Tuesday, June 3, 2014

James Cameron Talks Terminator at Hero Complex 2014

After explosions, a killer robot and the knowledge that a middle aged cop really likes to dance at the club TechNoir James Cameron came on stage to applause as the end credits rose to the ceiling for Hero Complex 2014's Saturday night double featuring showing of Terminator and T2. Cameron's first big film. Forget Avatar. Leave behind Titanic. Abyss can go take ... anyway it was his first big film. Hero Complex showing of his sci-fi action thriller was just across the Dances with Film Festival at the always up to something and somewhat remodeled TLC Chinese Theaters in Hollywood.

Hero Complex's Rebecca Keegan started the night's Q & A with how the film is thirty years old to which Cameron responded with a, "Geez, thanks for making me feel old." The evening's talk would be over Cameron's long career, with jibes and making it in Hollywood and what happened to the Terminator ip. At least one weird question of where were going with technology was asked with an even more sci-fi answer.

The first round of questions were of Cameron's early career and his big break making Terminator. His Mom would send him coupons to get two McDonald's hamburgers for the price of one when he was starting out. Cameron who had worked on the well-known cheap but profitable Corman pictures was paying his way in life making one-sheets in LA. When he had free time he was writing at all night diners for what Terminator would become. As Cameron put it, "I was the angry wannabe filmmaker," before he got the go ahead for Terminator.

Terminator lore came down such as the decision of Arnold switching roles from the future soldier Kyle Reese to the silent killing cyborg which had one lawyer fired and rehired.

The Sarah Connor character was described as the every woman, "I wanted to create an every woman... someone who feels insignificant, there life doesn't have any meaning, like there life doesn't have any greater purpose and she gets tapped by a (a) great duty, a great burden and she has to step up." He continued with how her support fell apart, "You'll notice, is what happens is all her support structures get peeled away. Her roommate is obliviously a close friend, her roommate's boyfriend is a big strapping guy who could protect her then she meets a protector when she's very isolated and falls in love with him and he gets taken away at the end and she's left on her own. Then even her ability to run gets taken away as she's crawling." Sarah then had to rise up and fight back.

Cameron mentioned he watch the film recently with his ten-year-old boy, one of five of his children. He'd rather see it with him than hearing about him seeing it over at a friends house.

James Cameron took a jibe at the LA Times over the cost of his films. Terminator was made cheaply with as many tricks as possible Cameron told us. Cameron claimed all special effects combined were only about a million dollars on the first Terminator. Over the Abyss however he said, "The Abyss was said to be, I think in your newspaper, the most expensive film of all time which it was not." That's a very old burn for the LA Times, but since Cameron came by it looks like he's on good terms with them.

"There was a point and time I debated about going after the rights, " Cameron responded about watching the Terminator ip once he left it. He was finishing Titanic at the time he looked into getting the rights and didn't feel like he should pursue it at that point in his life. "In the act of letting it go I know have to live with the consequences of that, " Cameron said, maybe revealing a bit more about how he's felt about the sequels. He started to talk about the new series of films and how the rights have already switched over between people. He originally been asked to be a sort of consultant. As the rights changed he's only say was a few talks with Arnold whose heavily involved with the new films. He talked in a manner very careful not to insult, but with businesses practicality. He answered the same way when asked about bring the original Terminator films to 3D, which to him could only be T2 and needed and outside company to help him with, which he was looking into.

Over the course of an hour Cameron told us stories of working on Terminator and Abyss and at one point not getting Spider-Man. That's right true beleiver's at one point James Cameron wanted to do Spider-Man, but it all fell through.

The floor opened up to questions , Cameron was asked about hoe he handled sequels. On Aliens he said, "So I was really thinking like a fan, what do I want to see?" He had ideas lying around for other sci-fi elements he hadn't used and put them in the film. Killing Ripley could have been in his sequel to Alien, but he respected her. This was the start of going into Aliens 3. He went into the work of David Fincher, director of the third film. "David Fincher, and I loved his film, but when he came along for Alien 3, basically killed off all the characters that you rooted far so hard in Aliens. And I felt that was; as a fan I wasn't going to like that. Not directly adding "You shouldn't be making the movie if you don't love the first one or the property enough to be there."

Cameron jumped back to T2 and talking with Arnold on a plane on the way to Cannes about it anf giving him the script. After reading the script at the following breakfast Arnold told James, "Okay, Jim, the scripts pretty good, but I don't kill anybody." Then James had to explain how great it would be that the Terminator had switch his role to hero and it would blow people's minds. He answered James back with, "But, I'm the Terminator." Arnold fought him on it and even tried to get away with killing people in the film before getting the directive by John Connor not to kill.

The Avatar series was brought up, James revealed how Disney would be going all out for his tentatively named Pandora: The Land of Avatar at Disney World. Special animatronic figures would have more style than any previous for the park. It was a huge wait to see Avatar would make it, it was four and a half years of pre-production and 6 to 8 month before release that the crew finally saw the finished footage of the first Avatar film.

Someone asked about how Terminator 2 was a warning of the overuse of technology and how Cameron had taken part of that role by making the Avatar film. Cameron intervened saying, "I know where this is going."  "How long do you think it take for artificial intelligence to become fully self aware and what do you think we need to do?, " asked a fan. Cameron responded by being fully aware of current technology and the idea of policies of wrestling with drones firing on targets. He had a lighter less dark consequence ideas of the future. "All you have to do a look how many people are on some device all the time. And you see that the machines have already won, at least in the sense that we are co-evolving with our machines. And the outcome, the outcome will be some sort of merge of human consciousness and machine consciousness, that we can't predict, but it's clearly happening already."

Cameron's talk  shared that his original ideas continued on with him shaping his distinctive films and career and that Terminator is the reason he's had his success in the industry.

After Cameron was applauded off stage, fans enjoyed the actually highest costing movie, for the time, Terminator 2 with grand explosions and as Cameron revealed was part of the original script, but couldn't be done because of cost and technology. Liquid metal bad guys take a while to be made.

Thanks again to LA Time's Hero Complex for these special screenings to take place.