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Ghosts of the Abyss in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Ghosts of the Abyss

Bill Paxton • James Cameron
DIRECTOR: James Cameron

Ghosts of the Abyss THE CONCEPT:
With newly devised cameras, James Cameron returned to the Titantic to shoot the ocean liner in 3-D, giving the audience the extraordinary experience of feeling as if they’re at the bottom of the ocean, reliving the tragedy, with Cameron using ghostly images of the passengers and crew to retell the story.

U.S. RELEASE: April 11 2003, Limited • Rated: G


“I was on vacation, right after the Academy Awards and Titanic was still in theatres, when I decided to go back. There was so much we didn’t see. We never really got to look inside. We had been developing 3D technology for the space project, so I said, ‘Hey, let’s go do a 3D film about Titanic.”

BILL PAXTON on seeing the ocean liner for the first time:
“When you think of Titanic, you think of the enormity of the ship. You don’t get that when you first approach the ship, because 60 feet of the front of the ship is in the sand, so you’re seeing it from the anchors up. Then you go down amidships and you’re at the boat deck level which would have been about a hundred feet from the keel, and shining one of our lights down the side of that, it’s suddenly so big that you go, ‘Oh my God, it’s just going to swallow us.’”

“I think it’s such a great tribute to the flexibility of cinema that you can tell the same story 10 different ways. In this particular case, for me as a director, it was like I wanted to do the exact opposite of what I did last time. We were not going to plan, write, storyboard anything. We’re going to just let it be a completely raw, open architecture kind of filmmaking process.”

“The ship is being eaten. Before the trip I thought the rust was a chemical process, but not at Titanic. It’s an organism, bacterial process that is literally eating the steel of the ship, and the residue is the rusticle growth. I wish they’d stop it. There is real science coming from Titanic. They’re finding that these rusticles are able to absorb toxins. It’s odd to think, but there might come a day where we look at Titanic as this thing that created a great benefit to man in terms of the science they’re finding from the wreck now.”

“We flew a ROV inside Titanic. No one had been in there since 1912. We flew the ROV down a corridor or into a room, a place that literally no human eyes had seen. And I knew what was going to be there when I came around the corner, because we had built all the sets of the ship. So I was in the real ship having a sense of déjà vu in a place that nobody’s ever been before. For the first time ever we know what the Titanic really looked like.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Ghosts of the Abyss site
Images above © Walt Disney Pictures
Feature © 2003 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #628, March 2003 cover

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