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Hollywood Giant James Cameron Shares How He Almost Died Underwater While on the Sets of ‘The Abyss’

Published 10/03/2023, 10:27 AM EDT

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James Cameron shared his story while filming on the sets of ‘ The Abyss’. The 69- year-old director found himself in a critical situation while filming for a movie. James was directing a science fiction movie in the year 1989 when this horrific incident happened.

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The movie was about a deep-sea research team trying to recover a lost submarine. However, while shooting underwater, the director found himself in a life-and-death situation. His oxygen tank was running out, and he had no way of contacting his photographer above the surface.

James used his common sense to come out of the water


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Cameron used his common sense and knowledge to come out of such a tricky situation. In cases like these, people panic and make wrong decisions. Underwater experiences are always very scary. Not only is the visibility very low but also the communication is not up to the mark.

However, in this case, he kept his calm and made the correct decisions. James shared his side of the story with Griffonnews “We had the ‘angels,’ which were the safety divers that were right there, and each one was assigned to one or two of the actors and just kept them in sight the whole time. But] they weren’t watching me. Everybody’s setting lights and nobody’s watching. I’m trying to get [underwater director of photography] Al Giddings’ attention on the (public address).


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But Al had been involved in a diving accident, and he blew out both eardrums. So, he was deaf as a post. And I’m wasting my last breath of air on an underwater PA system going, ‘Al … Al …,’ and he’s working away with his back to me. At that point, it was almost checkout point and the safety divers are taught to hold you down so you don’t embolize and let your lungs over expand going up.

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The Titanic director also commented that he had a clear-cut plan in his head. He was aware of what needed to be done and what not. However, he had no way of alerting his colleague, so he just punched him in the face and tried to swim to the surface. Such accidents can be very dangerous and it’s very important to be proactive in such situations.

 A Risk Worth Taking for James Cameron

In today’s modern time, directors take risks in order to achieve perfection for a movie. However, in this situation, the legendary director felt that the scene did make an impact. Therefore, he feels this was a risk worth taking. A successful director of this caliber is ready to put his life on the line. This shows the passion with which he makes his movies.


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What would you have done in such a situation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

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Written by:

Anirban Chatterjee


One take at a time

Anirban Chatterjee is a fresh Sports Viral Moments writer at EssentiallySports. He has completed his higher education from Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences as an MBA in Sports Management. He represented Jharkhand State Cricket Team in different age groups starting from u-15 till u-22 level.
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Edited by:

Ananya Giri