(TheConservativeTimes.org) – Veteran award-winning producer and director James Cameron has shared a trick he employed in an attempt to rein costs in for the 1997 blockbuster romantic epic, Titanic: He hired shorter extras to make the sets look bigger.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Cameron looked back at the production of the then global phenomenon – the film earned a whopping $1.8 billion in global box office receipts and has grossed a total of $2.2 billion in its lifetime. However, the budget for the movie, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as star-crossed lovers who met on the tragic ship, was also one of the biggest at the time at $210 million.
A significant chuck of the money the studio spent on the film went to production of the sets and props, which were supposed to reflect the early 1900s. The ill-fated and purported “unsinkable” ship sunk on April 15, 1912, claiming the lives of more than 1,500 passengers and crew.
According to Cameron, he and the production team only hired extras who were 5’8” or shorter, in order to make the sets look bigger than they really were.
“It’s like we got an extra million dollars of value out of casting,” Cameron said of the decision.
The director also admitted that the scale of what they were setting out to do then was intimidating, given that CGI was still in its very early stages, and the director needed to make movie magic happen through the combination of the new technology and practical effects – sets included.
Cameron recalled that based on their experience making movies at the time, the magnitude of their task was “beyond anything we could imagine”. He also said that at the time they were making the movie, they had no idea that it would become the worldwide hit that it was and is today.
However, the movie exceeded expectations, and held the box office record for the top-earning film for decades. It lost its throne to another James Cameron film, Avatar, in 2009.
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