: First Blood Part II. While Cameron continued with The Terminator and Aliens, Sylvester Stallone eventually took over the script of Rambo: First Blood Part II, creating a final draft which differed radically from Cameron's initial version. Cameron was credited for his screenplay in the film's final credits.[15]

[edit] Aliens (1986)

The producing team behind Aliens, James Cameron and Gale Ann Hurd
Cameron next began the sequel to Alien, the 1979 film by Ridley Scott. Cameron named the sequel Aliens, and again cast Sigourney Weaver in the iconic role of Ellen Ripley. According to Cameron, the crew on Aliens was hostile to him, regarding him as a poor substitute for Ridley Scott. Cameron sought to show them The Terminator but the majority of the crew refused and remained skeptical of his direction throughout production. Despite this and other off-screen problems (such as clashing with an uncooperative camera man and having to replace one of the lead actors - Michael Biehn of Terminator took James Remar's place as Corporal Hicks), Aliens became a box office success, and received Academy Award nominations for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Weaver, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound, and won awards for Best Sound Effects Editing and Best Visual Effects. In addition, the film and its lead actress made the cover of TIME magazine as a result of its breakthrough feminist themes about women in combat. Following the phenomenal success of the film, Cameron now had more freedom to make whatever projects he wanted.

[edit] The Abyss (1989)

Cameron's next project stemmed from an idea that had come up during a high school biology class. The story of oil-rig workers who discover otherworldly underwater creatures became the basis of Cameron's screenplay for The Abyss, which cast Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Michael Biehn. Initially budgeted at $41 million U.S. (though the production ran considerably over budget), it was considered to be one of the most expensive films of its time, and required cutting-edge effects technology. Because much of the film takes place underwater and the technology wasn't advanced enough to digitally create an underwater environment, Cameron chose to shoot much of the movie "reel-for-real", at depths of up to 40 feet (12 m). For creation of the sets, the containment building of an unfinished nuclear power plant was converted, and two huge tanks were used.[16] The main tank was filled with 7,500,000 US gallons (28,400,000 L) of water, and the second with 2,500,000 US gallons (9,500,000 L). The cast and crew resided there for much of the shooting.

[edit] Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

After the success of The Terminator, there had always been talks about a sequel to continue the story of Sarah Connor and her struggle against machines from the future. Although Cameron had come up with a core idea for the sequel, and Schwarzenegger expressed interest in continuing the story, there were still problems regarding who had the rights to the story, as well as the logistics of the special effects needed to make the sequel. Finally, in late-1980s, Mario Kassar of Carolco Pictures secured the rights to the sequel, allowing Cameron to greenlight production of the film, now called Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
For the film, Linda Hamilton reprised her iconic role of Sarah Connor.[17] In addition, Schwarzenegger also returned in his role as The Terminator, but this time as a protector. Unlike the T-800, who is made of a metal endoskeleton, the new villain of the sequel, called the T-1000, was a more advanced Terminator made of liquid metal, and with polymorphic abilities. The T-1000 would also be much less bulky than the T-800. For the role, Cameron cast Robert Patrick, a sharp contrast to Schwarzenegger. Cameron explained, "I wanted someone who was extremely fast and agile. If the T-800 is a human Panzer tank, then the T-1000 is a Porsche."
Cameron had originally wanted to incorporate this advanced-model Terminator into the first film, but the special effects at the time were not advanced enough. The ground-breaking effects used in The Abyss to digitally depict the water tentacle convinced Cameron that his liquid metal villain was now possible.
TriStar Pictures agreed to distribute the film, but under a locked release date only about one year after the start of shooting. The movie, co-written by Cameron and his longtime friend, William Wisher, Jr., had to go from screenplay to finished film in just that amount of time. Like Cameron's previous film, it was one of the most expensive films of its era, with a budget of about $100 million. The biggest challenge of the movie was the special effects used in creating the T-1000. Nevertheless, the film was finished on time, and released to theaters on July 3, 1991.
Terminator 2, or T2, as it was abbreviated, broke box-office records (including the opening weekend record for an R-rated film), earning over $200 million in the United States and Canada, and over $300 million in other territories, and became the highest-grossing film of that year. It won four Academy Awards: Best Makeup, Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing, and Best Visual Effects. It was also nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing, but lost both Awards to JFK.
James Cameron announced a third Terminator film many times during the 1990s, but without coming out with any finished scripts. Kassar and Vajna purchased the rights to the Terminator franchise from a bankruptcy sale of Carolco's assets.[18] Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was eventually made and released in July 2003 without Cameron's involvement. Jonathan Mostow directed the film and Schwarzenegger returned as the Terminator.
Cameron reunited with the main cast of Terminator 2 to film T2 3-D: Battle Across Time, an attraction at Universal Studios Florida, Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Japan. It was released in 1996 and was a mini-sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The show is in two parts: a prequel segment in which a spokesperson talks about Cyberdyne, and a main feature, in which the performers interact with a 3-D movie.

