James Cameron, the filmmaker whose credits include “Avatar” and “Titanic,” plunged on Sunday in a minisubmarine of his own design to the bottom of the planet’s deepest recess, sinking through the dark waters of the western Pacific to a depth of nearly seven miles.
Ultimately, I suspect that Cameron, despite his remarkable fluency as a visual storyteller, is less interested in making movies about science fiction heroes than in being a science fiction hero himself, an inventive engineer straight out of a Heinlein novel such as The Door into Summer.
As Cameron’s aspirations have swelled, he’s made himself into an offscreen, yet central, figure in his own movies, perhaps more than any filmmaker since Cecil B. DeMille. Will Cameron go broke shooting Titanic? Will he revolutionize filmmaking and movie-going in Avatar? The looming presence of James Cameron in James Cameron films has become both intrusive and inspiring.
This makes Cameron, in a strange way, more interesting than his own movies.