tous le monde sait que 1+1=2 mais moi + toi =1 par ce que tous simplement toi =1 et moi sans toi = 0 Titanic -- Behind The Scenes by Joe Tracy Taking a look behind the scenes of James Cameron's Titanic is like exploring another world. That James Cameron could pull off a movie of this magnitude is so incredible that even in Newsweek he admitted "if he'd known what it would take to bring his vision to the screen he'd have stopped before he started." Perhaps that's because Titanic really is James Cameron's film. Just take a look at the main credits: Writer, Director, Editor, Producer.
James Cameron did "everything" even down to the drawings you see Jack's character penciling in the film. Cameron even went down to the actual grave of Titanic a dozen times. On the set he took control over the camera many times during filming too, causing his principle cinematographer to apparently quit in frustration! Let there be no doubt that from beginning to end, Titanic is James Cameron.
Size Does Matter
Early on, Cameron wanted to establish the majestic size of the Titanic. "...the fact that the film is expensive is a product of my desire to do the Titanic story correctly, and the ship itself was very big and I wanted to show it. I wanted to show its wonder," says Cameron (see footnote). "Bear in mind that the film is not just a warning and a caution, although it functions on that level, but it is also a celebration of the ship. You can't appreciate the sinking if you can't appreciate the ship."
On screen, it becomes obvious that Cameron achieved his goal. Part of achieving that goal was for FOX to build a new studio in Baja California, Mexico where parts of the ship could be recreated to near full scale. The other part was the special effects achieved by Digital Domain, of which Cameron is one of the primary owners. From the casting off to passing a small boat, Titanic's size is massive and well achieved on screen.
Fiction Vs. Reality
Although the real Titanic is full of many wonderful facts and stories that can be told, Cameron chose to tell a fictional story that, interestingly enough, became the only criticized point of some movie reviews (and the raving point of others). He was insistent that the story be his own creation versus one on fact.
"There have been somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 films made about the sinking of the Titanic," he says. "All of them did more or less what you said which is to show all of the interesting stories, set up all the many characters. But my feeling was that in doing the many, you ultimately in a way do nothing in a sense that you're not able to penetrate a certain level of emotional involvement. By creating a fictional love story we ask the audience to open their hearts to that relationship and in so doing they open their hearts to the emotionality and the poignancy of the greater event..."
A Titanic Inspiration
Every good idea and dedicated focus in life usually begins with an inspiration and with Cameron it was no different. Inspiration comes in all forms and for Cameron, his Titanic inspiration struck when researching another film.
"I would say that the inspiration really comes from the subject itself, the Titanic," he comments. "When I was doing research for 'The Abyss' back in '87 or '88, I asked to meet Robert Ballard, who discovered Titanic. I wasn't interested in Titanic. I was interested in submersibles, and submersible robot systems and all the things that they were using to explore Titanic. But I was interested in it for another film that had nothing to do with Titanic. But in the process of that he showed me the tapes of their discovery of the ship and I just sort of caught the excitement of these people who had found this thing and I went back and studied the history of it. The human history of it is absolutely fascinating. We only touch on a small part of what is great about this story and this event in the film. I think we represent it very well."
Entertainment Above Fact
The history of Titanic is something that Cameron studied intensely. He'll be one of the first to admit, however, that his film isn't about recreating historical accuracy. In the book James Cameron's Titanic, he states, "Where the facts are clear we have been absolutely rigorous in restaging events. Where they are unclear, I have made my own choices, a few of which may be controversial to students of Titanic history."
One of those controversial choices was showing third-class people being locked below decks. Official inquiries into the disaster refute such findings as did representatives of third-class passengers. Yet in the movie it became one of the strongest fictionalized elements that many people will believe as fact.
Even though Cameron wasn't concerned with full accuracy in the telling of his Titanic story (he says his first job was to entertain), he was very detailed in recreating the ship and elements. With this dedication, he was able to do something no one ever had -- obtain the blueprints to the real Titanic! With these blueprints, he was able to reproduce the Titanic (miniature, computer, and near full-scale) to the utmost accuracy, even down to the placement of the rivets