[edit] True Lies (1994)

Before the release of T2, Schwarzenegger came to Cameron with the idea of making a remake of the French comedy La Totale! Titled True Lies, with filming beginning after T2's release, the story revolves around a secret-agent spy who leads a double life as a married man, whose wife believes he is a computer salesman. Schwarzenegger was cast as Harry Tasker, a spy charged with stopping a plan by a terrorist to use nuclear weapons against the United States. Jamie Lee Curtis and Eliza Dushku played the character's family, and Tom Arnold the sidekick.
Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment signed on with Twentieth Century Fox for production of True Lies. Made on a budget of $115 million and released in 1994, the film earned $146 million in North America, and $232 million abroad. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects.

[edit] Titanic (1997)

Cameron expressed interest in the famous sinking of the ship RMS Titanic. He decided to script and film his next project based on this event. The picture revolved around a fictional romance story between two young lovers from different social classes who meet onboard the ship's maiden voyage. Before production began, he took dives to the bottom of the Atlantic and shot actual footage of the ship underwater, which he inserted into the final film.
For the film Titanic, Cameron cast Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, and Billy Zane. Cameron's budget for the film reached about $200 million, making it the most expensive movie ever made at the time. Before its release, the film was widely ridiculed for its expense and protracted production schedule.
Released to theaters on December 19, 1997, Titanic grossed less in its first weekend ($28.6 million) than in its second, ($35.4 million), an increase of 23.8%. This is unheard of for a widely released film, which is a testament to the movie's appeal. This was especially noteworthy, considering that the film's running time of more than three hours limited the number of showings each theater could schedule. It held the No. 1 spot on the box-office charts for months, eventually grossing a total of over $600 million in the United States and Canada and more than $1.8 billion worldwide. Titanic became the highest-grossing film ever made, until Cameron's 2009 film Avatar. The CG visuals surrounding the sinking and destruction of the ship were considered spectacular.[19] Despite criticism during production of the film, it received a record-tying 14 Oscar nominations (tied with All About Eve) at the 1998 Academy Awards. It won 11 Oscars (also record-tying with Ben-Hur and later The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King), including Best Picture, Editing, Sound, Special Effects, Music and Score, and the Best Director award for Cameron.[20] Upon receiving the award, Cameron exclaimed, "I'm king of the world!", in reference to one of the main characters' lines from the film. In March 2010, Cameron revealed that Titanic will be re-released in 3D in April 2012, in order to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the actual ship.[21]

[edit] Spider-Man and Dark Angel (2000–2002)

Cameron had initially next planned to do a film of the comic book character Spider-Man, a project developed by Menahem Golan of Cannon Films. Columbia hired David Koepp to adapt Cameron's treatment into a screenplay, and Koepp's first draft is taken often word-for-word from Cameron's story,[citation needed] though later drafts were heavily rewritten by Koepp himself, Scott Rosenberg, Alvin Sargent, and (allegedly)[by whom?] Ivan Raimi, brother of director Sam Raimi. Columbia preferred to credit David Koepp solely, and none of the scripts before or after his were ever examined by the Writers Guild of America, East to determine proper credit attribution.[citation needed] Cameron and other writers objected, but Columbia and the WGA prevailed. In its release in 2002, Spider-Man had its screenplay credited solely to Koepp.[22]
Unable to make Spider-Man, Cameron moved to television and created Dark Angel, a superheroine-centered series influenced by cyberpunk, biopunk, contemporary superhero franchises, and third-wave feminism. Co-produced with Charles H. Eglee, Dark Angel starred Jessica Alba as Max Guevara, a genetically enhanced transgenic super-soldier created by a secretive organization. Cameron's work was said to "bring empowered female warriors back to television screens[...] by mixing the sober feminism of his The Terminator and Aliens characters with the sexed-up Girl Power of a Britney Spears concert."[23] While a success in its first season, low ratings in the second led to its cancellation. Cameron himself directed the series finale, a two-hour episode wrapping up many of the series' loose ends.

