James Cameron

Biography

Date of Birth 16 August 1954, Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada Birth Name James Francis Cameron Nickname Iron Jim Height 6' 2" (1.88 m) Mini Biography James Cameron was born in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada, on August 16, 1954. He moved to the USA in 1971. The son of an engineer, he majored in physics at California State University but, after graduating, drove a truck to support his screen-writing ambition. He landed his first professional film job as art director, miniature-set builder, and process-projection supervisor on Roger Corman's Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) and debuted as a director with Piranha Part Two: The Spawning (1981) the following year. In 1984, he wrote and directed The Terminator (1984), a futuristic action-thriller starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, and Linda Hamilton. It was a huge success. After this came a string of successful science-fiction action films such as Aliens (1986) and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). Cameron is now one of the most sought-after directors in Hollywood. He was formerly married to producer Gale Anne Hurd, who produced several of his films. He married Kathryn Bigelow in 1989. Spouse Suzy Amis (4 June 2000 - present) 3 children Linda Hamilton (26 July 1997 - 1999) (divorced) 1 child Kathryn Bigelow (17 August 1989 - 1991) (divorced) Gale Anne Hurd (1985 - 1989) (divorced) Sharon Williams (14 February 1978 - 1984) (divorced) Trade Mark Strong female characters. Frequently casts Michael Biehn, Jenette Goldstein, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. His films frequently feature scenes filmed in deep blues. Plots or events involving nuclear explosions or wars Likes to make nice/effective cuts Likes to show close-up shots of feet or wheels, often trampling things Tight/close-up tracking shots on vehicles, especially during chase scenes. Brings camera in close during fight scenes, achieving a claustrophic effect. Cameron's films tend to include broken, swinging flourescent lights, especially in fight scenes. See: The Abyss (1989), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), True Lies (1994), and Strange Days (1995). Often includes sequences in which a video monitor is the perspective of the camera. For example, the T-800's viewpoint in infrared in The Terminator (1984) and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), the helmet cameras in Aliens (1986), Little Geek exploring the submarine in The Abyss (1989), television newscasts in The Abyss (1989), the surveilance cameras in True Lies (1994), and the SQUID sequences in Strange Days (1995) and Brock's "Geraldo Moment" at the beginning of _Titanic (1997). He uses this perspective at least once in every movie he is tied with. Often features shots of large explosions, crashes, gunshots, etc. in the background with people running away in the foreground. These shots were used heavily in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) and True Lies (1994) but also in other films. [Dreams] Often works dreams or characters sleeping into the plot. His films tend to have scenes with elevators with something dangerous happening near or in them. In Aliens (1986), Ripley goes up and down a cargo elevator several times, exiting the complex and then going back while loading weapons to get Newt and then leaving with the Queen Alien following. The Queen Alien rides the elevator to follow Ripley. In Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Sara sees the T-800 for the first time exiting an elevator. The T-1000 is shot from outside the elevator and then attacks Sara, John and the T-800 above it. In another scene, Sara, John and the T-800 crash in an elevator after an explosion on a higher floor. They are then gassed by the SWAT team at the bottom. In True Lies (1994), Harry enters an elevator on a horse in pursuit of a terrorist in the opposite elevator on a motorcycle. In Titanic (1997), Rose goes up an elevator with Jack to escape her fiancé. In another scene, Rose goes down an elevator to a flooded floor, filling it with water. Utilizes slow motion in intense scenes or to intensify a scene Trivia Daughter, with Hamilton, Josephine Archer Cameron born. [15 February 1993] Brother of Mike Cameron. According to Cameron, he got his big break while doing pick-up shots for Galaxy of Terror (1981) as 2nd unit director. He was shooting scenes of a dismembered arm teeming with maggots (actually mealworms). In order to make them move, he hooked up an AC power cord to the arm, and an unseen assistant would plug it in when the film was rolling. Two producers were strolling through, and when Cameron yelled "Action!" the worms began to writhe on cue. When he yelled "Cut!" the worms stopped. The producers were so amazed at his directing prowess that they began talking with him about bigger projects. His production company is 'Lightstorm Entertainment'. One of the founders of visual effects company 'Digital Domain'. While editing Titanic (1997) Cameron had a razor blade taped to the side of the editing computer with the instructions written underneath: "Use only if film sucks!" Jokingly refers to Titanic (1997) as his 190 Million Dollar "Chick Flick". First director to film both a $100 million (_Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)_) and a $200 million (Titanic (1997)) movie. Cameron is in talks with RKK Energia and MirCorp to pay his way on board the Mir space station (or the ISS, should Mir be deorbited). He has been given the medical green light, and has already ridden aboard the Ilushin-76 jet used to train cosmonauts for space missions. [September 2000] Daughter Claire, with wife Suzy Amis, born. [4 April 2001] Has a stepdaughter, Lolita De Palma, from Gale Anne Hurd's marriage to Brian De Palma. Has a stepson named Jasper, from Suzy Amis' marriage to Sam Robards. Lost a plagiarism lawsuit brought by Harlan Ellison involving the movie The Terminator (1984). Newer prints of the film acknowledge Ellison. Went to elementary school in Chippawa, Ontario. His films frequently depict children in some kind of danger. First wife Sharon Williams got just $1,200 from Cameron in their divorce settlement. The eldest of five children. Security is provided by Gavin De Becker, author of "The Gift of Fear." He and Suzy Amis are owners of Childspot!, an early childhood center in Wichita, Kansas which is operated by Suzy's sister, Rebecca Amis. Wrote a screenplay for Spider-Man (2002) movie, but was turned down by the studios, due to