An overview of ‘Titanic’ director’s early mishaps and accomplishments
By Jonathan Pabico, Senior Columnist
Media scrutiny, overbudgeting, and even an incident on set involving drugged soup.
If you’re a movie buff that really loves podcasts about film history, I can gladly recommend Blockbuster: The Story of James Cameron. Creator Matt Schrader began this show with its first season of six episodes that skillfully mapped out the early movie careers of directors George Lucas and Steven Spielberg during the 1970s. Season two continues the fun with new and familiar stories about its titular subject.
The podcast is a 10-part miniseries that covers legendary filmmaker James Cameron during his own career in the 1980s and 1990s. It unravels the director’s hardships and successes in making several of his now beloved movies, especially his most ambitious film Titanic.
Blockbuster’s voice cast did a remarkable job of re-enacting Cameron’s surreal, everyday encounters with soon-to-be-famous actors from the late Bill Paxton to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Cameron’s life narrative is grounded immensely with the humble beginnings of people we now look up to as film icons.
As for Marquand, he captures Cameron’s vocal cadence that reflects his child-like passion of chasing his dreams. Yet, every pause, nervous stutter, and timid tone evoke Cameron’s surprising uncertainties during his youth and tensions with his father. Marquand also presents the director as a frustrated perfectionist via mean, intimidating dialogue. The script pulls no punches in exploring Cameron’s infamous work ethic among his casts, film crews, and producers.
The story’s audio is truly superb due to brilliant sound mixing and editing. This technical craft balances the narrator describing the challenges on every film with the voice cast’s dialogue recordings. Background noises of bustling activity from movie set workers or city traffic further make the sound design eclectic and convey the exciting, busy world of entertainment.
What is obviously the best part of the podcast is Cameron’s experiences making Titanic. Media scrutiny, overbudgeting, and even an incident on set involving drugged soup are just some of the facets that frame this story with such a surprising lens.
However, the most self-defining part of Cameron’s time with this classic romantic drama is his friendship and collaboration with late music composer James Horner. Encapsulating this arc is the composer’s monumental creation of Céline Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” for the movie. Cameron being touched by this music for the first time emphasizes how incredibly moving the song will always be to listeners both past and present.
The miniseries provokes you to go back and watch Cameron’s films, appreciating his movies even more in knowing just how close each project was to falling apart. In the end, season two is a highly captivating narrative that keeps listeners informed without boring them. You can watch Blockbuster on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other platforms.