JAMES CAMERON BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
James Cameron was born August 16, 1954 in Kapuasking, Ontario, Canada to Shirley, a painter, and Philip, an electrical engineer. Due to his father’s job, the family crossed borders, first to Brea, New York, and then to southern California. During his youth, Cameron was very intrigued by science fiction and astronomy. He later became fascinated with writing short stories and screenplays, too. When he was fifteen, “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968) sparked his interest in film, and the combination of motion pictures with one of his other loves: sci-fi. After graduating from high school, he enrolled at California State University Fullerton to study physics, switched to English, and then dropped out before completing his two years. After the film “Star Wars” (1977) came out, Cameron’s interest in the motion pictures was reawakened and he quit his truck driving job to jump into the movie industry.
He began regularly going to the University of Southern California’s library to read up on the art of filmmaking, special effects, optical printing, and projection. He first demonstrated his newfound comprehension of cinematography and movie making with a twelve minute sci-fi titled “Xenogenesis” (1978). It helped him practice with his camera and develop special effects skills, but also increased his awareness on the structure of plot and characters. As the future filmmaker continued to expand his competency and knowledge, he found a job at Roger Corman Studios. He soon discovered himself of service with films like “Battle Beyond the Stars” (1980), “Escape From New York” (1981), “Galaxy of Terror” (1981), and “Android” (1982). In 1981 he landed his very first directorial position for “Piranha II: The Spawning”, after the original director left the project. While filming for the feature, which turned out to be a horrible experience for the new director (as nobody spoke English and the production was far under-financed), Cameron had a terrible dream about a robot assassin from the future. After the shooting was over, he turned this nightmare into his first screenplay called “The Terminator” (1984).
Many production studios wanted the rights to his script, but no one would let the writer direct his own picture. After much looking, he finally found producer Gale Anne Hurd, who agreed to buy his screenplay for a dollar, but only on the condition that he direct it himself. While waiting for his number one pick for the lead, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to become available, Cameron toiled on two other scripts, “Rambo: First Blood Part II” (1985) and “Aliens” (1986). In 1984 the futuristic action thriller starring Schwarzenegger was finally released, and quickly became a critical and commercial hit. Following, he directed a short documentary, “This Time It’s War” (1985), and then was signed to also direct “Aliens”, as his success from “Terminator” made it apparent that he was a capable director. It ended up taking home two Academy Awards and one nomination.
With two great box office successes, Cameron went on with the intention of creating another exceptional feature. While the underwater shooting for “The Abyss” (1989) was unprecedented, the performances top notch, the filming was expensive and exhausting and the public didn’t receive it as well as they had his two former features. However, it did helm an Oscar for the Best Visual Effects. The filmmaker rebounded from his failure by writing, producing, and directing the sequel to his 1984 robotic flick, called “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991). He garnered much praise for the film. Next he worked with Schwarzenegger again, and also Jamie Lee Curtis, for “True Lies” (1994). It also fared well, even earning an Academy Award nod for special effects.
After co-writing and co-producing the futuristic noir “Strange Days” (1995), Cameron set off to work on a completely different kind of film than was his norm: a romantic and emotional love story. He subsequently directed, produced, and wrote “Titanic” (1997), a fictional story based on the love connection between actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet during the sinking of the famous ship. While creating the picture, the filmmaker made sure to do his research, and even visited the real wreckage over ten times. His hard work paid off, and the film became the highest grossing picture ever (until 2009, when his “Avatar” came out”) and earned eleven Oscars, including Best Director and Best Picture.
Cameron next produced and wrote a television series called “Dark Angel” (2000-2002), but did not direct another feature until 2003, with “Ghosts of the Abyss”. He came out with “Aliens of the Deep” (2005) shortly after, but continued only producing a number of TV movies. In the meantime, his Terminator concept was integrated into multiple films and a television show. In 2009 he finally returned to the big screen with an enormous success, “Avatar” (2009). The filmmaker had been conceptualizing the film since the release of “Titanic” in 1997, but was waiting for the right technology to become available. While the most expensive film ever made ($300 million), it also turned into the highest grossing picture of all time. It helmed nine Academy Award nominations, and won three. There are two more Avatar films in production at this time “Avatar 2” (2014) and “Avatar 3” (2015), and he has another feature in pre-production, the sci-fi “Battle Angel” (2016).
The director, screenwriter, producer, and special effects genius remains a powerful force in Hollywood, and will continue to dominate with his top notch features. There is no doubt his name will forever be remembered by the movie goers of this generation, and of further generations. He already has his name enshrined in multiple awards and been honored for a great deal of his work. Such awards and honors include nine Saturn Awards, an Oscar, and two Golden Globes. He is also in Canada’s Walk of Fame.
2016 Battle Angel
2015 Avatar 3
2014 Avatar 2
2011 Untitled Andrew Adamson/Cirque du Soleil Project
2008 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
2007 The Lost Tomb of Jesus
2006 The Exodus Decoded
2005 Titanic Adventure
2005 Last Mysteries of the Titanic
2005 Aliens of the Deep
2003 Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
2003 Volcanoes of the Deep Sea
2003 Ghosts of the Abyss
2002 Expedition: Bismarck
2000 Dark Angel
1999 Saturday Night Live
1996 T2 3-D: Battle Across Time
1995 Strange Days
1995 Apollo 13
1994 True Lies
1993 Under Pressure: Making 'The Abyss'
1991 Terminator 2: Judgment Day
1991 The Terminator
1991 Point Break
1989 The Abyss
1985 Rambo: First Blood Part II
1985 This Time It's War
1984 The Terminator
1981 Galaxy of Terror
1981 Piranha Part Two: The Spawning
1981 Escape from New York
1980 Battle Beyond the Stars
1979 Rock 'n' Roll High School