When Titanic took over our cinemas in 1997 the whole world watched.
Director James Cameron was the man with the vision to take Titanic and make it, at the time, the biggest movie the box office had ever seen.
When he visited Titanic Belfast, to launch the Blu Ray 2D and 3D versions of the movie, we were there to meet him.
Titanic wasn’t just about the ship itself. It was about the passengers, too. The box office is still picking up the pieces after being smashed by a story that pitted the most famous maritime disaster against Jack and Rose’s love.
According to Cameron, we can thank a Belfast man for the inspiration of that particular love story. Local lad William MacQuitty – he was present when Titanic set off on her maiden voyage – was the producer who drove the production of the other Titanic movie, A Night To Remember.
“I watched it and realised that a great human story was innate in the historic story about Titanic. That all occurred to me…after watching A Night to Remember.”
Having visited the Titanic wreck 33 times, this is the first time Cameron has been to Titanic Belfast. For fans of the movie that made stars of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, he’s brought some surprises with him. Props from the movie: “These props are sitting around my office or in a warehouse at Fox. It’s better for the thousands of people who will pass through here [Titanic Belfast] to see these things than for them to languish.”
Film fans will also remember the reference to Titanic’s beginnings as well as its demise. Cameron remembers the line well: “There’s an Irish character in the movie that says: ’14,000 Irishmen built this ship.’ I wanted to have that in the movie to touch on the idea of the pride of the craftsmanship.”
That legacy of craftmanship seems to have endured with Titanic Belfast. Cameron and Landau were impressed with what they saw.
“I don’t think I appreciated the scale of the project that spans the dry docks, the slipways and the whole museum. This is such a dramatic structure,” says Cameron.
Producer, Jon Landau, too, found the location to be rather special: “We felt the weight of history when we went around. To go to the dry dock where Titanic and Olympic were built; to really begin to get a sense of scale of what was built here.”
A visit to the SS Nomadic, Titanic’s tender ship, was also a special moment for Landau: “They also have the Nomadic here. You walk onto that ship and you’re walking into a timewarp. This was built a century ago by people here in Belfast…To really see the labour of love that went into building that ship was great”.
But enough from us, why not watch the interview for yourself?
Here it is: James Cameron – The Titanic Belfast Interview