the fact that his version of Spider-Man was "too violent". Sam Raimi's version got the green light instead. Married one of his producers and two of his actresses. Has made 4 films involving water: The Abyss (1989), Titanic (1997), Expedition: Bismarck (2002) (TV), and Ghosts of the Abyss (2003). His _Untitled James Cameron Project (2007)_ will be his 5th movie involving water. His practice of testing his DPs by darkening the film originated on Aliens (1986). Cameron wanted to use a particular type of film stock, but cinematographer Dick Bush ignored him and used a different type. The end result being that the footage shot ended up being unusably dark. After Bush was fired due to an unrelated incident and Adrian Biddle took over, Cameron found some of the film in a storage cupboard and had the camera operators use it instead of the film Biddle had told them to use. Biddle noticed what was going on after the first take, and compensated with extra lighting, hoping to hide his "mistake" from Cameron, who owned up at the end of the day. Cameron later did the same to Mikael Salomon on The Abyss (1989) and to Russell Carpenter on True Lies (1994). He is a huge Japanese anime fan, and the releasing studios often uses his opinion about the film on the DVD and VHS covers. On the 14 March 2004 episode of "Inside the Actors Studio" (1994), Kate Winslet claimed her nude portrait for Leonardo DiCaprio in the Titanic (1997) was drawn by Cameron. She also said the artist's hand shown in a close-up was Cameron's. The mandibles of the Predator from Predator (1987) were his idea. One of only two people to have both written and directed an Alien movie. The other is Paul W.S. Anderson. Co-created the newly high-definition video system with cinematographer Vince Pace that was recently used to film Ghosts of the Abyss (2003). Got the nickname "Iron Jim" because of his stern, stubborn ways as a director. A magazine article written about him in the 1980s described how he had three desks set up in his house. At one desk, he was writing the script to The Terminator (1984), on another, he was finishing the script to Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) and on the third, he was writing Aliens (1986). Often uses a helicopter in his films. When he wrote an early script treatment for Spider-Man (2002), he had the idea of organic web-shooters. This was later included in Sam Raimi's film. Often employs composers Brad Fiedel and James Horner to score his films. He has developed a new generation stereo imaging camera called "The Fusion Camera" The titles of his two current theatrical documentaries contain the titles of two of his previous films; the title of his documentary "Ghosts of the Abyss" contains the title of his previous film "The Abyss", and the title of his other documentary "Aliens of the Deep" contains the title of another one of his previous films, "Aliens". Member of the American Cinema Editors (ACE). The October 1987 draft of the screenplay for Alien Nation (1988) credits a rewrite to James Cameron. He is not credited in the final film. Drew the picture of Rose (Kate Winslet) in the movie, _Titanic_. The image was flipped so it would appear that Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) was drawing it with his right hand. Was interested in remaking Planet of the Apes (1968), but his script was turned down. Another script was then developed and eventually made by Tim Burton in 2001. Had daughter, Elizabeth Rose, with Suzi Amis born on 29 December 2006. Considered directing "Solaris" (2002) but opted to produce instead. Job went to Steven Soderbergh. The titles of his movies tend to begin with the letters "T" or "A". The Terminator (1984), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), True Lies (1994) and Titanic (1997) all begin with a "T". While Aliens (1986), The Abyss (1989) begin with an "A" - and the upcoming Avatar (2009) also begins with an "A". 2007- Ranked #3 on EW's The 50 Smartest People in Hollywood. Personal Quotes "People call me a perfectionist, but I'm not. I'm a rightist. I do something until it's right, and then I move on to the next thing." ...you can read all the books about film-making, all the articles in American Cinematographer and that sort of thing, but you have to really see how it works on a day-to-day basis, and how to pace your energy so that you can survive the film, which was a lesson that took me a long time to learn. I was petrified at the start of Terminator. First of all, I was working with a star, at least I thought of him as a star at the time. Arnold came out of it even more a star. I went from driving a truck to becoming a movie director, with a little time working with Roger Corman in between. When I wrote The Terminator, I sold the rights at that time - that was my shot to get the film made. So I've never owned the rights in the time that the franchise has been developed. I was fortunate enough to get a chance to direct the second film and do so on my own creative terms, which was good. But that was in 1991 and I've felt like it was time to move on. The primary reason for making a third one was financial, and that didn't strike me as organic enough a reason to be making a film. Well, I see our potential destruction and the potential salvation as human beings coming from technology and how we use it, how we master it and how we prevent it from mastering us. Titanic was as much about that theme as the Terminator films, and in Aliens, it's the reliance on technology that defeats the marines, but it's technology being used properly that allows Sigourney's character to prevail at the end. And Titanic is all about technology, metaphorically as well as on a literal level, because the world was being transformed by the technology at that time. And people were rescued from the Titanic because of wireless technology, and because of the advances that had been made only in the year or so before the ship sank that allowed them to call for help when they were lost at sea in the middle of the North Atlantic. So I think it's an interesting theme, one that's always been fascinating for me... A director's job is to make something happen and it doesn't happen by itself. So you wheedle, you cajole, you flatter people, you tell them what needs to be done. And if you don't bring a passion and an intensity to it, you shouldn't be doing it. [on using newly developed 3D cameras, and traditional film] "If I never touch film again, I'd be happy. Filmmaking is not about film, not about sprockets. It's about ideas, it's about images, it's about imagination, it's about