[edit] Documentaries (2002–2009)

Cameron's recent projects have included undersea documentaries on the Bismarck (Expedition: Bismarck, 2002) and the Titanic (Ghosts of the Abyss (2003, in IMAX 3D) and Tony Robinson's Titanic Adventure (2005).[24] He was a producer on the 2002 film Solaris, and narrated The Exodus Decoded.

Cameron in September 2007
Cameron is a leading advocate for stereoscopic digital 3-D films. In a 2003 interview about his IMAX 3D documentary Ghosts of the Abyss, he mentioned that he is "going to do everything in 3D now".[25] He has made similar statements in other interviews. Ghosts of the Abyss and Aliens of the Deep (also an IMAX documentary) were both shot in 3-D and released by Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media, and Cameron did the same for his new project, Avatar for 20th Century Fox & Sony Pictures' Columbia Pictures. He intends to use the same technology for The Dive, Sanctum and an adaptation of the manga series Battle Angel Alita.
Cameron was a co-founder and former CEO of Digital Domain, a visual effects production and technology company.
In addition, he plans to create a 3-D project about the first trip to Mars. ("I've been very interested in the Humans to Mars movement—the 'Mars Underground'—and I've done a tremendous amount of personal research for a novel, a miniseries, and a 3-D film.")[26] He is on the science team for the 2011 Mars Science Laboratory.[27]
Cameron announced on February 26, 2007, that he, along with his director, Simcha Jacobovici, have documented the unearthing of the Talpiot Tomb, which is alleged to be the tomb of Jesus. Unearthed in 1980 by Israeli construction workers, the names on the tomb are claimed, by Cameron, to correlate with the names of Jesus and several individuals closely associated with him. Cameron further claims to have DNA tests, archaeological evidence, and Biblical studies to back up his claim.[28] The documentary, named The Lost Tomb of Jesus, was broadcast on the Discovery Channel on March 4, 2007.

[edit] Avatar (2009)

Cameron promoting Avatar during the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con
In June 2005, Cameron was announced to be working on a project tentatively titled "Project 880" (now known to be Avatar) in parallel with another project, Battle Angel.[29] Both movies were to be shot in 3D. By December, Cameron stated that he wanted to film Battle Angel first, followed by Avatar. However in February 2006, he switched goals for the two film projects and decided to film Avatar first. He mentioned that if both films are successful, he would be interested in seeing a trilogy being made for both.[30]
Avatar had an estimated budget of over $300 million and was released on December 18, 2009.[31] This marked his first feature film since 1997's Titanic .[32] It is composed almost entirely of computer-generated animation, using a more advanced version of the "performance capture" technique used by director Robert Zemeckis in The Polar Express.[33] James Cameron wrote an 80 page scriptment for Avatar in 1995[34] and announced in 1996 that he would make the film after completing Titanic. In December 2006, Cameron explained that the delay in producing the film since the 1990s had been to wait until the technology necessary to create his project was advanced enough.[35] The film was originally scheduled to be released in May 2009 but was pushed back to December 2009 to allow more time for post production on the complex CGI and to give more time for theatres worldwide to install 3D projectors.[36] Cameron originally intended Avatar to be 3D-only.[37] The film went on to break the record for highest-grossing film ever, beating Cameron's previous film Titanic.[38] Avatar also became the first movie to ever earn more than $2 billion worldwide. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director,[39] and won three for Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects and Best Art Direction. Cameron lost the award for Best Director to his ex-wife, Kathryn Bigelow, who also took Best Picture with her film The Hurt Locker.

