Next month is the twentieth anniversary of the release of James Cameron's Titanic. The film was a massive success, winning eleven Academy Awards. However, when asked what he remembers most clearly about the Oscars in 1998, Cameron conjured up an unexpected memory.
"I remember almost getting in a fight with Harvey Weinstein and hitting him with my Oscar," the director told Vanity Fair in an interview this week.
Back then Weinstein hadn't been publicly exposed as a sexual predator, but he was generally known as a combative person, and Cameron wasn't the only person in Hollywood who had problems with him. Cameron says there were probably plenty of people there who wished he'd gone through with it.
At the time, Cameron was angry with Weinstein over his friend, Guillermo Del Toro's account of working with Miramax. Del Toro had been working on Mimic with the Weinstein brothers' studio, his first filmmaking experience in America.
"Harvey came up glad-handing me," Cameron said, recalling the details of his fury, "Talking about how great they were for the artist, and I just read him chapter and verse about how great I thought he was for the artist based on my friend’s experience, and that led to an altercation.”
Cameron says the conflict never actually came to blows, thanks largely to friends who restrained the two of them.
“It was happening on the main floor... And the music had started to play to get back in our seats. The people around us were saying, ‘Not here! Not here!’ Like it was O.K. to fight in the parking lot, you know, but it was not O.K. there when the music was playing, and they were about to go live,” he recalled.
Del Toro remembers his time with Miramax with equal distaste. He recalled the experience while speaking last month at the BFI London Film Festival.
“I have got to tell you, two horrible things happened in the late nineties," Del Toro said, "my father was kidnapped and I worked with the Weinsteins. I know which one was worse… the kidnapping made more sense, I knew what they wanted.”
Though he shared the unsavory memory of Weinstein, Cameron made no mention of the swelling tide of sexual assault allegations in Hollywood.