Special effects wizard and blockbuster director James Cameron was busy getting in touch with his oceanographer side this weekend. The Avatar and Titanic filmmaker completed a record-breaking Mariana Trench dive — a place National Geographic describes as “Earth’s deepest, and perhaps most alien, realm.”
He’s the first person to take a solo dive into the ocean’s cavernous recesses — a section of Pacific waters known as “Challenger Deep” that extends 35,768 feet deep. In 1960, Navy Lt. Don Walsh and the late Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard made the journey with few instruments at their disposal and were unable to see much beyond the clouds of mud stirred up from the ocean floor when they made touchdown. Cameron, however, spent three hours in his Deepsea Challenger armed with multiple 3D cameras, a robotic claw, “slurp gun,” and an eight-foot LED tower for illuminating the murky depths — technology similar to the kind hinted at in his most popular films like Terminator and Avatar. Scientists will be reporting some of their findings from Cameron’s samples later today. National Geographic magazine will feature a story about the event, and a 3D feature film centered on the historic dive is also in the works. In total, Cameron has taken 70 deep submersible dives — even visiting the real-life Titanic shipwreck 33 different times.
Clearly Cameron’s passion for diving is as strong as his love of filmmaking. We felt inspired by his deep sea adventures to explore some of the other crazy and compelling things filmmakers have done in their everyday lives. Read on for more, and leave your votes below.
Body horror auteur David Cronenberg has hinted at his love of cars and all things racing in movies like Crash and the most random chapter in his filmmaking career — 1979 B-action film, Fast Company. The director is an avid race fan and accomplished driver, having even raced several vintage cars. His interests led him to an unrealized feature film (for which there is a completed script) about the Formula One Championship rivalry between Ferrari drivers Phil Hill and Wolfgang Von Trips. The filmmaker eventually published an illustrated art book version of his unproduced screenplay.