[edit] Awards

Cameron receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in December 2009
Cameron received the Bradbury Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 1991—but, being primarily thought of as a genre filmmaker, he did not receive any major mainstream filmmaking awards prior to Titanic. With Titanic, Cameron received Academy Awards for Best Film Editing (shared with Conrad Buff and Richard A. Harris), Best Picture (shared with Jon Landau), and Best Director. He also won a Golden Globe Award for best director for the film.
In recognition of "a distinguished career as a Canadian filmmaker", Carleton University, Ottawa, awarded Cameron the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts on June 13, 1998. Cameron accepted the degree in person and gave the Convocation Address.[citation needed]
He also received an honorary doctorate in October, 1998 from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, for his accomplishments in the international film industry.
In 1998, Cameron attended convocation to receive an honorary doctorate of Laws from Ryerson University, Toronto. The university awards its highest honor to those who have made extraordinary contributions in Canada, or internationally.
In 1999, Cameron received the honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree[40] from California State University, Fullerton, where he had been a student in the 1970s. He received the degree at the university's annual Commencement exercises that year, where he gave the keynote speech.
In recognition of his contributions to underwater filming and remote vehicle technology, the University of Southampton awarded Cameron the honorary degree of Doctor of the University. Cameron received his degree in person at the graduation ceremony in July, 2004.[citation needed]
On June 3, 2008, it was announced that he would be inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame.[41] On December 18, 2009, the same day Avatar was released worldwide, Cameron received the 2,396th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[42]
On February 28, 2010 James Cameron was honored with a Visual Effects Society (VES) Lifetime Achievement Award.
With Avatar, Cameron has been nominated for three Academy Awards for Best Picture (shared with Jon Landau), Best Director and Best Film Editing (shared with John Refoua and Stephen E. Rivkin) and received the Golden Globe for Best Picture and Best Director.[43] Cameron and Avatar lost the Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture to Cameron's former wife[44] Kathryn Bigelow for her film, The Hurt Locker.
On September 24, 2010 James Cameron was named Number 1 in The 2010 Guardian Film Power 100 list.[45] In a list compiled by the British magazine New Statesman in September 2010, he was listed 30thin the list of "The World's 50 Most Influential Figures 2010".[46]

[edit] Awards by film

Year Film Role Notes
1981 Piranha II: The Spawning Director Nominated – Fantasporto International Fantasy Film Award Best Film
1984 The Terminator Director, Writer Saturn Award Best Writing
Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival Grand Prize
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Direction
1985 Rambo: First Blood Part II Writer Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay
1986 Aliens Director, Writer Saturn Award for Best Direction
Saturn Award Best Writing
Kinema Junpo Awards Best Foreign Language Film
Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation
1989 The Abyss Director, Writer Saturn Award for Best Direction
Nominated – Saturn Award Best Writing
Nominated – Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation
1991 Terminator 2: Judgment Day Director, Writer and Producer Saturn Award for Best Direction
Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film
Mainichi Film Award Best Foreign Language Film
Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Bradbury Award
Nominated – Saturn Award Best Writing
1994 True Lies Director, Writer and Producer Saturn Award for Best Direction
1995 Strange Days Writer and Producer Nominated – Saturn Award Best Writing
1997 Titanic Director/Writer/Producer/Editor Academy Award for Best Director
Academy Award for Best Picture
Academy Award for Best Film Editing
Amanda Award Best Foreign Film
Eddie Award Best Edited Feature Film
Blue Ribbon Award Best Foreign Language Film
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Empire Award for Best Film
Florida Film Critics Circle Award Best Film
Golden Globe Award for Best Director
Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama
Hochi Film Award Best Foreign Language Film
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award Best Director
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award Best Film
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Director
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Picture
Mainichi Film Award Best Foreign Language Film
National Board of Review Award Special Citation For the use of special effects technology
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Director
Producers Guild of America Motion Picture Producer of the Year Award
Satellite Award for Best Director
Satellite Award for Best Editing
Satellite Award for Best Film – Drama
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Direction
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Film
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Editing
Nominated – Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Film
Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Film
Nominated – César Award Best Foreign Language Film
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated – London Film Critics Circle Award for Director of the Year
Nominated – Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Picture
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated – Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay
2003 Ghosts of the Abyss Director/Producer Nominated – Broadcast Film Critics Association Award Best Documentary
2005 Aliens of the Deep Director/Producer/Cinematographer
2009 Avatar Director/Writer/Producer/Editor Golden Globe Award for Best Director
Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama
Empire Award for Best Director
Empire Award for Best Film
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award Best Editing
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award Best Action Movie
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Editing
Saturn Award for Best Direction
Saturn Award for Best Writing
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Director
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Picture
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Film Editing
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Direction
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Film
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Editing
Nominated – Eddie Award Best Edited Feature Film
Nominated – Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Nominated – César Award Best Foreign Language Film
Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Nominated – Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures
Nominated – IOMA Award Best Director
Nominated – IOMA Award Best Film
Nominated – London Film Critics Circle Award for Director of the Year
Nominated – Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Director
Nominated – Producers Guild of America Motion Picture Producer of the Year Award
Nominated – Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay

