James Cameron to Film Bombing of Hiroshima?

1/10/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Lita Robinson

Variety is reporting that James Cameron, fresh off of doing the rounds for his insanely successful “Avatar,” has just optioned the rights to a forthcoming book about the bombing of Hiroshima with his own private funds.

The book, “The Last Train to Hiroshima: The Survivors Look Back,” is a non-fiction account by Charles Pellegrino of 30 individuals who survived the U.S. nuclear bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, only to flee to Nagasaki and experience the second nuclear attack on August 9. Publisher’s Weekly describes the book as “heart-stopping...a wise, informed protest against any further use of these terrible weapons.”

Cameron is reported to have visited Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the only person ever officially recognized by the Japanese government as a survivor of both bombings, in hospital in late December. Speculation is that Cameron is considering Pellegrino’s book as a possible template for his next directorial project, The Guardian reports, but specific details beyond his having optioned the material are fuzzy.

Later in his life, Mr. Yamaguchi became a well-recognized advocate for the abolition of nuclear weapons, writing songs and books about his experiences and even speaking before the United Nations in 2006. NPR reports that Mr. Yamaguchi passed away from stomach cancer on January 4, at age 93.

Pellegrino’s book is available for pre-order in the U.S. on Amazon.com (it comes out January 19), where a review from Cameron appears alongside those from Kirkus and Booklist. Cameron describes the book as “a must-read for anyone with a conscience.”

Imagining where a period WWII drama would fit into Cameron’s body of work is a little difficult. Though Cameron does have copious experience with the sort of militaristic fetishism that seems to pervade many modern-day WWII films, telling the stories of those who survived the only use of nuclear weapons in human history will be new ground for him.

According to IMDB, the director’s current projects include “Sanctum,” a thriller about an underwater cave-diving team who get into trouble in the depths (harkening back to Cameron’s eerie 1989 hit “The Abyss”) and “Battle Angel,” a sci-fi flick adapted from a manga series by Yukito Kishiro. His name also has been linked with remakes of “Fantastic Voyage” and “Forbidden Planet.”

“Battle Angel” is set--no surprises here--in a dystopian future populated by all manner of cyborgs and other non-humans. The story centers around a doctor character who rescues a nearly-dead cyborg girl with a human brain, and stitches her back together, Frankenstein-style, using discarded body parts. Intrigue ensues, and the two go on to kick ass and battle evil together. The manga series is still ongoing, so it seems plausible that “Battle Angel” could be the first in a new Cameron franchise.

If the Hiroshima project does materialize, it will be interesting to see Cameron’s futuristic imagination turned back to Earth, and to the past. Will he be able to maintain his focus if the movie is about real people—not aliens, terminators or avatars?

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  1. Anonymous said...

    How about Battle Angel? Remember that little film that Cameron was supposed to make.... 5 years ago????