James Francis Cameron (born August 16, 1954) is a Canadian-born American film director noted for his action/science fiction films, which are often extremely successful financially. Thematically, James Cameron's films generally explore the relationship
between man and technology. He frequently works with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, Michael Biehn and Jenette Goldstein. Cameron directed the film Titanic which went on to become the top grossing film of all time not adjusted for inflation, with a worldwide gross of over
James Cameron was born in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada, to Phillip, an electrical engineer, and Shirley Cameron, an artist. He grew up in Chippawa, Ontario, and in 1971 his family moved to Brea, California. There he studied physics at Cal State-Fullerton, but his passion for filmmaking would draw him to the film archive of UCLA at every opportunity. He started in the film industry as a screenwriter, then
moved into art direction and effects for films such as Battle Beyond the Stars and Escape from New York. Working with producer Roger Corman, Cameron landed his first directorial job in 1981 for the film Piranha II: The Spawning, shot in Italy. Cameron was fired and suffered a psychological breakdown. While recovering, Cameron conceived The Terminator. His then-wife Gale Anne Hurd produced the film, and it became a cult hit.
After The Terminator, Cameron and Hurd signed with Fox to make Aliens. Cameron credits director-producer Walter Hill for going to bat for him when certain production executives wanted to remove him. Aliens was a major hit. Cameron's
next film The Abyss was the most expensive film of its time and required cutting-edge effects technology. Sadly for Cameron, the film was
savagely cut by the studio and poorly received by audiences.
Cameron is known for the breakthrough work he demands from his special effects (FX) crews. The Terminator was released in 1984 and might look dated today, but the special effects were advanced for its time. This is especially remarkable given the film's
low budget. The special effects in Cameron's The Abyss in 1989 won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for groundbreaking use of computer-generated imaging (CGI). Cameron's Terminator 2: Judgment Day in 1991 made extensive use of CGI, winning another Oscar for Best Visual Effects. Cameron's Titanic in 1997 used both CGI and scaled sets, and it also won a Visual Effects Oscar. Once again, Titanic gave Cameron the crown
for most expensive film made at the time. The film recouped that investment and more by becoming the biggest box-office hit
in film history ($1.8 billion worldwide gross, $600 million domestic, and the most successful soundtrack in film history to
that date). Among the film's record-tying 11 Oscars were three for Cameron: as director, producer and editor.
The appeal of Cameron's films has prompted frequent speculation about his involvement with super-hero adaptations. Starting in the late 1980s, Cameron's name was associated with pre-production for many super-hero movies, including
X-Men, Hulk, and Spider-Man. His unused script for Spider-Man matched the web-slinger against a corporate Electro. Cameron is credited with the organic web shooter which would feature in the final film (2002) directed by Sam Raimi. Most recently, Cameron was in the running to direct the next Superman movie, but that ended up going to Bryan Singer. HBO's original series Entourage made a back-handed reference to these recurring rumors, with the main character slated to star in a fictional version
of DC's Aquaman, directed by Cameron. Cameron appeared, playing himself in the show.
Cameron finally did succeed in producing a superhero in the form of the cyberpunk television series Dark Angel (2000 - 2002). Clearly evident in this production is the influence of X-Men, Hulk, and Spider-Man,
and also the films Blade Runner and The Matrix. However, it's rumored that Cameron or an affiliate saw the idea for Dark Angel in a short story on a public fiction
site and claimed it as their own. The truth of the rumor is still under debate.
His recent projects include undersea documentaries on the Bismarck, (Expedition: Bismarck, 2002), and the Titanic, (Ghosts of the Abyss, in IMAX 3D 2003).
In recognition of his contributions to underwater filming and remote vehicle technology, the University of Southampton awarded Cameron the honorary degree of Doctor of the University. Cameron received his degree in person at the graduation ceremony in July 2004.
Cameron has cited Walter Hill and his driving scenes in The Driver as inspiration for his car chase sequences in The Terminator.
Cameron is known to follow anime. His favourable comments feature on the covers for video and DVD releases of Ghost in the Shell and Blood: The Last Vampire.
In July 2005, Cameron confirmed his long-rumoured film adaption of the manga series Battle Angel Alita. With an estimated budget of $200 million, he will shoot the film in stereoscopic digital 3-D with a cast almost entirely composed of animated CG, using an improved "performance capture" technique similar (but reportedly
more advanced) to what was first used by director Robert Zemeckis in The Polar Express. However, Cameron has recently confirmed that he will first direct his rumoured Project 880 (Avatar). He is also attached to 2 other projects, including The Dive.
Among A-list directors, Cameron is a leading advocate for 3D stereo films. He plans to create a 3-D project about the first
trip to Mars, and he is on the science team for the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory.
Cameron has been married five times, to Sharon Williams (1978 – 1984), film producer Gale Anne Hurd (1985 - 1989), director Kathryn Bigelow (1989 - 1991), actress Linda Hamilton (1997 - 1999), and his current wife, actress Suzy Amis, whom he married on June 4, 2000.
Films as director