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James Cameron's Advice to Del Toro: 'Get Out' from 'The Hobbit'

by
August 14, 2010
Source: Herald Sun

Guillermo del Toro & James Cameron

I'm trying not to put any spin on this, but I know this is already going to turn into one of those "who does he think he is?" kind of stories. In an interview with Australia's Herald Sun, Avatar director James Cameron talked mostly about his $2 billion box office smash but also touched on his upcoming Guillermo del Toro collaboration of their adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness, talking briefly about his good friend and fellow filmmaker. Interestingly, they feature some quotes from Cameron where he says that he actually told del Toro to "get out" of The Hobbit and "do his [own] thing." Looks like he took his advice.

Although some may disagree with me, I think James Cameron is definitely someone to trust when he gives out advice, just look at how successful his movies have been even when we all thought they wouldn't do well. That said, it's not like Cameron thought The Hobbit was in trouble or anything like that, he just wanted each of the filmmakers to do what they do best own their own. Here are the key Cameron quotes from the article:

"I was telling him for a long time to get out of that thing because there is only room for one captain on the ship," Cameron says. "Instinctively I knew that Peter was going to take over and do the movie. Guillermo, to his credit, didn't listen to me and wanted to do continue and had some great designs - and I have seen all the designs."

"Of course he would have done a spectacular job, but don't we want to see Peter do it? He should do it and Guillermo should do his thing. That's what I told both of them - you should just stay in your corners."

Now, don't think this is just some thing he randomly said once and is being pulled completely out of context. TheOneRing.net pulled some old quotes from Cameron and del Toro over the years that definitely prove the two have been friends and Cameron has seen the designs. Although in an AICN interview, Cameron said "the two [design] styles (Peter Jackson/Weta + del Toro) mix perfectly together." However, Del Toro also said on TORn: "Jim and I have been dear friends for over 17 years now. But that has not prevented us being very critical of each other's work through the years." Interesting to see all these quotes connected together now.

We now know that del Toro's next projects (instead of The Hobbit, per se) are At the Mountains of Madness and writing/producing Disney's The Haunted Mansion reboot (and maybe Paradise Lost?). However, with MGM still stuck in limbo, we're not sure if Peter Jackson will indeed return to direct both Hobbit movies or if they're still considering someone else (since he seemed opposed at first). This is just an interesting story coming out about del Toro's surprise departure from The Hobbit in May. Sadly, it seems like that adaptation is more doomed than any other production. We'll continue to keep you updated on everything. Thoughts?

