The Futurist

The Futurist Cover

The Futurist

The Life and Films of James Cameron

By Rebecca Keegan

Three Rivers Press (CA), Paperback, 9780307460325, 283pp.

Publication Date: October 5, 2010


With the release of Avatar in December 2009, James Cameron cements his reputation as king of sci-fi and blockbuster filmmaking. It’s a distinction he’s long been building, through a directing career that includes such cinematic landmarks as The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, and the highest grossing movie of all time, Titanic. The Futurist is the first in-depth look at every aspect of this audacious creative genius—culminating in an exclusive behind-the-scenes glimpse of the making of Avatar, the movie that promises to utterly transform the way motion pictures are created and perceived. As decisive a break with the past as the transition from silents to talkies, Avatar pushes 3-D, live action, and photo-realistic CGI to a new level. It rips through the emotional barrier of the screen to transport the audience to a fabulous new virtual world.
            With cooperation from the often reclusive Cameron, author Rebecca Keegan has crafted a singularly revealing portrait of the director’s life and work. We meet the young truck driver who sees Star Wars and sets out to learn how to make even better movies himself—starting by taking apart the first 35mm camera he rented to see how it works. We observe the neophyte director deciding over lunch with Arnold Schwarzenegger that the ex-body builder turned actor is wrong in every way for the Terminator role as written, but perfect regardless. After the success of The Terminator, Cameron refines his special-effects wizardry with a big-time Hollywood budget in the creation of the relentlessly exciting Aliens. He builds an immense underwater set for The Abyss in the massive containment vessel of an abandoned nuclear power plant—where he pushes his scuba-breathing cast to and sometimes past their physical and emotional breaking points (including a white rat that Cameron saved from drowning by performing CPR). And on the set of Titanic, the director struggles to stay in charge when someone maliciously spikes craft services’ mussel chowder with a massive dose of PCP, rendering most of the cast and crew temporarily psychotic.
            Now, after his movies have earned over $5 billion at the box office, James Cameron is astounding the world with the most expensive, innovative, and ambitious movie of his career. For decades the moviemaker has been ready to tell the Avatar story but was forced to hold off his ambitions until technology caught up with his vision. Going beyond the technical ingenuity and narrative power that Cameron has long demonstrated, Avatar shatters old cinematic paradigms and ushers in a new era of storytelling.                                                                                                 

The Futurist
is the story of the man who finally brought movies into the twenty-first century.

About the Author
As a Hollywood-based contributor to "Time" magazine, Rebecca Keegan has profiled actors and directors including Francis Ford Coppola, Will Smith, and Penelope Cruz. She has written trend stories about 3-D, horror auteurs, and fanboy culture and penned play-by-plays of the Oscars, the Sundance Film Festival, and Comic-Con. She spent seven years in "Time"'s New York bureau covering breaking news stories such as 9/11, Osama bin Laden, and the Catholic Church sex-abuse crisis. She has appeared on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and NPR. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband. "From the Hardcover edition."

Praise For The Futurist

"A fascinating journey into the mind of the master, as meticulously detailed and entertaining as Cameron's greatest works. A humanizing and warm look into the man behind the machinery. Rebecca Keegan reveals sides of Cameron never before seen by his public and gives us an intimate, warm portrait of a mysterious genius. A must read for fans and filmmakers alike. This biography will become one of the bibles for all aspiring filmmakers." --ELI ROTH, director and actor

"An empathetic and incisive portrait of the most authentic visionary - and genuine renaissance man - in the movie business." --MARK FROST, co-creator of Twin Peaks

"What a pleasure -- a writer who can really write and a subject we really need, as well as want, to know more about." —JOE MORGENSTERN, film critic, Wall Street Journal