Reading Notebook #6: Why the World Needs More Women Directors (Like Ephron & Taymor)

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From “Man of Extremes”, a profile of James Cameron by Dana Goodyear, in The New Yorker (October 26, 2009)

Cameron behaves as if he were the embattled protagonist of one of his own films—an ordinary Joe beaten on the anvil of extraordinary trials. “The words ‘No’ and ‘That’s impossible’ and phrases like ‘That can’t be done’—that’s the stuff that gives him an erection,” the actor Bill Paxton, who has worked with Cameron since the early eighties, says. Cameron reserves a special quotient of his anger for suits who get in his way. … He seems himself as essentially outside and other and alone; he bites the hand that feeds. …

The meeting ended on a boisterous note. “That fuckin’ rocks!” Cameron called out in response to an image of a snarling maw of thin blue-veined tissue, the mouth of the pterodactyl-like banshee that Jake’s avatar domesticates for his ride. “Look at the gill-like membrane on the side of the mouth, its transmission of light, all the secondary color saturation on the tongue, and that maxilla bone. I love what you did with the translucence on the teeth, and the way the quadrate bone racks the teeth forward.” …

His face was flushed and happy. “It’s all just an excuse to do helicopters versus pterodactyls,” he said.



Notes

  • Avatar is great eye-candy, but the story is completely inert. Reading this interview with Cameron makes it plain why: an obsession with technical details.
  • Cameron acts the way he does—without remorse or regret—because he does what he’s absolutely passionate (and obsessive) about. That kind of passion comes without doubt and second-guessing. And it’s demanding in the extreme.
Posted in Reading.
Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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