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  • 8=D
    who the fuck does he think he is?!!!!!!
  • one
    Not as bad as I was expecting, he has a point...we do want to see Jackson do the Hobbit. That being said, he is still a douche...his movies are not any good. Technically, yes, story, character, plot.. they are just weak. But no one seems to care, and neither does he cause they make billion. He's the Obama of the film industry haha.
  • Xerxex
    He's getting all "Oh I'm better than all of you therefore my will is law" kind of guy.
  • I think Cameron's right (and I'm not a fanboy). I want to see Peter Jackson complete his own work if you will and give us a 'The Hobbit' film that fits nicely against his own Lord Of The Rings trilogy. At the same time, I want to see ANYTHING Del Toro dreams up, and this way it's the best of both worlds.
  • Hattori Hanzo
    Good advice on Cameron's part. He knows that after raking in billions of dollars in sales, 3 best picture and best director nods that includes wins in both categories for Return of the King, who in their right mind would dream of taking on The Hobbit. Middle Earth on film belongs to Jackson the same way the books belong to Tolkien and anyone who disagrees needs be fed to Shelob.
  • Al
    Fine, If no one else is stepping in to make the Hobbit, I'll direct the damn thing. There, glad we could clear that up.
  • filmfan111
    who cares what he says or thinks. I enjoyed some of Camerons movies But Avatar sucked. But it sure was a huge success in terms on box office. As a film fan. it was just disappointing in every aspect. Pretty much all LOTR fans only wanted Peter to do The Hobbit.. The next best choice would of been del toro. And together i think it would of been just fine.
  • How can you say that the films made by one of the greatest film makers of our time aren't "any good." Cameron gave us the best rendition of the Alien storyline and came up with arguably the best and most widely used character in the past 3 decades with The Terminator. To this date The Terminator is also one of the most meticulously crafted time travel story lines ever. If you want to talk about plot then why don't you go watch The Abyss or Titanic again. He took a restricted environment in both those films and used plot and characters alone to drive a 3 hour story (not to mention that in the latter we already knew the ending). I've read countless books about Cameron and he built his entire empire from nothing as opposed to other film makers who use their industry connections to get their first film off the ground. Cameron took over Piranha 2 to network himself and then wrote Terminator after having a dream when he was driving a truck for a living. I could go on for days about how important he is to modern day cinema, but I know it'd be like arguing religion with a christian so I won't bother. Also, to say that Avatar had a bad story is ludicrous. It told an age old tale in a contemporary way and was executed beautifully which is all I ask from my film makers. Do you hate The Matrix because the bible covered that story first or how about The Lion King because Shakespeare came up with that idea? Also, stop saying "the effects" in Avatar were the only redeeming quality. He reinvented the way we shoot film with Avatar and it had nothing to do with the painted effects that ended up in the final product. He wanted to be able to see his characters in their environment and allow the actors to relate to something more than a tennis ball to elicit the proper emotion from them during a scene. He shot the entire film in previs with doubles (which had never been done before) before the actors even arrived so that when they did show up the entire world of Pandora would already be prepared for them to step into. He invented cameras, came up with an entire new language, made the Weta artists explain the evolutionary purpose of every feature on every creature in writing, and built custom gimbals along with calling in personal connections with aviation companies to ensure the banking and diving of the air ships vs the banshees were noticeably realistic rather than relying on a flight path programmed into Maya. People like to slander Cameron because he's confident about his films and knows how to market himself to make billions of dollars by playing by his own set of rules. As shown with GDT, he's respected widely in the industry for speaking his mind which also happens to be the truth that most do not want to hear. I could go on forever so please feel free to submit your rebuttal. Please go into more detail than "his movies are not any good" though.
  • jeffrey Lamar
    I was against this Guillermo Hobbit b.s. since it's inception.
  • Al
    Peloquin, - that Aliens thing is debatable and all subjective. All the Alien fans I know (myself included) prefer Scott's first film - the truck driver 'dream' thing is a good story (has nothing to do with his films) - Lion King, Matrix, and pretty much anything else you could say borrowed doesn't lift entire character arcs, Avatar does. It doesn't lift detail for detail to the point of predictability, like Avatar does. - "Also, stop saying "the effects" in Avatar were the only redeeming quality...." That was a very well put together paragraph (not being sarcastic) and I totally agree, however the paragraph only focuses on...guess what, the effects. How they came to be, the roll they played in the film, how advanced they are. So all you did was go into detail what a lot of us have been saying, congratulations. I have yet to hear someone (whose seen Pocahontas, or possibly otherwise) praise the story of Avatar. Basically, when it comes down to it, its all opinion based. Cameron for me is hit or miss, nothing great, but I respect the fact that some people enjoy his films. Theres no such thing as a definitive answer in art.
