Titanic writer-director James Cameron is partnering with NatGeo for a new documentary to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the worldwide blockbuster. While Cameron established himself in Hollywood thanks to monster successes of films like Terminator in 1984, Aliens in 1986, T2: Judgement Day in 1991, and True Lies in 1994, there's no question that the filmmaker's 1997's historically-based adventure drama Titanic elevated his career to a whole new level.
Nominated for 14 Oscars and winning 11, including Best Picture and Best Director for Cameron, Titanic to date still ranks as one of the highest grossing films of all-time with $2.186 billion in global ticket sales; second only to the filmmaker's 2009 Best Picture Oscar nominee Avatar, which holds the top slot with $2.778 billion in box office receipts.
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the release of Titanic on Dec. 19, 1997, Cameron is teaming with NatGeo for a retrospective one-hour documentary on the film. According to EW, the documentary, titled Titanic: 20th Anniversary, will premiere on the cable channel in December.
The documentary will key in on Cameron's life during the making of the film, and will use new technology to analyze critical choices the helmer made during the production of the film. In addition, Titanic: 20th Anniversary will follow Cameron and other experts on the doomed ocean liner on a trip to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
In a statement, Cameron explained why he became involved in the documentary:
“When I wrote the film, and when I set out to direct it, I wanted every detail to be as accurate as I could make it, and every harrowing moment of the ship’s final hours accounted for. I was creating a living history; I had to get it right out of respect for the many who died and for their legacy. But did I really get it right? Now, with National Geographic and with the latest research, science and technology, I’m going to reassess.”
Clearly one of the more ambitious directors in recent Hollywood history (you have to remember, he's not making one Avatar sequel, but four), Titanic: 20th Anniversary promises to give a fascinating look into Cameron's risky project, which at the time cost a then-astounding $200 million to produce.
The film's success not only cemented Cameron's place in Hollywood history, it undoubtedly catapulted the careers of stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet to a whole new level. There's no word yet whether DiCaprio or Winslet will participate in Titanic: 20th Anniversary (or for that matter, other cast members including Billy Zane, Frances Fisher, Victor Garber or Kathy Bates), but for sure the classic romantic leads will have a presence in the documentary via footage from the 1997 film.
If DiCaprio chooses not to participate in Cameron's Titanic anniversary documentary, the actor's influence will still be all over NatGeo in another project. The cable channel announced Tuesday that DiCaprio is an executive producer on a new series based on the 1984 Oscar-winning drama The Right Stuff. DiCaprio's return to NatGeo comes less than a year after he produced and narrated the global warming documentary Before the Flood for the channel.