James Cameron
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James Francis Cameron
Birth date
August 16, 1954
Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Notable Films
The Terminator, Aliens, Titanic, Avatar

James Francis Cameron (born August 16, 1954) is a Canadian film director, film producer, screenwriter, editor, environmentalist and inventor. He is noted for his action/science fiction films, which are often highly successful financially and innovatively. Thematically, James Cameron's films generally explore the relationship between man and technology. Cameron also directed the film Titanic, which went on to become the top-grossing film of all time, with a worldwide gross of over US$1.8 billion; he also created The Terminator franchise.

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 Dark Angel (2000–2002). In the time between making Titanic and his return to feature films with Avatar (2009), Cameron spent several years creating many documentary films (specifically underwater documentaries), and also co-developed the digital 3D Fusion Camera System. Described by a biographer as part-scientist and part-artist, Cameron has also contributed to underwater filming and remote vehicle technologies.

Background Edit

James Cameron was born in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Ontario, Canada, to Phillip, an electrical engineer, and Shirley Cameron, an artist. He grew up in Chippawa, Ontario, and in 1971 his family moved to Brea, California. There he studied physics at Cal State-Fullerton, but his passion for filmmaking would draw him to the film archive of UCLA at every opportunity. After seeing the film Star Wars, Cameron quit his job as a truck driver to enter the film industry. [1]

Early career Edit

He started in the film industry as a screenwriter, then moved into art direction and effects for films such as Battle Beyond the Stars and Escape from New York. Working with producer Roger Corman, Cameron landed his first directorial job in 1981 for the film Piranha II: The Spawning, shot at Grand Cayman Island for the underwater diving sequences, and in Rome, Italy for most of the interior scenes. He was originally hired as the special effects director (and his hand in story-writing can be suspected under the H. A. Milton pseudonym on the original script), and took over the direction when the original director left.

Accolades Edit

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 the Academy Awards for Best Editing (shared with Conrad Buff IV and Richard A. Harris), Best Picture (shared with John Landau), and Best Director.

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.

He has been nominated for six Academy Awards overall, and received half of them, three Oscars for Titanic. In total, Cameron's directorial efforts have grossed approximately US$2 billion in North America and US$6 billion worldwide. Without adjusting for inflation, Cameron's Titanic and Avatar are the two highest-grossing films of all time at over $2 billion and $2.78 billion respectively. In March 2011 he was named Hollywood's top earner by Vanity Fair, with estimated 2010 earnings of $257 million.

Recurring cast members Edit

Cameron often casts certain actors more than once in his films. Cameron has mostly worked with Bill Paxton in The Terminator, Aliens, True Lies, Titanic and Ghosts of the Abyss. Michael Biehn was also in The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss and a deleted scene from Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Lance Henriksen appeared in Piranha II: The Spawning, The Terminator, Aliens, and narrated Expedition: Bismarck. Jenette Goldstein appeared in Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Titanic. In addition to starring in the Terminator films, Arnold Schwarzenegger also starred in True Lies. In February 2007 Sigourney Weaver was cast for Cameron's upcoming film Avatar after having worked with him on Aliens as lead actress.

Filmography (Director) Edit

Year Title Genre Other notes Estimated Budget
1978 Xenogenesis Sci-Fi with Randall Frakes (co-director)
1981 Piranha II: The Spawning Horror
1984 The Terminator Sci-Fi / Action $ 6,400,000 USD
1986 Aliens Sci-Fi / Action $ 18,500,000 USD
1989 The Abyss Sci-Fi $ 41,000,000 USD
1991 Terminator 2: Judgment Day Sci-Fi / Action $ 100,000,000 USD
1994 True Lies Action $ 100,000,000 USD
1996 T2 3-D: Battle Across Time Sci-Fi / Action with John Bruno & Stan Winston (co-directors) $ 60,000,000 USD
1997 Titanic Disaster / Drama / Romance $ 200,000,000 USD
2000–2002 Dark Angel Television drama
2002 Expedition: Bismarck Documentarie
2003 Ghosts of the Abyss Documentary / 3-D
2005 Aliens of the Deep Documentary / 3-D
2007 Heart-Shaped Glasses (When the Heart Guides the Hand) Music video / 3-D pre-production with Marilyn Manson
2009 Avatar Sci-Fi / 3-D pre-production[2] $200,000,000 USD
TBA Battle Angel Sci-Fi / 3-D pre-production
TBA The Dive Drama

Filmography (Screenwriter) Edit

Year Title Genre Other notes
1978 Xenogenesis Sci-Fi with Randall Frakes (co-writer)
1984 The Terminator Sci-Fi with Gale Anne Hurd (co-writer)
1985 Rambo: First Blood Part II Action with Sylvester Stallone (co-writer)
1986 Aliens Sci-Fi
1989 The Abyss Sci-Fi
1991 Point Break Action / Drama with Kathryn Bigelow (co-writer)
1992 Terminator 2: Judgment Day Sci-Fi with William Wisher Jr. (co-writer)
1994 True Lies Action / Comedy
1995 Strange Days Sci-Fi / Drama with Jay Cocks (co-writer)
1996 T2 3-D: Battle Across Time Sci-Fi / Action with Gary Goddard & Adam J. Bezark (co-writers)
1997 Titanic Disaster / Drama / Romance
2000–2002 Dark Angel Television drama (pilots)
TBA 2008 James Cameron's Sanctum Drama / 3-D with John Garvin (co-writer)
2009 (tentative) Avatar Sci-Fi / 3-D
CBA Battle Angel Sci-Fi / 3-D

He also wrote early drafts of Spider-Man and X-Men and had input into Alien Nation. He is also credited with giving the Predator character the dreadlock-look, after sharing ideas with Stan Winston. His screenplay for A Crowded Room, a thriller about a person suffering from DID, eventually became a casualty of the long pre-production nightmare. A heavily-rewritten screenplay to The Crowded Room is currently being produced under the direction of Joel Schumacher.

Personal life Edit

Cameron has been married five times: Sharon Williams (1978-1984), Gale Anne Hurd (1985-1989), Kathryn Bigelow (1989-1991), Linda Hamilton (1997-1999, one daughter), Suzy Amis (2000-, one son, two daughters).He ended up canceling all dierections forward for this paticilar film because they had a gas leek in the studio.

He is also a member of the Mars Society.

He has been described 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. In fact, now that this is in print, I can fairly guarantee that he will never direct anything of mine. Life is too short to collaborate with selfish, cruel people."[3]

Cameron has a famously explosive temper. The (London) Independent compares him with the tyrannical Attila the Hun: "[T]he man is also, by all accounts, 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 - he's been called the film-making equivalent of Attila the Hun." [4]

Cameron Appearances Edit

Quotes Edit

  • "I think the most important thing if you're an aspiring film-maker is to get rid of the 'aspiring'... You shoot it, you put your name on it, you're a film-maker. Everything after that, you're just negotiating your budget."[5]
  • "I love working with 3-D cameras. I don't want to go back to shooting on film. I don't want to go back to shooting in 2-D" [6]

References Edit

  1. The Force Is With Them: The Legacy of Star Wars, 2004
  3. Author Chat Transcript, Barnes and Noble, August 31, 1999, [1]
  4. Andrew Gumbel, "The Return of James Cameron," The (London) Independent, Jan 11, 2007 [2]
  5. James Cameron Interview. The Guardian (2003-04-13). Retrieved on 2007-01-31.
  6. Jensen, Jeff (2007-01-10). Great expectations. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2007-01-31.

External links Edit

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