I found this incredible article by Dana Goodyear early this morning on director James Cameron over at The New Yorker. The profile, titled Man of Extremes: The Return of James Cameron, highlights the production of his upcoming sci-fi epic Avatar, but also looks at the rest of his career and personal life. Check out some interesting quotes below.
On mastering every job on set:
“I always do makeup touch-ups myself, especially for blood, wounds, and dirt,” he says. “It saves so much time.”
On Avatar being his life achievement:
The digital elements of “Avatar,” he claims, are so believable that, even when they exist alongside human actors, the audience will lose track of what is real and what is not. “This film integrates my life’s achievements,” he told me. “It’s the most complicated stuff anyone’s ever done.” Another time, he said, “If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.”
On doing the impossible, without studio pressure:
“The words ‘No’ and ‘That’s impossible’ and phrases like ‘That can’t be done’—that’s the stuff that gives him an erection,” the actor Bill Paxton, who has worked with Cameron since the early eighties, says. Cameron reserves a special quotient of his anger for suits who get in his way. “Tell your friend he’s getting fucked in the ass, and if he would stop squirming it wouldn’t hurt so much” was the message he once told a Fox producer to deliver to an executive at the studio.
On 3-D technology immersion:
“It gives you more of a sense of participation, involvement, and immersion. You feel like you’re bearing witness, and that makes the journey feel more real.” It was also a business decision. Having developed the camera technology, he knew that only a high-profile movie, such as “Avatar” promises to be, would accelerate the conversion of theatres. “I said, ‘They know the product. They better get ready.’ It was a little bit cheeky—a leap of faith that the screens would be there for us.” That spring, there were about fifteen hundred 3-D screens in the United States; by December, there will be three times that many.
George Lucas on Cameron’s plan:
“Creating a universe is daunting,” George Lucas said. “I’m glad Jim is doing it—there are only a few people in the world who are nuts enough to. I did it with ‘Star Wars,’ and now he’s trying to challenge that. It’s a lot of work. I do believe Jim will take this further out than anyone’s ever conceived of.”
This is only the first few pages in the fantastic 12 page write-up. What I like most about the article is getting a intense look at just how dedicated (insane?) Cameron is. His passion for filmmaking and detail certainly come across and this just gets me more excited for Avatar. One interesting fact about the film is that there are only 15 shots that aren’t visual effect shots. I always find it funny when directors boast about how many VFX shots they have, but Cameron has truly gone all-out.
Make sure to read the entire article over at The New Yorker. Avatar hits theaters December 18th.
Are you a big James Cameron fan? What did you think of the article?