Cameron in December 2009
|Born||James Francis Cameron|
|Occupation||Film director, producer, editor, screenwriter, inventor|
|Net worth||US$ 37 billion|
|Spouse(s)||Sharon Williams (1978–1984)
Gale Anne Hurd (1985–1989)
Kathryn Bigelow (1989–1991)
Linda Hamilton (1997–1999)
Suzy Amis (2000–present)
James Francis Cameron (born August 16, 1954) is a Canadian film director, producer, screenwriter, editor, and inventor. His writing and directing work includes 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 some years creating documentary films, and also co-developing the digital 3-D Fusion Camera System. Described by a biographer as part-scientist and part-artist, Cameron has also contributed to underwater filming and remote vehicle technologies.
In total, Cameron's directorial efforts have grossed approximately US$1.75 billion in North America and US$4.91 billion worldwide, making him one of the highest-grossing directors of all time. Cameron's Avatar and Titanic are the two highest-grossing films ever made.
Cameron was born in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada, the son of Shirley, an artist and nurse, and Phillip Cameron, an electrical engineer. He grew up in Chippawa, Ontario and attended Stamford Collegiate in Niagara Falls, and his family moved to Brea, California in 1971. While studying physics and English at Fullerton College and California State University, Fullerton (see 'Awards' section below for honorary doctorate), Cameron used every opportunity to visit the film archive of the University of Southern California. To the surprise of many people, although Cameron had a large educational background in the natural sciences, he chose a philosophy major from Fullerton College in 1973. Cameron says of his time there that he was,
"completely self taught in 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…if they'd let me photocopy it, I would. If not, I'd make notes."
After dropping out, he worked several jobs such as truck driving and wrote when he had time. After seeing the original Star Wars film in 1977, Cameron quit his job as a truck driver to enter the film industry. When Cameron read Syd Field's book Screenplay, it occurred to him that integrating science and art were possible and he wrote a ten minute science fiction script with two friends, entitled Xenogenesis. They raised money and rented a camera, lenses, the film stocks, studio and shot it in 35 mm. 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.
As Cameron continued educating himself in techniques, he started as a miniature model maker at Roger Corman Studios. 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 his crew comprised primarily of Italians who spoke no English and the project was under-financed. 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 overbudget), 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. The main tank was filled with 7,500,000 US gallons (28,000,000 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.
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. In addition, Arnold 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. 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.
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 the secret spy, named Harry Tasker, whose mission in the movie is to investigate and stop a plan by a terrorist to use nuclear weapons against the United States. Jamie Lee Curtis played Schwarzenegger's onscreen wife, with Tom Arnold cast as the secret agent's 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.
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, and final, 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 opened with $28 million on its first weekend. The film's grosses escalated in the next several weeks. The picture grossed less in its first weekend, earning $28.6 million, than its second, raking in $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 theatre 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, (Adjusting for inflation, the film brought in the sixth-highest United States gross of all time), until Cameron's 2009 film Avatar. The CG visuals surrounding the sinking and destruction of the ship were considered spectacular. 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. Upon receiving the award, Cameron exclaimed, "I'm king of the world!", in reference to one of the main characters' lines from the film. James Cameron revealed that Titanic will be re-released in 2010 in "spectacular" 3-D.
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, though later drafts were heavily rewritten by Koepp himself, Scott Rosenberg, Alvin Sargent, and (allegedly) 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. 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.
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." 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.
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). He was a producer on the 2002 film Solaris, and narrated The Exodus Decoded.
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". 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. 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.") He is on the science team for the 2011 Mars Science Laboratory.
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. The documentary, named The Lost Tomb of Jesus, was broadcast on the Discovery Channel on March 4, 2007.
In June 2005, director 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. 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.
Avatar had an estimated budget of over $300 million and was released on December 18, 2009. This marked his first feature film since 1997's Titanic . 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. James Cameron wrote an 80 page scriptment for Avatar in 1995 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. 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. Cameron originally intended Avatar to be 3D-only. The film went on to break the record for highest-grossing film ever, beating Cameron's previous film Titanic. Avatar also became the first movie to ever earn more than $2 billion worldwide.
He is the executive producer of a 3D cave-dive action drama entitled Sanctum (formerly James Cameron's Sanctum) being shot in Australia and directed by Alister Grierson ( Kokoda). The script, by Andrew Wight and John Garvin, is inspired by a near-death experience of Wight when a cave collapsed whilst he was leading a diving expedition, trapping 15 divers. Sanctum is using the Fusion Camera System technology, but has a relatively modest budget. Release date is projected to be late 2010.
- Avatar Sequels
- Cameron has confirmed that at least one Avatar sequel is being planned, including more story lines with Jake and Neytiri, and the exploration of another moon orbiting Polyphemus. The sequels are rumored to be Cameron's next two projects.