  • Alex T.
    @Al. Reread Peloquin's "effects" paragraph and you'll realize the major point he's trying to make is that people are dumb to ONLY praise the final product effects in Avatar and not the technology that Cameron created and used to develop those effects, which is a much bigger deal. We already knew WETA was good with cgi, what we didn't have before was this new camera system. The rest of his statements are just proving how much attention to detail Cameron put into this project, which is also something any film or sci fi fan should appreciate in addition to any effects or innovations this movie had to offer.
  • KEN
    James Cameron? 'Get out' of Avatar 2 and 3!!! You're not the type who makes brainless sequals before the script is even finished. Make Battle Angel Alita. PLease. For all of us. Before the next nuclear war.
  • Al
    11, "what we didn't have before was this new camera system" I chalk that one up to effects, it as after all tech. He was praising the detail, but the detail created with the effects. My sentiments shall not be withdrawn.
  • Cracky
    @8 Man, there has got to be a way to paraphrase that. But I see your point and I like it. In any case, bad or good... Cameron makes successful and ground-breaking movies. He does. And I think his advice is golden compared to many, many directors these days. He is masterful. So take that juice and drink it, because whatever Cameron is squeezin' is obviously delicious. del Toro seems to think so. Bingo bango.
  • Eli
    When I read the headline I wanted to scream and tell Cameron to shut it. lol. But thinking about all of their situations, del toro, Cameron, and Jackson, it was thoughtful of him to put that two cents in. I was never for del toro doing the hobbit. Still Cameron seems like a bit of a prick, but that's not to say I don't respect him or his work.
  • tEDDY bESS
    Cameron was right.
  • Jon A.
    Asking Del Toro to get his head out of his ass and wipe all of the sh*t off his glasses would be a better advice.
  • Alex T.
    @Al. Tech does not equal effects. Thats like saying a hammer is the same thing as a house because you use it to build one. And the detail he was praising would never had been if Cameron and his team hadn't thought things through prior to making the film. Cameron put a lot of thought into a lot of little stuff like the realistic air maneuvers he mentioned. You can't use effects to create something unless you have an idea of what you want to create to begin with, and Cameron paid extra special attention to areas other filmmakers wouldn't have. This again is something to be appreciated.
  • Raymond D. Douche
    James fucking Cameron that's who he think he is! Anyway, I don't get the drama of Del Toro leaving The Hobbit. Guy's overrated, he's done only one truly great movie. And yes I would totally prefer seeing Jackson doing it.
  • W
    Peter Jackson is doing the Hobbit. It is starting by the end of this year. They are already building the cameras and have the workflow. So this isn't doomed. The biggest misconception on this whole thing is that MGM has a say in it...they really don't. This is Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema.
  • Sroe
    #8 hardcore Cameron fanboy Titanic script=weak Avatar script/characters=weak Terminator=good Alien=good He's not a god of film making. He's done great stuff sure, and makes a lot of money but directors SHOULD NEVER, and I mean never tell another director what to do. That's like me walking into the back of a restaurant, since I know how to cook a steak, to tell the head chef how to do it. It's rude, you don't do it. You let the other people fucking handle what's going to happen. This is bullshit I cannot believe that Cameron would say this, it just shows how insensitive of a film maker and obviously a person he is. I don't want Avatar 2, and I don't want Avatar re release, I want a god damn original story. Is that so much to ask?
  • Mr.Cookie
    I`m a little confused about the whole MGM ordeal. Since when were they in charge of things? Doesn`t the rights belong to New Line/WB?
  • Sroe