[edit] Casting

Cameron often casts certain actors more than once in his films. Cameron has consistently worked with Bill Paxton (who also narrated Ghosts of the Abyss), Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen (who also narrated Expedition: Bismarck), Jenette Goldstein and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Actor Xenogenesis (1978) Piranha II: The Spawning (1981) The Terminator (1984) Aliens (1986) The Abyss (1989) Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) True Lies (1994) Titanic (1997) Avatar (2009)
Bill Paxton

YesY YesY

YesY YesY
Michael Biehn

YesY YesY YesY YesY1

Linda Hamilton



Lance Henriksen
YesY YesY YesY

William Wisher, Jr. YesY
YesY YesY

Jenette Goldstein

Arnold Schwarzenegger


YesY YesY

Sigourney Weaver


Earl Boen



1 His reprised role of Reese was cut from the theatrical release, but restored in the DVD's Special Edition Version.

[edit] Recurring themes

Throughout Cameron's career, several of his films have had recurring themes and subtexts. These include: the prospects of nuclear holocaust (the Skynet takeover scenario from both Terminator films),[47] attempts to reconcile humanity with technology (as seen in Aliens and Terminator 2: Judgment Day), humanity repeating the same mistakes,[48] the dangers of corporate greed,[49] strong female characters (Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley being the most famous),[50] a strong romance subplot,[51] anti-corporation (Aliens, Avatar), anti-military (The Abyss, Avatar), and an undercurrent of feminism. This was also present with Jamie Lee Curtis's character in True Lies and Kate Winslet's role in Titanic, in which she served as the main protagonist and narrator.
While The Abyss dealt with deep sea exploration (shot on a studio set),[52] Cameron himself became an expert in the field of deep sea wreckage exploration exploring the wreckage of Titanic and Bismarck.[53] Cameron will return to this theme with The Dive (see Projects), shooting from a minisub.[54]
So important is technology in Cameron's films that he waited years for the technical tools of the craft to advance sufficiently to realize his vision for Avatar, for which he had special 3-D cameras developed.[55]

[edit] Filmography

James Cameron is an award-winning Canadian film director, writer, producer and special effects artist. He has contributed to many projects as either the writer, director, producer, or a combination of the three.
Cameron's first film was the 1978 science fiction short film Xenogenesis, which he directed, wrote and produced. Cameron's films have grossed a total of over $7 billion worldwide.
In addition to works of fiction, Cameron has directed and appeared in several documentaries including Ghosts of the Abyss and Aliens of the Deep. He also contributed to a number of television series including Dark Angel and Entourage.