- Battle Angel
- Cameron will also be writing, producing and directing Battle Angel, a live-action adaptation of the first three volumes of the manga series. Alita will be a CG character performed by an actress. Like Avatar, the film will be a mix of CG and live action. Filming will be made with the new digital 3D system Cameron has developed for Avatar. In January 2005, Cameron mentioned that the delay in making this film initially had been to wait until a sufficient number of theatres had installed 3D projectors. Pre-production on this film has been occurring since at least 2004-05, with three conceptual artists having worked for over a year on designs. As with Avatar, the movie will be marketed and distributed by 20th Century Fox worldwide. Cameron is aiming for a PG-13 rating. Laeta Kalogridis wrote the original script but Cameron is re-writing the script for Battle Angel.
- Fantastic Voyage
- Cameron has announced he will produce the upcoming " Fantastic Voyage" remake.
- Heavy Metal
- Kevin Eastman said the upcoming Heavy Metal film will have Cameron as a producer, writer and director for a segment.
- The Dive
- Laeta Kalogridis was also credited for writing the script of The Dive, the true story of Audrey Mestre, a free diver deceased while attempting a record. Her husband Pipin Ferreras will play his own part in the movie.
- The Last Train from Hiroshima
- James Cameron and Charles Pellegrino met the late Tsutomu Yamaguchi on December 22, 2009, who survived both atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Pellegrino has written a book on the atomic bombings and how it affected Japanese civilians. Cameron, Pellegrino and Yamaguchi discussed making a film about nuclear weapons. Yamaguchi told Cameron in English 'I think it's Cameron's and Pellegrino's destiny to make a film about nuclear weapons.'
- Untitled James Cameron Project
- 20th Century Fox said the upcoming sci-fi action film, Shane Salerno was credited writing, and Cameron as a producer, but director and story is unknown.
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.
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 degree of Doctor of Laws from Ryerson University, Toronto. The university awards its highest honour to those who have made extraordinary contributions in Canada, or internationally.
In 1999, Cameron received the honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree 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.
On June 3, 2008, it was announced that he would be inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame. On December 18, 2009, Cameron received the 2,396th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
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 Director.
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)|
|William Wisher Jr.|
* His reprised role of Reese was cut from the theatrical release, but restored in the DVD's Special Edition Version.
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), attempts to reconcile humanity with technology (as seen in Aliens and Terminator 2: Judgment Day), humanity repeating the same mistakes, the dangers of corporate greed, strong female characters (Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley being the most famous), a strong romance subplot, 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), Cameron himself became an expert in the field of deep sea wreckage exploration exploring the wreckage of Titanic and Bismarck. Cameron will return to this theme with The Dive (see Projects), shooting from a minisub.
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.
|1979||Rock 'n' Roll High School||Yes|
|1980||Battle Beyond the Stars||Yes||[I]|
|1981||Escape from New York||Yes||[VII]|
|Galaxy of Terror||Yes||[II]|
|Piranha II: The Spawning||Yes||Yes|
|1985||Rambo: First Blood Part II||Yes|
|Terminator 2: Judgment Day||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|1993||Last Action Hero||Yes||[III]|
|2003||Ghosts of the Abyss||Yes||Yes||Yes||[V]|
|Volcanoes of the Deep Sea||Yes|
|Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines||Yes||[IX]|
|2004||The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing||Yes||[V]|
|2005||Aliens of the Deep||Yes||Yes||Yes||[V]|
|2006||Explorers: From the Titanic to the Moon||Yes||[V]|
|1998||Mad About You: " The Finale"||Actor|
|2000||Dark Angel||Executive producer|
|2001||The Alien Saga||Interviewee|
|2002||Expedition: Bismarck||Director, producer|
|2005||Entourage: "The Sundance Kids"||Actor|
|Entourage: "The Abyss"||Actor|
|Tony Robinson's Titanic Adventure||Participant|
|2006||The Exodus Decoded||Executive producer|
|2007||The Lost Tomb of Jesus||Executive producer|
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 (married 2000, one son, two daughters). Cameron's current wife played the part of Rose Dawson Calvert's granddaughter in the film Titanic. Cameron's fourth wife, Linda Hamilton, played the role of Sarah Connor in both The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
Both Cameron (Avatar) and his former wife Kathryn Bigelow ( The Hurt Locker) were nominated for Best Director for films released in 2009.
Cameron is very distantly related to actress Joanna Cameron, who starred in the title role in 1970s television series The Secrets of Isis.
He 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."
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 had too much of a temper.
In an editorial, the British newspaper The Independent said:
"[James 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. "
Other actors like Bill Paxton and Sigourney Weaver have praised his 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."
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. 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.
- 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 Michael's dismay, it is just another version of Laser Cats, but with references to Terminator, Aliens, Titanic, and Avatar.