    In a rebuttal though to the whole Peloquin stuff here's why James Cameron is by no means the jesus christ of film making. 1) If you notice he is a terrible script writer. His only good scripts have been when he partners up with someone. Other then that, it's full of cheezy one liners and just god awful dialogue. And you can blame the actors delivery but even a shitty script can't be saved by a god of acting. 2) Like I stated previously he has done some good stuff. I do enjoy the Terminator movies, he did a good job creating that universe, however Avatar is not original in the slightest. You can literally pick scenes and compare them to other films that exist and they work shot for shot. In the scene with the wolf beasts, that's Beauty and the Beast, when the giant tree falls that's Titanic(HE STOLE IT FROM HIS OWN MOVIE) And yes the story has been done before, and I'm not chastising it for that, because if you notice when a story has been done before usually it's done differently. The only difference is James Cameron put it in space, which doesn't even feel like it because it looks just like Earth. The story does not save the shallow characters, the god horrendous dialogue and the overall bland aftertaste it left in my mouth. 3) I will say that Avatar's CGI was incredible. The cameras that were used were amazing. But I honestly think that the best part about the film was that it engaged you not through characters or dialogue but the look of it. In 3D it felt like I was on Pandora, and that was cool however after 3 hours I got sick and tired of looking at the same crap over and over again. In conclusion, James Cameron has done good stuff, but by no means should have told Del Toro what to do. Let the man make his craft to quote Cameron "THEY SHOULD BOTH STAY IN THEIR CORNERS" he apparently does not heed his own advice. Thank you and goodnight.
  • Loser
    So Cameron gave some advice to his friend of 17 years, and people gets upset. Yeah you guys surely have never had an opinion or advice for your friends and you surely never voiced it to them. We are commenting and voicing our opinions on this site, saying we want this and that and that is cool but give a friend of 17 years an advice oooh no thats totally wrong. Thank good we are soo cool and right all the time so we can sit on our high horses judging every little thing everyone else does, hallelujah
  • knock knock, its jimbo
    he should really have told del toro not to direct again ever, after his hellboy abominatons and pan lab suckfest, i see him being more of a waiter serving tables for a living...not making films
  • tivdatsun
    OK, so James Cameron isn't the greatest script writer, nor producer for that matter (Re: Dark Angel). Big deal. James Cameron's talent is delivering on the big screen. He's been arrogant forever, he walks the wallk. 'Nuff Said.
  • beavis
    there is NO other choice to do "the hobbit" movies - it has to be jackson, since he did such a good job on LotR. alex, this seems (even by your own admission) like a non- story. why not find us some sort of inside-the-industry take on why in the hell "the hobbit" is (as you say) "more doomed"? the LotR movies did well in every sense that can be described. if MGM can't make movies, why is this property tied up to the point another studio can't buy the rights? if MGM is as bad off as has been written, how do they have the ability to hold onto the property - and WHY are the holding onto it? - this seems like a real story that needs coverage.
  • M
    What I think it's worst about what he said is this whole "if you go into that movie Peter Jackson is going to be all over your work". That's pretentious bull shit and extremely insulting to Peter Jackson.
  • Cameron is right. Although it would have been a treat to see The Hobbit under Del Toro's direction. I think we all would have wondered if Jackson spent the entire time whispering in Del Toro's ear. However, I trust both Jackson and Del Toro would have been professional and allowed for an exchange of ideas. That's what great filmmakers do. But, Cameron was right. I think moreso because it was taking far too long to get to production start time.
  • Alex T.
    @21. Sroe I would agree with your cook analogy, but it doesn't honestly reflect the actual situation. If you retooled the analogy you would see why you're wrong about what Cameron did. In reality you (Cameron) would walk back into the kitchen and find a head chef (Jackson) telling a sous chef (GDT) how to prepare all the meals his way. What you would do is say "Man this food awesome! Who made them?", and the sous chef would say he did but that it was the head chefs recipe. You would than say "Hey why are you here taking orders from this guy? You should open your own restaurant". That's what Cameron did. In a way you agree completely with Cameron. You said "...directors SHOULD NEVER, and I mean never tell another director what to do". Cameron's suggestion was to prevent another director, Jackson, from doing just that. At the end of the day it's just advice not an order, no one can really force anyone to do anything. If I told you to go screw yourself you wouldn't do it. Hopefully.
  • Al
    Then I guess I just found it too cliche, and I really can't be persuaded from that feeling. I'd honestly never watch the film again. I'm not arguing against Avatar just because its extremely successful, A year ago the number one film (unadjusted) was Titantic, and I enjoy that movie. To each his own I guess.
  • Dave Lister, J.M.C.
