Powerhouse director James Cameron is going to continue riding the crest wave of Avatar – long into the next decade, if he has his way. And he has a history of having it. His way, that is.
“I’m in the ‘Avatar’ business. Period. That’s it,” he said to The New York Times. “I’m making ‘Avatar 2,’ ‘Avatar 3,’ maybe ‘Avatar 4,’ and I’m not going to produce other people’s movies for them. I’m not interested in taking scripts,” he continued. “Within the ‘Avatar’ landscape I can say everything I need to say that I think needs to be said, in terms of the state of the world and what I think we need to be doing about it. And doing it in an entertaining way.”
Last year, the director hinted that the next Avatar installment will take place underwater. “We will see the oceans of Pandora ... which we haven’t seen at all, and that’s an ecosystem that I’m dying to start designing because it’s going to look spectacular,” he said at the time. “It will be a cornucopia, a treat for the eyes.”
His vision will no doubt b informed by the director’s extensive experience making underwater documentary films, a hobby that took up most of the decade between the making of Titanic and Avatar. Described by biographers as part-scientist and part-artist, Cameron has been plumbing the depths with remote vehicle technologies for more than a dozen years. On March 26, 2012, Cameron reached the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean, in the Deepsea Challenger submersible.
With the enormous success of Titanic and Avatar, filmgoers may have forgotten (or not yet been born) when Cameron bust on the directorial scene with guns blazing with the original Terminator and its equally riveting sequel Terminator 2. It’s been a hair-raising roller coaster ride of riveting and breathtaking visual special effects ever since then.
Cameron has continued exploding screens - and ticket-sales grossing records – with Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Aliens (1986), The Abyss (1989), True Lies (1994), the aforementioned Titanic (1997) and Spider-Man and Dark Angel (2000-2002).
Without adjusting for inflation, Cameron's Titanic and Avatar are the two highest-grossing films of all time at $2.16 billion and $2.78 billion respectively.
The man’s got clout, in other words. In March 2011 Cameron was named Hollywood's top earner by Vanity Fair, with estimated 2010 earnings of $257 million.
Cameron is a high school drop-out who taught himself the art of special effects filming after seeing Star Wars in 1977. He quit his job as a truck driver and set about learning all he could about the film industry and special effects.
"I'd go down to the USC library and pull any thesis that graduate students had written about optical printing, or front screen projection, or dye transfers, anything that related to film technology. That way I could sit down and read it, and if they'd let me photocopy it, I would. If not, I'd make notes,” he said.
Caeron’s personal life has been as tumultuous as his films. Married five times, to (from first to last, dates are marriage dates) Sharon Williams (1978–1984), Gale Anne Hurd (1985–1989), director Kathryn Bigelow (1989–1991), and Linda Hamilton (1997–1999), he has been characterized as an extreme workaholic who has virtually no time for his family, as well as a womanizer. Since 2000, he has achieved marital stability with Suzy Amis, who played Rose’s granddaughter on Titanic. They have three children.
The next installment in the “Avatar” series was originally slated to hit theaters in 2014, but producer Jon Landau damped that down to “four years away,” putting “Avatar 2” in theaters in 2016.