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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"Do You Want Paul Verhoeven to Finish This Motherfucker?"

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Tue, Oct 20, 2009 at 3:03 PM

cameron.jpg
  • Photograph by Martin Schoeller, via the New Yorker.

This is how the New Yorker's "Man of Extremes: The Return of James Cameron" begins:

The director James Cameron is six feet two and fair, with paper-white hair and turbid blue-green eyes. He is a screamer—righteous, withering, aggrieved. “Do you want Paul Verhoeven to finish this motherfucker?” he shouted, an inch from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s face, after the actor went AWOL from the set of True Lies, a James Bond spoof that Cameron was shooting in Washington, D.C. (Schwarzenegger had been giving the other actors a tour of the Capitol.) Cameron has mastered every job on set, and has even been known to grab a brush out of a makeup artist’s hand. “I always do makeup touch-ups myself, especially for blood, wounds, and dirt,” he says. “It saves so much time.” His evaluations of others’ abilities are colorful riddles. “Hiring you is like firing two good men,” he says, or “Watching him light is like watching two monkeys fuck a football.” A small, loyal band of cast and crew works with him repeatedly; they call the dark side of his personality Mij—Jim backward.

Holy shit. Dana Goodyear's piece is a fascinating profile of Cameron, and it's loaded with insane details about the making of Avatar. ("This film integrates my life's achievements," Cameron says at one point. "It's the most complicated stuff anyone's ever done.") If you have any interest in popular cinema, read the whole thing ASAP.

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