storytelling. If I had the cameras I'm using now when I was shooting Titanic (1997), I would have shot it using them." "As much as I love Star Wars (1977) and as much as it's really revolutionized the imaging business, it went off the rails in the sense that science fiction, historically, was a science fiction of ideas. It was thematic fiction. It stopped being that and became just pure eye candy and pure entertainment. And I miss that. With Battle Angel (2007) I'm going to flirt with that darker, dystopian message as much as I can, without making it an art film." [On the future of 3D] "With digital 3D projection, we will be entering a new age of cinema. Audiences will be seeing something which was never technically possible before the age of digital cinema - a stunning visual experience which 'turbocharges' the viewing of the biggest, must-see movies. The biggest action, visual effects and fantasy movies will soon be shot in 3D. And all-CG animated films can easily be converted to 3D, without additional cost if it is done as they are made. Soon audiences will associate 3D with the highest level of visual content in the market, and seek out that premium experience." [Talking about the appeal of the Terminator]: "It's fun to fantasize being a guy who can do whatever he wants. This Terminator guy is indestructible. He can be as rude as he wants. He can walk through a door, go through a plate-glass window and just get up, brush off impacts from bullets. It's like the dark side of Superman, in a sense. I think it has a great cathartic value to people who wish they could just splinter open the door to their boss's office, walk in, break his desk in half, grab him by the throat and throw him out the window and get away with it. Everybody has that little demon that wants to be able to do whatever it wants, the bad kid that never gets punished." [About dropping several sequences from the finished film of the Terminator]: "We had to cut scenes I was in love with in order to save money." [About the budget for the original Terminator]: "They were extremely hesitant about going over $4 million. We convinced them this movie could not be made for less than $6 million, especially with Arnold Schwarzenegger starring, because he commanded a significant salary; the final shooting budget was actually $6.5 million." "The only compelling reason for me to have done that film was a sense of pride of authorship. "Well, dammit, I did the first one and I did the second one and it's my creation and I should do the third one." But ultimately, that's a stupid reason to spend a year, year and a half of your life in hell to make a big movie. I'd rather spend a year of my life in hell to make something new, which is what I will be doing." - [about his reason to decline Terminator 3] "So, what I said was, "If they come up with a decent script that you (Arnold Schwarzenegger) like and you think you can play, do something cool, and they pay you an awful lot of money, you should just go do it. Don't feel like you're betraying me or anything else."" - [about his view on Arnold Schwarzenegger for doing Terminator 3] "I guess Titanic because it made the most money. No, I'm kidding. I don't really have a favorite. Maybe Terminator because that was the film that was the first one back when I was essentially a truck driver." - [about his favorite movie he directed] "That was the purest experience, even though it was the cheapest one and the cheesiest looking one." - [about 'The Terminator' (1984)] "I've always enjoyed it when it was John Woo in his Hong Kong days like Hard Boiled, but I think it's overused now." - [on Hong Kong film making styles] "I don't look at scripts. I just write them." "Basically because I had told the story. To make Terminator 3 was to make a 3." - [about his reason to decline Terminator 3] "It just never really gelled and then the September 11th attacks happened and the idea of a domestic comedy adventure film about an anti-terrorism unit just didn't seem all that funny to me anymore." - [about his reason to decline True Lies 2] "So, Spider-Man was obviously good casting for him (Sam Raimi). I mean, he was good casting to do Spider-Man. Would I have done it differently? Yeah, absolutely. It would've been a very different film, but that's the film you've never seen. I've seen it." - [on Sam Raimi's Spiderman] "Of the three that we're planning, it's a question of the order, one's historical and two are science fiction. None are ocean." - [about his future projects] [When he was the new hot screenwriter in the mid-1980s] "I haven't paid for lunch in two weeks." [When interviewer asks if he thought he had a hit on his hands] "We had been dragged across a cheese grater, face down, for two solid years, and we thought we had the biggest money-losing film in history. Then we had our first preview screening in Minneapolis, and there was a woman sitting behind me - I had no idea who she was: a Minneapolis housewife, maybe - who narrated the entire film. She was like a Pez dispenser: everything just popped out of her mouth. I just kind of leant my chair back so I could hear what she was saying. I remember distinctly the moment when Jack and Rose are shaking hands when they are about to part, and Rose is saying, 'You're very presumptuous,' and the woman sitting behind me is saying, 'Yes, but you're not letting go of his hand, are you?' That was the moment when I knew the movie was communicating exactly the way it was meant to." [on how he came up with the idea of "The Terminator"] "I would see these images of a metallic death figure rising Phoenix-like out of fire, I woke up and grabbed a pencil and paper and started writing. When I originally got the idea for Terminator, I was sick, I was broke, I was in Rome, I had no way to get home and I could barely speak the language. I was surrounded by people I could not get help from. I felt very alienated and so it was very easy for me to imagine a machine with a gun. At the point of the greatest alienation in my life, it was easy to create the character." [on Robert Patrick's casting as the T-1000 in 'Terminator 2: Judgement Day'] "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." [on Sigourney Weaver] I like her very much. She's just a natural. Not too exotic. Very hard-nosed, intelligent. And flawed too, in the sense she is flawed by emotion. People root for her in "Alien" because she's so often coming up with the logical solution to some problem and then it just won't work. Salary Titanic (1997) $115,000,000 ($600k for screenplay + $8m salary + backend participation)

