Paula Parisi, a specialist in film technology reporting, covered James Cameron's work for the Hollywood Reporter beginning with The Abyss. Starting during preproduction for Titanic, she conducted more than one hundred hours of interviews with the director, his associates, his friends, and dozens of top Hollywood executives, agents, and producers. She made many visits to the principal movie set in Mexico. Wired magazine featured excerpts from her book as a cover story when it was first published, and it's since been hailed as a "must-have book" for any Titanic or James Cameron fan or film enthusiast.
In the wake of James Cameron's Titanic (14 Academy nominations, 11 Oscars, a billion-dollar worldwide box office), Parisi traces the development of project "Big Boat" from inception to conclusion in a tribute to "the man who did more than any other to revolutionize the look of film as we enter the new millennium." Written in a breezy, reportorial style, the book details the execution of Cameron's vision of Titanic "as a kind of living history." Cameron's notorious perfectionism prompted the building of a 750-foot replica of the Titanic and the building of Cameron's own film studio in Mexico. Called the 100 Day Studio, it was the first built by one of the Hollywood majors since the 1930s. Taking responsibility for his excesses, Cameron (in an unprecedented move) reassigned his profit-sharing back to Twentieth Century-Fox. Surpassing Waterworld's gigantic budget, Titanic became the most expensive movie ever made. Staffers wore T-shirts proclaiming: "You Can't Scare Me I Work for James Cameron." But Mr. Action King pulled it off. At the cost of $1 million per minute, Titanic became the highest-grossing film ever in the U.S., exceeding Star Wars. There is an old-fashioned feel to the story of the making of Titanic, and Parisi's lively portrayal recalls the egomaniacal geniuses of yore, particularly D.W. Griffith, whose daring innovations founded the movies as an art form by 1912. Is Cameron the D.W. Griffith of the 21st century? Time, the greatest Titan of all, will tell. 16-page color photo insert not seen by PW. (June)