James Cameron is a very, very busy guy. When he’s not making some of the biggest, most brilliant blockbusters of all time – and, occasionally, he’s making several at once – he’s traversing the darkest depths of the ocean in his own personal submersible or starting a meat-free food business with Peter Jackson. So, when Empire got the chance to run some questions past him for the new issue, we wanted to do it properly – getting the great and good of filmmaking to pick Cameron’s brain for a mammoth Q&A session, the likes of which he’s never been through before. This month’s mag sees the man who twice set new records for how massive a film could be get a grilling from the likes of Sigourney Weaver, Guillermo del Toro, Harrison Ford, Sam Mendes, Jane Campion, and loads more of the finest minds in film besides.
How, wonders Hans Zimmer, did he pull off The Terminator? What, Zoe Saldaña asks, is so endlessly fascinating to Cameron about water? Why, Pierce Brosnan wants to know, is there such a blatant lack of Pierce Brosnan in Cameron’s films? Harrison Ford shoots his shot too. In all, we got 25 of Cameron’s collaborators, admirers, friends, and famous fans to put questions to one of the most important filmmakers of the last 40 years. It turns out most people can find a little space in their diary to ask James Cameron a query.
Across 10 pages in the newest edition of Empire, we go from his early work on the second unit of John Carpenter’s Escape From New York to the sprawling future of the Avatar universe, via The Abyss, Alien, the time he annoyed Leo DiCaprio on the set of Titanic, and exactly why he decided to use the Papyrus font in Avatar. He’s in especially energetic form too. In considering a question from Gina Prince-Bythewood, he pauses to praise her recent hit The Woman King. “My kind of film,” Cameron says. “Women kicking ass.” Hear, hear.
Read the feature in full in the world-exclusive Indiana Jones 5 issue of Empire – on sale now, and available to order online here. Avatar: The Way Of Water comes to UK cinemas from 15 December.