Cameron, Walden dive for underwater ‘Abyss’

Docu explores Titantic, WWII battleship Bismark

HOLLYWOOD — Execs formally announced Thursday that James Cameron will partner with Walden Media on “Ghosts of the Abyss,” an large-format feature to be shot in 3-D digital video (Daily Variety, June 19).

The 45-minute docu will focus on underwater explorations of the Titanic and sunken German WWII battleship Bismark. Cameron is helming the shoot. Cameron is in Newfoundland, from which a Russian research vessel used on his “Titanic” feature will set sail Monday for the underwater shoot.

“We have been preparing for this expedition for three years, putting together the technology to go beyond what’s been done before,” Cameron said in a statement. “Now that we’re going, everyone’s pretty excited. We have a very good team, many of whom were with me on the (“Titanic”) expedition.”

Move comes as a similar project for the ABC web that had been announced during broadcast upfront presentations in May has been put on hold indefinitely.

In the large-format project, Cameron and Walden Media will co-exec produce, with Walden releasing and Gig Rackauskas producing.

Video, TV distribution planned

Walden, an educational producer owned by the Anschutz Co. and formed by former Dimension Films prexy Cary Granat, will produce some related educational materials and release a 90-minute version of “Ghosts” on homevid and DVD. Plans also include eventual TV distribution of the longer “Ghosts.”

“I can’t imagine a better way to introduce audiences to the wonders of the sea than through the unparalleled storytelling ability of James Cameron,” Granat said.

The project actually involves participation by three Camerons. The filmmaker’s brother John David Cameron will capture making-of footage of the exploration, and brother Mike Cameron will be chief designer of the deep-diving 3-D camera housing and related technology used in the large-format pic’s production.

Jim Cameron will use specially developed Sony digital-video cameras on the large-format pic. The cameras will be deployed on submarines launched from the Russian vessel, with subs then deploying remotely operated vehicles to film underwater locations particularly difficult to access.

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