Two days ago, James Cameron made world headlines for reportedly finding himself about 11 1/4 kilometers below sea level in the Marianas Trench, which is supposed to be the deepest spot on Earth. Whether as a testament to human-made technology or human-made p.r., Cameron was actually able to tweet to his followers: "Just arrived at the ocean’s deepest pt. Hitting bottom never felt so good. Can’t wait to share what I’m seeing w/ you."
Fast forward a couple of days and Cameron is above ground in London with Kate Winslet (photo) — but not Leonardo DiCaprio — at the premiere of Titanic 3D, the (are you ready?) 3D version of Cameron’s 1997 multiple-Oscar-winning megablockbuster about a luxury liner that sank to the bottom of the ocean nearly a century ago. So, does that mean the timing of Cameron’s deep-sea diving to-do and the ensuing Mariana Trench tweet were merely a couple of Titanic-related p.r. stunts? No way.
"It’s right to go frm @DeepChallenge dives to the #Titanic3D premiere," explained Cameron via another tweet, "b/c the same driving force inspired both, my fascination w/deep #oceans."
I’m assuming it’s also right to have the world premiere of Titanic coincide with the 100th anniversary of the ship’s first (and last) voyage from Southampton in April 1912 (more exactly, April 10, 1912). Titanic opens in the United States on April 4. It opens in the UK two days later.
Paramount, 20th Century Fox, and Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment have reportedly spent 60 weeks and $18 million on the Titanic’s full restoration and 2D-to-3D conversion.
In early 1998, Titanic was nominated for a record-tying (with Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s All About Eve) 14 Academy Awards. Cameron’s romantic disaster epic-melodrama went on to receive 11 Oscars (including Best Picture and Best Director), tying the record of William Wyler’s equally mammoth 1959 Ben-Hur. (In early 2004, another superproduction, Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, would also win 11 Oscars.)
Kate Winslet, veteran Gloria Stuart (Roman Scandals, The Invisible Man, The Old Dark House), and the Titanic’s makeup crew were the only Titanic nominees who failed to take home an Oscar statuette: Winslet lost to Helen Hunt in James L. Brooks’ As Good as It Gets, Stuart lost to Kim Basinger in Curtis Hanson’s L.A. Confidential, while the Tommy Lee Jones-Will Smith actioner Men in Black won for Best Makeup.
I should add that both Leonardo DiCaprio and James Cameron’s screenplay were by passed by the Academy. Else, Titanic would have boasted a record-shattering 16 Oscar nods.
In addition to DiCaprio, Winslet, and Stuart, Titanic features The Roommate / The Mule’s Billy Zane, Misery / About Schmidt’s Kathy Bates (as "The Unsinkable Molly Brown"), Haywire / Shanghai Calling’s Bill Paxton, Frances Fisher, Bernard Hill, David Warner, Victor Garber, The Usual Suspects / Firestorm’s Suzy Amis (Cameron’s wife since 2000), Mark Lindsay Chapman, Jonathan Hyde, Danny Nucci, and Sanctum / Fantastic Four’s Ioan Gruffudd.