As told by veteran entertainment journalist Marc Shapiro, the story of James Cameron is rich in history and as explosively entertaining as any of his masterpiece films. Cameron the youngster built toy rockets and submarines and displayed at an early age the drive to win at any cost. The Cameron legend has it that when a neighbor stole some of little Jim's toys, he sneaked into the boy's backyard and sawed through the branches supporting his treehouse. When the treehouse collapsed, Cameron's rival ended up in the hospital.
Ever since that day, James Cameron has been leaving many of those who cross his path in a state of mental or physical disrepair. But his fanaticism and incredibly strong work ethic also win the respect of those around him, and inspire many to go the extra mile. The teenager who was awestruck by the visual power and special effects of Stanley Kubrick's groundbreaking 2001: A Space Odyssey and immediately decided to become a filmmaker, has grown up to be one of the very best.
But at what cost? Those who would label Cameron a self-absorbed , egotistical maniac have plenty of ammunition to back up their claims. As early as 1984's The Terminator, cast and crew members took to wearing T-shirts with the slogan "You can't scare me...I work for James Cameron." Of course, the infamous director never really talks to co-workers on his sets, he barks at them in succinct soundbites. And he doesn't play favorites. Not even his franchise player, Arnold Schwarzenegger, got special treatment during the filming of True Lies. High on a crane and ready to film a scene, he reports: "I had to go to the bathroom read bad. Jim screams up to me, 'No you can't! You're a military man on a mission, would a real pilot land just to go to the bathroom?'"
James Cameron: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker includes other revelations and insights:
* how the idea for The Terminator came to him in a fever dream
* how he fell overboard in love with actress Suzy Amis on the set of Titanic
* how Cameron's antics drove several stars of The Abyss to near nervous breakdowns
* how someone on the set of Titanic allegedly attempted to incapacitate the lovable director by slipping him, and the rest of the crew, the drug PCP