The Phantom Voice
the phantom voice
James Francis Cameron was born on August 16, 1954 in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada. Cameron grew up in Chippawa, Ontario, and attended Stamford Collegiate School in Niagara Falls, Ontario. His family moved to California in 1971, when Cameron was 17 years old. He dropped out of Sonora High School, but later went to Brea Olinda High School to finish his education. He attended Fullerton College, a two-year community college, in 1973 to study physics. He switched to English, then dropped out before the start of the fall 1974 semester. After dropping out, he worked many different jobs before figuring out what was right for him. Cameron finally quit his last job, as a truck driver, and emerged into the film industry by writing, directing, and producing an entire movie called Xenogenesis. For the next few years, he spent his time working on low budget, rapidly produced, miniature model productions.
Cameron’s career was really given the chance to take off when he was offered the position as the director of the sequel to Piranha, Piranha II: The Spawning. The original director of Piranha quit due to creative differences with fellow producers and assistants on the set, giving Cameron the chance he really needed to get his name and his work out into the world in 1981. The next three years were spend directing and producing a few mediocre films that didn’t get much attention. In 1984, Cameron wrote the screenplay for The Terminator, his first very popular movie. He wanted to sell the rights to the screenplay so he could direct the movie, and ended up selling it to a company called Pacific Western Productions for one dollar, only on the condition that Cameron gets to direct the film as he pleased. Gale Anne Hurd was assigned as a producer on the task. The Terminator was a low budget film, costing just over $6 million to create, but it managed to profit by $78 million at the end of its showing in theaters. Cameron and his producer, Hurd, ended up falling in love and were married in 1985.
While Cameron was writing The Terminator, he also was writing two other screenplays called Aliens and Rambo: First Blood Part II. The next film Cameron directed was Aliens. Even though Aliens didn’t go as well as The Terminator did during production, it did significantly better in the box office and in the eyes of the public. The film won Academy Awards for Best Sound Effects Editing and Best Visual Effects along with nominations for several other awards. In addition to the Academy Awards, the film’s lead actress made the cover of TIME magazine as a result of the numerous scenes of women strength and empowerment. These scenes helped to strongly express the feminist theme of the film.
Cameron’s next film was a very popular one called The Abyss, with a very interesting back story. Cameron thought of the idea for this film while sitting in biology class in high school. The Abyss is about oil-rig workers who discover unimaginable underwater creatures while on a dig at work. The production of this film was much more expensive than they expected it to be, running considerably over the $41 million allotted to the film. After The Abyss, Cameron directed and released three films in three years, one being a sequel to The Terminator.
1997 started the biggest and most profitable portion of Cameron’s career with the release of the film, Titanic. Released to theaters on December 19, 1997, Titanic grossed less in its first weekend, at $28.6 million, than in its second, at $35.4 million, an increase of 23.8%. This is very uncommon for a widely released film, which is proof to the movie's appeal to all. This was especially surprising, due to the fact that the film is more than three hours long, the number of showings each theater could schedule was very limited. It held the number 1 spot on the box-office charts for months, eventually profiting a total of $600.8 million in the United States and Canada and more than $1.84 billion worldwide. Titanic became the highest-grossing film of all time and was also the first film to make more than $1 billion worldwide. The start of the new century led to great things for Cameron.
His next step into the directing business was in the field of documentaries. He would direct live, Earth-centered documentaries about what is going on around our world. He was very interested in the art of 3-D filmmaking along with the unknown wonders of the Earth. He had cameras deep sea diving and going into volcanoes just to get the perfect shot of the planet’s magnificent features.
In between documentaries, Cameron decided to take a step back into movie making. In 2009, Cameron released Avatar, also shot in 3-D like many of his documentaries. 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 to create the unique blue skin and features of the characters in the movie, along with the intricate scenery and animal-like monsters. Avatar broke several box office records during its first release in theaters. It made $749.7 million in the United States and Canada and more than $2.74 billion worldwide, becoming the highest-paid film of all time in the United States and Canada, surpassing Cameron's Titanic. Avatar also became the first movie to ever earn more than $2 billion worldwide. After Avatar, Cameron’s filmmaking life began to settle down and he began to spend more time with his family.
Cameron has been married five times to spouses, Sharon Williams, Gale Anne Hurd, director Kathryn Bigelow, Linda Hamilton, and Suzy Amis, who he is still married to. Throughout his 5 marriages he has had 4 children, one daughter with Hamilton and one son and two daughters with Amis; they currently all live in New Zealand. In more recent days, Cameron has been one for adventure going on major deep sea dives to reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench. He has also created a new healthy lifestyle for himself and his family as vegans. The family have practiced veganism since 2012 and have never been happier or healthier. Cameron explains that "By changing what you eat, you will change the entire contract between the human species and the natural world". Him and his wife cofounded a school for kindergarten through 12th grade called MUSE school in 2006. In 2015 the school transferred over to an all vegan diet, being the first of its kind. He feels that he can help the world by getting people to help themselves. When asked what's the best thing an individual can do to fight climate change, Cameron said, "Stop eating animals."