Friday, July 15, 2005

James Cameron's Titanic Obsession

How many times does James Cameron have to go back to Titanic?

In just over a week, Academy Award-winning filmmaker James Cameron plans to take TV viewers on a live tour of the ill-fated ocean liner from its resting place at the bottom of the Atlantic where it sank nearly a century ago in one of history's most notorious marine disasters.

This week Cameron was in a Los Angeles editing suite putting together pre-taped sequences from the latest of the 30 expedition dives he's taken to the Titanic site over the past decade. He was then going to fly back to the site to do more filming and to prepare for the live elements of
Last Mysteries of the Titanic, a two-hour special to air Sunday, July 24 on Discovery Channel.

30 dives. You ever get the feeling that Cameron's getting a little -- er -- overboard over this ship?

I mean, this is Cameron's third major movie project based on the Titanic story. We already know about the 1997 Oscar-winning blockbuster ("I'm King of the World!") and he also did a 3-D Imax documentary called Ghosts of the Abyss. (And I'm not even counting the movie documentaries or the interactive Titanic Explorer game.) Everyone's agreed that the story's a fascinating one, but this is surely milking it dry.

Discovery Channel's press releases trumpet this special as "a final farewell" to the shipwreck because it is in a "grave state of deterioration and time for future dives and exploration is quickly running out."

But Cameron says that while some parts of the ship have understandably collapsed into rust, other parts have not changed at all during the 10 years he's visited it.

"In terms of saying farewell, it's my farewell," he says with a chuckle. "Because I'm not going back. This is my last expedition."

Not to be foreboding or anything, but I think Captain E.J.Smith said something similar ...