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Birth Name

James Francis Cameron

Birth Place

Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canadá

Birth Date

8/16/1954
Known For
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Deepsea Challenge 3D

Himself

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James Cameron's Expedition - Bismarck

Himself

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Aliens: Enhancement Pods

Self

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The Exodus Decoded (History Channel)

Narrator

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Eating You Alive

Himself

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Atlantis Rising

Self

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Mission Blue

Self

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Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron

Himself / Narrator

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Jamie Lee Curtis - Schrei nach Freiheit in Hollywood

Self (archive footage)

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Side By Side

Himself

Starring In
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Jamie Lee Curtis - Schrei nach Freiheit in Hollywood

Self (archive footage)

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Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy

Self

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Eating You Alive

Himself

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Atlantis Rising

Self

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Score: A Film Music Documentary

Himself

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Mission Blue

Self

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Deepsea Challenge 3D

Himself

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Saving Christmas

Partygoer

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Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron

Himself / Narrator

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Side By Side

Himself

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Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan

Himself - Director of Terminator & Avata

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Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy

Self (archive footage) (uncredited)

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Aliens: Enhancement Pods

Self

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The Exodus Decoded (History Channel)

Narrator

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Aliens of the Deep

Himself

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The Cutting Edge - The Magic of Movie Editing

Himself

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Ghosts of the Abyss

Himself

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The Alien Saga

Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

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James Cameron's Expedition - Bismarck

Himself

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High Heels and Low Lifes

Reporter

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Duets

Karaoke singer (uncredited)

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The Muse

Himself

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Titanic

Steerage Dancer (uncredited)

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To the Galaxy and Beyond With Mark Hamill: A Century Of Science Fiction Cinema

Himself (archive footage)

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Under Pressure: Making 'the Abyss'

Self

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Stir

Kitchen Warder

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