Then the time came to start work on the music. Cameron initially wanted to use Enya, but they informed him that they don’t do musical projects. Cameron came to James Horner and when Horner met with Cameron, after reading the script, he said he was thinking of a sound similar to Enya’s. Cameron thought someone had put him up to saying that, but they had not. When Horner came back with the demo, Cameron was in tears, after hearing it. It was just what he was looking for, with a few exceptions.

Paramount was shocked when they first saw the trailer, for the film. They were expecting an action film, and the shots of Old Rose threw them for a loop. But after a few revisions, it was shown at the Showest Convention and it was met with excitement.

The riser, that would raise and lower the life size set, was 700-feet loon and went from just forward of the bridge, back to the area between the second and third funnels. Sinking the set was a tough thing. The first time they lowered the riser, it was tough to raise back up. Then they tried to counter that by building steel cages filled with Styrofoam, but that caused the ship to sink too slowly, so they used metal grating instead of the plywood, to cut down on resistance. To film the ship breaking up, they first filmed a model breaking apart, and Cameron was pleased. So when they filmed the full-sized set breaking apart, Cameron loved the result.

The last scene filmed was Captain Smith’s death. A stunt man was used for the captain, and Cameron was the sole cameraman. He was wearing a wet suit, helmet, and full scuba gear. After the scene was shot, Cameron said "That water hit me like a bulldozer and slammed me against the wall. I remember thinking, ‘Lord take me now, because post-production is going to be a bitch!"

Editing took two months and Cameron had to dish out the effects to several companies, instead of just Digital Domain, which he is chairman. It was apparent that the July 4th deadline would not be met. Cameron still had to do the audio looping, which is a voice re-recording used to fix problems in the sound, in the original shoot. Cameron estimated he would need at least 5 or 6 days with each of his two stars. The music still hadn’t been finished, and James Horner was really under the gun. Cameron would still need time to preview the movie several times, to make sure everything was perfect. With a 3-hour movie, you can’t do it but maybe two times a day.

The Studios were going at each other’s throat, about the release date. Cameron called Peter Chernin and told him that the film would only be at 85% if it released on July 4th, but Christmastime was a much better time. On May 27, Paramount announced Titanic would be released on December 19, 1997. This left July 4th opened for Face/Off and Men In Black, which prompted Will Smith to say "I own Fourth of July".

July 14th was the first test screening of Titanic and it was kept in utmost secrecy. They gave tickets to people in Minneapolis and told them they would be seeing Great Expectations. The version the audience saw was a rough version, with a sound track Cameron did himself on his home editing equipment. The result was, it was a huge success, although most people thought it was too long. After two more test screenings, Cameron cut some scenes and took the movie from 3 hours 22 minutes to 3 hours 15 minutes, and this time only two people thought it was too long.

Cameron had also been finalizing the musical score, with James Horner, and had him redo several cues. Horner thought the movie needed to end with a song, as the credits ran, but he knew Cameron didn’t want a song. Horner secretly contacted Will Jennings to write the lyrics and Celine Dion to sing it. They recorded a demo and after several weeks of waiting for the right time, Horner played it for Cameron. Cameron loved the song, but still wasn’t sure he wanted a song. On the night before his birthday, he made the decision to include the song.

The next thing to do was make the final adjustments to sound, color, timing, etc. He did this at Skywalker Ranch and worked long hours making everything perfect. The final bit of drama came when Fox announced the worldwide premiere would be in Tokyo on November 1. Paramount was furious, but they could not do anything about it. The film was a hit and the rest is history.

I took the bulk of the information, for this portion of the web site, from Titanic and the Making of James Cameron, by Paula Parisi. I also took information from an article in the February 1998, issue of Wired Magazine, also by Paula Parisi, as well as information from the book entitled James Cameron’s Titanic.


To see images on the making of Titanic, click the next page link below.

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