Hollywood Spotlight: James Cameron

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Our Hollywood Spotlight shines on the career of James Cameron. Though the famous Hollywood writer, director, and producer may not be the most public, he certainly is one of the most successful. An amazing feat for a man who didn’t always aspire to be in show business! (Image Credit: Rolex/Robert Ascroft)

The Star Wars spark

James Cameron never had plans to join the ranks of the Hollywood elite. However, while working as a truck driver, the science-minded future famous director became interested in special effects. In fact, he spent much of his free time studying the art. After seeing Star Wars, he decided to give Hollywood a try. He wrote a short sci-fi script, Xenogenesis, and set out to film his first movie. The rest is history!

A sci-fi phenom

While he worked on a variety of low budget science fiction movies, the multi-talented celebrity experienced his first mainstream Hollywood success with The Terminator (1984). Not only did he direct the movie, he wrote the screenplay. The Terminator defied expectations and became a blockbuster hit. 

James Cameron’s next movie was Aliens (1986). Not surprisingly, the science fiction flick was extraordinarily successful, both financially and critically. In fact, the film received several Oscar nods and wins. Also, the movie was lauded for its strong female lead and feminist themes.  

A memorable Hollywood blockbuster 

Titanic (1997) was a departure from the Hollywood director’s usual science fiction movies. But this passion project was important to James Cameron. The movie took longer than expected to produce and cost more as well. However, Titanic performed far better than anyone could have anticipated and broke many box office records. Most impressively, Titanic was the first film to break the $1 billion dollar mark! Titanic received 14 Academy Award nominations and the movie took home 11 Oscars, including a Best Director award for James Cameron. 

Though the movie featured characters based on real Titanic passengers, it focused on the story of the fictional characters. The romance, drama, and tragedy of Jack and Rose captivated audiences worldwide. And though it debuted over a decade ago, some of its plot points are still actively discussed. In particular, the movie’s fans and detractors still discuss methods of fitting two people on the floating debris in a theoretical effort to save poor Jack. James Cameron dismisses the importance of concept. Simply put, there would have been no story had Jack survived.  

Creating the world of Pandora

In the years after Titanic, the Hollywood director spent his time creating documentaries. Avatar (2009) marked his return to mainstream feature films. However, James Cameron had the idea for Avatar years before filming. He just needed technology to catch up to his ideas! 

By now this talented celebrity had solidified his standing in Hollywood. In fact, no one was really surprised by Avatar’s extreme success. Like Titanic, Avatar was a record breaker. Except this time, the movie was the first film to break the $2 billion mark! Avatar also received 9 Academy Award nominations. 

Some of James Cameron’s other movies include The Abyss (1989), Terminator 2 (1991), True Lies (1994), and Ghosts of the Abyss (2003).

The heart of an explorer

James Cameron’s movies have brought us to the darkest depths of the ocean and to the inconceivable heights of space. And each film has honed the famous director’s own interests and hobbies. Such is the case of James Cameron’s fascination with the sea. Following The Abyss and Titanic, this daring celebrity became an expert in deep sea exploration. In fact, in March of 2012, he completed a solo dive to the New Britain Trench in the South Pacific, setting the record for the deepest single-manned dive.

Later that month, James Cameron became the first person to complete a solo dive into Challenger Deep, the deepest part of the Mariana Trench. The famous director reached a depth of 35,787 feet and explored the vast unknown for three hours. Though James Cameron is used to staying behind the camera, this time, it was his adventure that hit the screen. His preparation and voyage into the depths was the subject of the documentary, Deepsea Challenger 3D, directed by John Bruno.

In addition, James Cameron has an interest in space and NASA. He serves on an advisory council to provide cameras for a human mission to Mars. Also, he often speaks for the Mars Society, a group that works toward the colonization of Mars. 

Upcoming projects

For the next few years, James Cameron will be a very busy man. Based on the success of Avatar, four sequels are in the works. The first, Avatar 2, should be in theaters in 2020, with Avatar 3 to follow the next year. If they are hits, the Hollywood director has plans for Avatar 4 and 5.

James Cameron’s formula is simple. He pours his heart and soul into every movie he writes, directs, and produces. And we reap the rewards!

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