Is James Cameron a mutant? That's what we were all wondering on the set of Avatar, as we flew and fought our way through 18-hour days of filming with Jim behind a 3-D camera that he'd also invented. When we got a rare break, what did the guy do? Grab a cup of coffee with the rest of us and play basketball? No, he slipped into his office to refine the design for the submersible he'd invented to take him down 36,000-plus feet into the deepest part of the Mariana Trench, a place few humans have ever gone (and, I am thinking, would ever want to go).
Then he emerged for another eight-hour stint, savoring every challenge. Did I mention he spearheaded the design for everything that floats, flies or pounces in Avatar as well as all aircraft, weaponry and, oh yes, a new language? He rounded up people at the top of their game to help execute his vision, but it was conceived in his fevered, furry mutant brain. Jim also once designed a Rover for a Mars mission and trained underwater with Russian cosmonauts.
It would be comforting to think of Jim, 55, as superhuman. But the truth is although he has extraordinary abilities, appetite and drive Jim simply does not recognize human limitations in himself or anyone else. People come back to work with him again and again because he makes them dig so deep. During Avatar, Jim was especially encouraging to the actors. It's the one job he thinks he can't do. Please don't anyone ever cast him in a movie. If he finds out that he can act too, we'll know for sure the guy is a mutant.
Weaver starred in Avatar and Cameron's Aliens
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