For “Titanic” fanatics, reliving the biggest cry-fest of your adolescence was kind of a dream come true. But when the film rolled out 14 years later — and in stunning 3D — something was a little off.
Hardly anyone blinked when the 1997 juggernaut raked in another chunk of change. What was new, however, was Kate Winslet, the film’s heroine, sharing her very candid, eye-rolling, vomit inducing-feelings the second time around.
So, it makes you wonder: How did the notoriously fastidious James Cameron feel about this? With “Titanic 3D” being released on Blu-ray on September 10, Moviefone spoke with the director about his feelings about “Prometheus,” his antagonistic relationship to TV and Winslet’s unflattering “Titanic” comments.
You’ve said many times that “Titanic” is your baby. How did it feel to hear Kate Winslet convey her not-so-positive feelings about the film?
I have to cut her some slack on that. Because, when you’re an actor in a really iconic film — I mean, imagine Mark Hamill in “Star Wars” — and the last thing you want if you’re a really good, versatile, chameleonic actor with enormous potential like Kate and Leo at that time, is to get locked in to everyone’s preconception of you from doing one big, iconic role. And in a way, you’re almost being punished for doing too well, a good part of the success of the film was because of their great work and so now they’ve had this sort of sense that there was a long shadow they had to escape from, so I understand her needing to distance herself from it.
But, on the other hand, you know, it’s been 16 years, like, come on, Kate. Get over it. Take the win, girl! [Laughs] It’s OK. You can relax now. You can unclench…I said I understood [her] response, I didn’t necessarily agree with it.
And what about Leo’s role? Did you wish he did more press?
He was shooting Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” down in Sydney and he couldn’t get away to do press. Ironically, the tables are turned, Leo had done the premiere when “Titanic” was first released and Kate was in the hospital…I don’t know, I can’t remember what was going on. But, she couldn’t come to the premiere. So, they actually switched roles this time.
But even when you showed him some clips, Leo was “crawling under his seat.”
My memory of it, [was] he was guffawing at how young he was. He clearly hadn’t seen the film in a long time — certainly hadn’t seen it screened on the big screen, probably since back in the day — so, he was laughing at literally how young he was.
Are there any young actors today that you have your eye on and hope to work with?
I don’t work that way. I’d be hard-pressed to imagine creating a vehicle for an actor that I like. For me, the movie comes first and if the actor fits, they fit. And I’ll think pretty far out of the box about what “fitting” means, even contemplate re-working a character to fit an actor I really admire. But, I can’t imagine writing a vehicle for an actor. That’s just not my process. There are a lot of young actors — always new actors coming up who are good — I’m not going to name any names, but I certainly keep my eye out.
As someone who was connected to the “Alien” legacy, what did you think about “Prometheus”?
I enjoyed “Prometheus”; I thought it was great. I thought it was Ridley returning to science fiction with gusto, with great tactical performance, beautiful photography, great native 3D. There might have been a few things that I would have done differently, but that’s not the point, you could say that about any movie.
Did it make you feel like you wanted to revisit the world of “Alien” at all?
No. No, I feel that I’m too far away from it right now, too much other work has been done — too thickly layered, a palimpsest of other talents from Fincher to everybody that’s come along since.
Do you enjoy watching other people’s movies?
Oh, yeah. I’m a huge movie fan. I love watching films. I love watching films with the family, with the kids; I love watching films myself. I was out there opening night [for] “Prometheus.” I didn’t go to the Thursday midnight screening, but I was there Friday. I like to still get excited about movies and whether they pay off or not, that’s not the point — the fact that there’s still an excitement around a new movie, about the an unveiling of a new movie.
So you’re able to enjoy movies as a viewer?
“Prometheus” is a film I saw twice, and I thought about it ahead of time. The first time I would just enjoy it, go for the ride, not be too analytical and the second time I would allow myself to be a little more analytical about, you know, where the lights were and how they lit the shots with all the people in the helmets, how they probably had to do CG faceplates like we did on “Avatar,” things like that. But, sometimes, so that I preserve a fun, fan-like viewing experience, I won’t get into that level. I’ll just go for the ride, like, consciously.
Do you like to watch television?
You don’t watch any TV?
Zero. I don’t have a TV. I took it out of the house. I was watching too much TV, so I took it out.
“Titanic 3D” will be released on Blu-ray September 10.