Helmer finds joy, if not profits, in recognition

Though he claimed jet-lag and hoarseness after flying into Gotham from the Moscow premiere of “Titanic,” James Cameron sounded decidedly (if unsurprisingly) chipper.

A triple nominee this year, Cameron was bypassed in the script category, but “It’s pretty hard for me to be disappointed in the environment of this film,” he offered cheerfully over the phone. “You can’t have a best picture nominee without a good script, but the picture nomination says it all. There’s a wave of satisfaction in the nominations for the people who worked so hard,” he added, citing his colleagues who are collecting their first noms. “I’m mostly excited for the people I worked with.”

Underwater tapestry

In Geneva, producer Jon Landau echoed the admiration of the film’s cast and crew for forming “the tapestry we needed to create on this movie.” The designers and technicians were told, ” ‘Not only do you have to create this tapestry — but then it’s got to go underwater!’ That task was so daunting, but they all did it with such style.”

Asked if “Titanic” has anything in common with “All About Eve” other than the number 14, Landau said, “Movies with numerous accolades have one thing in common. At the root of all of these movies are characters. It comes down to a group of small people at the center who hit a chord with audiences.”

Sticking with original

Cameron, who has been at the forefront of alternate versions of his films in ancillary markets, said, “We’re not going to do an alternate version of this pic for several years. The version that’s playing in theaters is, I think, the best possible one, and I’m not going to mess with that for a long time. The re-release of ‘Star Wars’ proves it’s better to wait.”

As for future projects, “I haven’t come down off this one yet. It’ll be at least six months before I even begin anything.” Asked how he could top this one, he shrugged, “You don’t go above, you go sideways. I’ve always tried to do something different.”

No prophet on profits

He said it made sense to waive his profit participation, since it appeared for awhile that he would be making money but the studio wouldn’t. Now that the film is a huge hit, the studios haven’t talked about restoring his profit participation.

“I thought about taking a picture of myself in front of the studio selling pencils,” he deadpanned.

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