    OK... I was feeling indignant, until I read the whole quote. He wasn't really badmouthing anybody; he was just giving Del Toro and Jackson his view, on the situation. I don't happen to agree, with him. I think Peter Jackson would not have intruded, on Del Toro's directing, of the film. Cameron thinks he's right, since Del Toro to eventually left the film(s), albeit for other reasons; but I feel his advice was flawed. I think, if Del Toro had been able to stay with The Hobbit films, they would've turned out to be strong work; and a not-at-all harmful listing, in his filmography. As for Cameron, his films always look great; and he was a true pioneer, in the use of cutting edge effects, starting with 'The Abyss' and 'Terminator 2' and up through the amazing effects, in 'Avatar'. However, if he is going to do more, with 'Avatar', I would advise him, to come up with a more compelling story, to go along with the stunning visuals. I can't sit through another three hour effects reel.
  • My main point was that the look created by the finished effects was not what Cameron set out to do with his revolutionary filming techniques. He created the technology not to create a stunning digital look, but rather to enhance his ability as a director to elicit emotion from his actors by bringing them into the world usually created in post production. I'll agree that my Aliens and Terminator praise is highly subjective, and to say that Avatar lifts complete story arcs would also be a true statement. I've seen Pocahontas and Dances with Wolves and both those films were highly predictable with cheesy acting as well because there no other way to end a film like that then to have the protagonist evolve and discover the error in their ways just like Jake Sully. To have the film end with the humans slaughtering all the Navi in Avatar is simply not logical story telling (though it would have been original) and it has nothing to do with Cameron stealing his plot from somewhere else, it's simply good storytelling as any scriptwriting 101 class would teach you. There has to be some form of redemption so the audience doesn't feel cheated and they need to leave hopeful and optimistic. I brought up The Lion King and The Matrix because they DID lift complete story arcs as well which isn't a bad thing if executed correctly and as an homage to the original works. Think about the next generation who may not have seen Dances with Wolves, I'm sure they'll be saying that someone stole this theme from Avatar. I used to think that different and unique would automatically make a project better than something rehashed, but as I've gotten older I've grown to appreciate certain timeless story lines if they're executed passionately. A good story teller can take a classic theme and keep it alive for future generations and that is exactly what Cameron has done by moving the tale into space yet keeping it grounded in reality in a biologically similar setting to Earth. If these ideas weren't allowed to evolve then we'd be stuck with countless illogical sequels and films about board games.
  • Alex T.
    ^ Very well put.
  • bob
    Mr Cameron is right,peter wants to be first one in h0bbit and deltoro is not a rookie!
  • Craig
    "do his [own] thing." Strange advice from a man whose most recent hit is a Pocahontas remake...
  • beavis
    #29 - i don't think it would have been good to see del toro in charge of "the hobbit". i don't want him turning it into anything other than the classic fantasy that it is. based on PJ work with LotR.......he's the only guy i can see doing it.
  • Steph
    I don't think the issue is whether James Cameron should or shouldn't have told Del Toro to get out and do his own thing. My problem with this is that he felt the need to bring it up to the public. If Del Toro didn't feel the need to tell all the curious fans that James Cameron told him to get out so he did, why does James Cameron feel the need to? If this was truly a 'from one friend to another thing', then it should have stayed between them.
  • monal
    cameron is right....we can already see with T3 and T4 how directors can f up a movie series quickly when there should have been only 1 director involved. He isn't telling us his advice directly resulted in Del Toro leaving LOTR but was just chiming in with his advice to him which I'm sure everyone in Hollywood does to their counterparts...
  • Jonny
    Found this article while trying to track down some James Cameron wisdom. As an independent game developer I find I spend almost as much time and energy programming the thing as I do hunting for inspiration and guidance. The strange irony of starting-out as an independent, and often well-after becoming a success, you're actually forced to do your own thing because nobody else will invest as much time and energy and commitment to the project as you have. I have a couple friends who help me now and then with the project, one of whom has helped me with previous projects for many years now, but even he has his own ideas that he wants to pursue himself at some point. Therefore I am obliged to encourage him to also take steps towards producing his own creative work and establishing his own niche, his own corner. Right now I am struggling with the notion of cooperation because though a cooperative effort can produce superior results the time cost isn't necessarily better. On the one hand you have more hands to do the work but on the other hand more time is spent communicating, brainstorming, reviewing, and planning. There is also the initial cost of finding such talented colleagues and building trust with them.
  • Silvia M.
    he thinks he can outdo what peter jackson has done or what guillermo has potential of doing. smh

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