I’ve had people tell me that I didn’t give enough details from the James Cameron party I went to in Malibu on April 12. So, I wrote a part II. Hey, he’s done a couple Terminators and sequels, why shouldn’t I?
From the large spread of food catered, I ate chicken, corn, and a hamburger. The African-American guy serving was friendly and I joked about it being 90 degrees while he was grilling in the sun. He said, “I’ve had worse times with the weather. But, I wasn’t even supposed to work this party. One of my workers couldn’t make it.”
When I finished eating, I saw Cameron’s wife Suzy Amis, the actress I wanted to sign my DVD. My girlfriend said asking for an autograph would be cheesy at a swanky affair, so I tucked the DVD into my back pocket.
I told her how I loved the movie Fandango and that Kevin Costner often says it’s the best movie he’s done. She talked a little about it and her marriage to co-star Sam Robards. I said, “I love his dad, Jason. What a great actor.” She replied, “Oh, yeah, he was just amazing.”
She and Robards have a 6’5” son who likes to surf. My girlfriend asked, “Do you ever make it to San Diego?”
She mentioned a time that she offered to take her son anywhere he wanted to go surfing. He said San Diego and they ended up at the Wavehouse in Mission Beach. She talked about how she’d paid for him to have an hour riding the waves there, and he’d said, “You don’t have to do that, Mom. It’s probably expensive.”
She talked about being on the set of Fandango and how she could shoot a gun better than any of the guys. She said, “I grew up on a farm in Oklahoma. My sister and I learned how to shoot. The guys were talking tough on the set, but I was the only one who was hitting the cans off the fence. None of them could. They were shocked.”
She talked a bit about raising her kids. “I figured one of us needed to be with the kids. And, he wasn’t about to stop working,” she said, pointing at Cameron.
I asked her how she got the part in Usual Suspects. She said, “Kevin Bacon called me and said his friend was directing this little film.”
I said, “Did you know that little film would become so big?” She laughed and said, “No. We had it in festivals and we thought that would be that.” I then said, “My girlfriend is going to kill me, but...would you mind signing the DVD for me?” She obliged.
James Cameron was behind us talking about movies with someone and said, “I only had six days off this year. I can’t believe I’m still married.” Amis smiled and said, “I’ll always stay married to you,” and kissed him.
I went back outside, and it was a weird coincidence that I walked by someone saying that Cameron had been married five times.
A few minutes later, I saw him playing in the pool with his four-year-old son.
There was a military-looking Hummer in the back yard. I thought it was used in the movie True Lies, but I wasn’t sure. My stepdad and I went to look at it. It was filled with hoses and pool supplies.
When desserts were brought out, I grabbed a few brownies and headed back to my table. There were some people sitting there who are working on Cameron’s new film, Avatar. I said, “I know what avatar is in relation to computers, but what else does it mean?”
One guy said, “Someone with great knowledge and intelligence.” My girlfriend leaned in and whispered, “Clearly, neither of us.”
He went on to tell us that it was a great script Cameron had written.
My girlfriend went into Cameron’s “screening room,” as everyone called it. I’d call it a movie theater because that’s what it is, with comfortable couch-style seating. She watched Ghosts of the Abyss. Cameron was in the other room talking about the two model boats he had encased in glass. Soon, everyone ended up in the screening room. Cameron then showed us footage of the Bismarck that had never been seen.
My girlfriend joked, “Would he get mad if I took his Bismarck out of that glass and played with it in the pool? I’d do that Nazi march as I walked into the deep end with it, a finger over my lip like a mustache.” We started laughing and couldn’t stop. Even as Cameron explained the various scenes, it was a struggle to hold in the giggles. This gay guy at the party who had joked with me earlier (“Why do I keep saying I’m gay? It’s not really relevant to what we’re talking about.”) told me he couldn’t wear the 3-D glasses. I said, “Why, because they aren’t cool?” He said, “No, I have a problem with my eyes.”
After 45 minutes of footage, which included Gwen Stefani singing in 3-D, people asked Cameron questions. One was about the original Titanic movie in 3-D, but no studio wanted to pay the $12 million it would cost. The guy said, “It would easily make that money back. Studios should know it has a built-in audience.” Cameron said, “Yeah, well, they need to take their heads out of their asses.”
After a few more questions about ships, I told Cameron I had heard someone was going to make a movie on the U.S.S. Indianapolis (the true story about a ship in World War II that lost over 500 men to sharks after it had been torpedoed). He said, “No, I don’t think so. That subject matter is too dark.”
After a few more questions were thrown at him, I said “Let’s see some footage of Avatar.” Everyone laughed, and Cameron said, “That’s top secret.”
As we were leaving the screening room, I said, “This was like Inside the Directors Studio with James Cameron.” No one laughed.
A few people snapped photos of him. I said, “You must hate the fact that cell phones have cameras.” He said, “Why would I?”
“Because now everyone has a camera with them, and you have to constantly stop for pictures.” He smiled and said, “Yeah, that’s true.”
I went over to a table that had shade. I got into a conversation with some filmmakers about the scariest villain in movies. I told them Siskel & Ebert debated whether Hal in 2001 could be considered a villain. As we all weighed in on that, one guy said, “Do you realize we sound like complete geeks?” I said, “No, not really. Unless we’re talking about episode three of the first season of Star Trek.”
He replied, “Maybe more so if we were talking about Star Trek. But we still sound like those geeks that debate these things online. Here we are at this great party and we’re talking about movie villains.”
Maybe he was right.