“He’d be making rubber fish while everybody else was out partying”: James Cameron Was Fired From His Worst Movie After a Production Nightmare

James Cameron Was Fired From His Worst Movie After a Production Nightmare

James Cameron is one of the biggest directors with movies like Titanic, The Terminator series, and the Avatar franchise. But he wasn’t always the big name he is today. The director has seen his fair share of ups and downs while he was still learning the skill. The director was even fired from the first movie that he joined after working as a special effects artist for years.

James Cameron
James Cameron

The movie, Piranha II: The Spawning was the sequel to 1978’s Piranha, an independent movie written by Charles H. Eglee. The director was chosen for the job by the executive producer, Ovidio G. Assonitis, who had fired the original director Miller Drake from the project. But the production turned into a nightmare.

James Cameron’s first movie was a production nightmare

After the executive producer, Ovidio G. Assonitis fired the original director, James Cameron was picked to helm the project. But it was a complete disaster and even today, Cameron does not want to be associated with the project. He was also fired and he tried to get his name out of the credits of the film.

The book, A Critical Companion to James Cameron revealed what happened behind the scenes of the movie. It even claimed that the project had troubled production and was set to fail even before it started.

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A still from Piranha II
A still from Piranha II

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The book mentions,

“The film’s troubled production, which saw Cameron fired and forced to break into a studio to edit the movie that still bore his name, led him to later disavow the flying fish movie as his first directorial credit.”

The book even stated that the director was passionate about his directorial debut but the producers and the crew had abandoned the project. It was a sinking ship, and according to the actor Lance Henriksen, James Cameron was “making rubber fish while everybody else was out partying.

Though James Cameron was fired, he could not legally remove his name from the credits, but he has disowned the project and never mentions it as one of his works. In fact, he calls The Terminator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, his directorial debut.

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Piranha II helped James Cameron find the idea to make The Terminator

After Piranha II crashed and burned and the world forgot that it even existed, James Cameron needed something that would solidify his name as a director in Hollywood. But he already had an idea for another film that had taken over him while they were still shooting the sequel in Rome. The director recalled that he had a dream that gave him the idea for his ‘real’ debut movie.

The Terminator
The Terminator

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He stated in an interview with 60 Minutes,

“I was sick with a high fever. Had a dream of this chrome metallic death figure coming out of a fire. Kind of a skeletal robot, if you will. So I woke up with that image in mind, did some drawings, and then just structured a story around that image.”

He stated after the Piranha II debacle he knew he had to write his own movie because no one would hire him. Well, The Terminator now is one of the most quoted, loved, and watched franchises. And for James Cameron, he is the only director with three movies that have grossed over $2 billion.

Source: Screen Rant

Written by Gargi

Gargi Mishra is the Senior Editor at FandomWire. Serves as the Editor for writers and pens hard-hitting, industry-shaking, ace-tier editorials herself. A film student, she's the repository of everything infotainment at FandomWire. Above all, she loves K-Pop, K-Dramas, and Anime.