james cameron ama

As popular as his movies are, James Cameron himself is slightly mysterious. Sure, he’ll get out to promote his work, or use his celebrity status to speak about important issues. Those occasions just don’t provide a great chance to meet the man himself.

Which is why when James Cameron took to Reddit to do an Ask Me Anything session, it was so incredibly fascinating. He talked about his family life, songs he sings in the shower, and his preference between dogs and cats. Below, however, you won’t find any of that. Below we’ve complied the best of Cameron’s film-related answers. There’s some really great stuff.

Cameron offers an update on the status of the Avatar sequels and Battle Angel, discusses whether or not Arnold Schwarzenegger will appear, comments on the possibility of True Lies 2, offers his thoughts on Prometheus, Titanic criticisms, Oculus Rift, Avatar Land, why all movies should be in 3D, if he’s excited for the new Terminator films, and explains why he loves Paul W.S. Anderson’s Resident Evil. One Redditor even got him to change a line of dialogue in an Avatar sequel. Read all about the James Cameron AMA  below. Read More »

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Titanic

It’s a potent cocktail: money mixed liberally with delusions of grandeur. Recall, if you will, the name Clive Palmer. He’s the billionaire in Australia (at current conversion rates there’s not even a need to qualify him as a billionaire only in Australian dollars) who last year announced his plans to build a full-size, working Titanic replica of his very own. That announcement was followed by a report that Palmer was talking to sheep-cloning scientists with the idea of building his own Jurassic Park.

Palmer denied the JP report, and as far as commercial ideas go, the notion of a working Titanic replica is actually genius. He says he’s lined up thousands of people interested in a Titanic II voyage, and I believe it. It’s an expensive venture, and one loaded with serious risk — against capricious fate, if nothing else — but one which could make money.

Here’s where the crazy kicks in: now Palmer says he’s going to make two Titanic films. One will be a documentary about building the ship, which makes sense. The other is a dramatic film that he claims “should be a lot better movie” than Cameron’s Titanic. Read More »

It’s a given that movie science needs to be taken with a big fat grain of salt, but even by those standards, some films seem to push the limits of implausibility more than others. And I’m not just talking about obvious nonsense like superpower-bestowing radioactive spider bites here.

So some science-minded folks are fighting back, playfully, by investigating and possibly debunking some of the crazier claims made by Hollywood. On NPR, pop culture’s favorite astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson discusses the viability (or lack thereof) of 007′s coolest gadgets, while over on Mythbusters, the hosts cast doubt on James Cameron‘s insistence that Jack had to die at the end of Titanic.

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Jack’s decision to let Rose take the plank at the end of Titanic was unquestionably a noble and romantic one. Unlike so many self-sacrificial heroes, however, he doesn’t go out in a blaze of glory. Instead, he huddles in the icy water and slowly freezes to death. His lady love, meanwhile, gets to sprawl out on her perch and gaze at the stars as she waits for help.

This spring’s 3D rerelease of Titanic inspired a fresh wave of grumbling from viewers convinced that Rose might’ve saved Jack, had she only been smart or generous enough to scoot over a few inches and allow Jack to board the life raft with her. Two fans even mapped out a to-scale outline of the plank and posed within it, definitively proving there was more than enough room for both to fit. But writer/director James Cameron says space was never the issue — their combined weight was. And he’s working with MythBusters to prove it.

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Even when James Cameron doesn’t have a new film in theaters, he’s not far from the headlines. This year saw the 3D re-release of his record-breaking 1997 success Titanic, which pushed the movie’s total gross over two billion dollars. Between that and Avatar, just two of Cameron’s movies have made him more of an economic power than many small countries.

With Titanic hitting DVD this week, Cameron is out stumping for the movie once again, and he’s being asked about his view of the film that challenged his earnings records earlier this summer: The Avengers. Read More »

Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor Rob Legato has been involved in many Hollywood classics and blockbusters over the last two decades, including: Apollo 13, Titanic, Armageddon, Cast Away, Harry Potter, Bad Boys 2, The Aviator, The Departed, Avatar, and Hugo. Over the summer, Legato gave a TED talk entitled “The Art of Creating Awe” about how visual effects are used to recreate reality or sometimes even “trump the real thing”.

In the TED Talk, Legato shows us behind the scenes footage of how the movie magic was created, how he tries to recreate the idealized memory of a moment and not necessarily the reality of a moment We learn about the reaction from a NASA consultant who worked on Apollo 13 and legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin. We see how he seamlessly blended real footage of the Titanic with shots of miniature models, and how our brain is tricked into believing that its all real. And lastly, Legato shows how set size limitations on Martin Scorsese’s Hugo resulted in some creative choices: Moving the floor to create the illusion that the train was moving and combining a five different sets and a multitude of shots into the long “steadicam” shot from the beginning of the film.

In the wake of excitement over NASA’s mars rover Curiosity I recently revisited Apollo 13, and was amazed at how well the visual effects held up for a movie released 17 years ago. And after watching Legato’s TED Talk, I’m pretty sure most people watching the film today probably don’t even notice the visual effects. Watch Legato’s TED Talk embedded after the jump.

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Imagine what would happen if the 3D rerelease of Titanic was so profitable that James Cameron employed George Lucas, Michael Bay and JJ Abrams to create a Super 3D version of the film to give audiences an updated 4D experience. This is the premise of a funny youtube video which has been going viral this week. Watch it now embedded after the jump.

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Aside from the addition of 3D, this week’s rerelease of James Cameron‘s Titanic promises to be just as you remembered — unless, perhaps, you’re a bit of an astronomy geek. After prodding from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the director has made one small edit to his 1997 film concerning the star formation during the sinking of the ship. While most filmmakers probably wouldn’t concern themselves with such a seemingly minor detail, Cameron’s famed perfectionism compelled him to make the change. Read more after the jump.

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