[edit] Personal life

Cameron has been married five times, to Sharon Williams (1978–1984), Gale Anne Hurd (1985–1989), Kathryn Bigelow (1989–1991), Linda Hamilton (1997–1999, one daughter) and Suzy Amis (since 2000, one son, two daughters). Hurd was the producer of Cameron's The Terminator, Aliens, and The Abyss, and the executive producer of Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Amis played the part of Lizzy Calvert, Rose's granddaughter, in Titanic. Hamilton played the role of Sarah Connor in both Terminator films. Both Cameron (Avatar) and Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) were nominated for the Oscar, Golden Globe, and BAFTA Award for Best Director for films released in 2009. Cameron won the Golden Globe, whilst Bigelow won the Oscar and the BAFTA for Best Director, becoming the first woman to win either.
Cameron is a member of the NASA Advisory Council and is working on the project to put cameras on an upcoming manned Mars mission.[56] He is also a member of the Mars Society, a non-profit advocacy organization lobbying for the human colonization of Mars.[citation needed]
In June 2010, Cameron met in Washington with the EPA to discuss possible solutions to the 2010 BP oil spill. Later that week at the All Things Digital Conference, he attracted some notoriety when he stated, "Over the last few weeks I've watched...and [been] thinking, 'Those morons don't know what they're doing'." Reportedly, Cameron had offered BP help to plug the oil well, but they declined.[57] The oil spill was eventually stopped using techniques similar to what Cameron recommended.[58]
Although Cameron has lived his entire adult life in the United States, he remains a Canadian citizen. Cameron applied for American citizenship but withdrew his application after George W. Bush won the presidential election in 2004.[59]
Cameron is atheist,[60][61] and once as a child he described the Lord's Prayer as being a 'tribal chant'.[62][63]
Cameron lives in Malibu, California with his wife.[64]

[edit] Perceptions by colleagues

Cameron has been labeled by one collaborator, author Orson Scott Card, as selfish and cruel. When asked about working with Cameron on the novelization of The Abyss, Card said the experience was "hell on wheels. He was very nice to me, because I could afford to walk away. But he made everyone around him miserable, and his unkindness did nothing to improve the film in any way. Nor did it motivate people to work faster or better. And unless he changes his way of working with people, I hope he never directs anything of mine."[65]
After working with Cameron on the set of Titanic, Kate Winslet decided she would not work with Cameron again unless she earned "a lot of money." She admitted Cameron was a nice man, but felt he had too much of a temper.[66] In an editorial, the British newspaper The Independent said that Cameron "is a nightmare to work with. Studios have come to fear his habit of straying way over schedule and over budget. He is notorious on set for his uncompromising and dictatorial manner, as well as his flaming temper.".[66] Her co-star, Leonardo DiCaprio, said "Jim knows exactly what he wants. Needless to say, when somebody felt a different way on the set of Titanic, there was a confrontation, Jim had it out with them right there in front of everybody. He lets you know exactly how he feels. But he's of the lineage of John Ford. He knows what he wants his film to be. I remember sitting in a theater after it was done and being in awe. He got what he wanted."[67]
Sam Worthington, the latest lead actor to work with Cameron, stated on the Jay Leno Show that Cameron had very high expectations from everyone, and would often use a nail gun to nail the film crew's cell phones to a wall above an exit door in retaliation to unwanted ringing during production.[68] During the promotion for Avatar, Cameron stated on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that although he doubts anyone would describe him as a mellow person, he is at least mellower than he was before.[69]
Other actors, such as Bill Paxton and Sigourney Weaver, have praised Cameron's perfectionist work ethic. Weaver said of Cameron: "He really does want us to risk our lives and limbs for the shot, but he doesn't mind risking his own."[70]

[edit] Appearances in media

  • Entourage – Cameron appeared as himself. In the series' storyline, he is the director of a film based on the superhero Aquaman. Cameron's involvement in the project attracted protagonist Vincent Chase to the title role.
  • The Muse
  • Saturday Night Live – In the episode where Sigourney Weaver hosted, Cameron appears as himself in an SNL Digital Short in which he presents Lorne Michaels with an idea for a new film that, much to Michaels' dismay, is a sequel to Laser Cats 4, Laser Cats 5 (starring Weaver), parodying Terminator, Aliens, Titanic, and Avatar. Cameron also appeared as himself when his longtime friend Bill Paxton hosted the show.
  • Your Studio and You - Cameron appears in the short, gardening the Universal studio landscape.

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