How the Abyss and the IMAX Documentary Titanica Led James Cameron to the Titanic

In a 1997 interview with Charlie Rose, Cameron revealed that the Titanic bug bit him while researching remote-controlled submersibles for “The Abyss” (i.e. Big Geek and Little Geek). He was meeting famed oceanographer Robert Ballard, who discovered the rusting remains of the Titanic off Newfoundland in 1985.

According to Cameron, “[Ballard] still hadn’t gotten over the Titanic, and he wanted to show me his tapes of how they found out, and so on. So this little infection started right there. I had the germ, and I didn’t know it. It was in incubation.”

Cameron’s interests are many and his curiosity is insatiable. That germ took root, and it grew like kudzu. As he told Rose:

“[I]always loved history, especially antiquities: ancient Rome and Greece […] but the whole story, really. And so I started reading the history of the Titanic, not just the physics of the wreck and the high tech to find it, but… you know, who were these people? And what have they been through? And it became such a compelling story for me, as it does for a lot of people who get sucked into the Titanic vortex.”

There was one last inspiration lurking deep within Cameron, and it sparked his interest in the IMAX format.

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