James Cameron’s ‘Titanic’ and ‘Avatar’ producer dies at 63

John Landau, the Oscar-winning producer who made James Cameron’s dreams come true by overcoming extreme logistical challenges to bring the filmmaker Titanic And symbol picture The iconic action star who made hits on the big screen has died at the age of 63.

Lando’s son, Jimmy Lando, confirmed his death to Hollywood ReporterHe died on Friday in Los Angeles.

Lando was the son of producers – his father was an Oscar nominee – and produced films including Honey I shrunk children (1989) and Dick Tracy (1990) before spending about five years as an executive at Fox, where he oversaw production on Die Hard 2 (1990), The last of the mohicans (1992), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) Cameron Real lies (1994).

If Cameron has a problem with Arnold Schwarzenegger Real lies“Don’t call me, deal with John,” then-Fox Filmed Entertainment president Peter Chernin told him, Lando recalled in Interview 2011He spent four months on location in the Florida Keys with the director.

When Landau decided to leave Fox and return to production, he said he received offers from three directors to collaborate on their next projects. He decided to go with Cameron, who wanted to make a movie codenamed “Ice Planet.” Of course, that was the movie that was due out in 2011. Titanic (1997).

Lando oversaw the 100-day construction of Fox Baja Studios, a 40-acre waterfront facility in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, which includes massive film sets, the world’s largest shooting tank, and five sound studios, one of which is roughly the size of a football field.

The film’s production schedule had to be completely rewritten when it was determined that building the main exterior of the RMS Titanic would take two months longer than planned. Meanwhile, the film’s original budget of $120 million ballooned to over $200 million.

“There was a lot of pressure throughout filming, post-production and pre-release,” Lando said. Tell the Los Angeles Times In the year 1998.

Fox, which was co-financing the film with Paramount, “was very tough, but rightfully so. And I think I was the one who bore the brunt. It was very difficult because I wanted to please the three masters: the studio, the director and the film. And it was my job to balance that… not lose sight of that.”

It all worked out when TitanicReleased on December 19, 1997, “The Last Day” held the number one spot at the box office for 15 consecutive weeks, on its way to grossing $1.84 billion worldwide in its initial run, easily surpassing the previous record holder. jurassic park (1993). Subsequent releases over the years have brought the box office tally to $2.3 billion. (Read Rich(Original review here.)

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The epic love story/disaster film also took home a record 11 Oscars—Landau and Cameron shared Best Picture—after 14 other nominations. And on stage at the Shrine Auditorium on Oscar night, Landau may have set another record, winning 11 Oscars. Number of people thanked.

Producer John Landau and director James Cameron backstage with the Oscar for Best Picture.

John Landau and James Cameron celebrate their Best Picture Oscar win for “Titanic” backstage at the Shrine Auditorium in 1998.

Bob Reha Jr./Getty Images

symbol picture (2009) came with a host of formidable obstacles.

Cameron had written a film treatment of about a hundred pages in 1994, but the visual effects technology needed to bring Pandora’s Na’vi inhabitants to life on screen (at least in Cameron’s mind) did not exist. It took the filmmaker, New Zealand’s Weta Digital and other companies years to make it happen, and principal photography did not begin until 2007.

With an official budget of $237 million — some estimates put it at over $300 million — Fox symbol pictureThe film premiered in 3D in London on December 10, 2009. With an initial gross of $2.7 billion, the film surpassed Titanic It became the highest-grossing film of all time (with the re-release, its total now stands at $2.92 billion). (Here’s Rich(Original review.)

Thirteen years later came Disney. Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), with its extensive effects, underwater filming, pandemic challenges, and $2.3 billion gross. symbol picture The films collectively won four Academy Awards, while Landau and Cameron received two other Best Picture nominations.

“If one of Cameron’s superpowers is his depth of focus, that focus is made possible in part because Lando is nearby, Airpod out of his ear, simultaneously having a phone call with Burbank about a deadline and a personal conversation with a crew member in Wellington. [the New Zealand home of Weta] “About Someone Else,” Rebecca Keegan wrote in Rich Cover story in 2022.

“I’ve seen him evolve,” Landau told her of Cameron. “Jim learns from every experience he has. He looks back and says, ‘This is what worked, this is what didn’t work, how can I improve on it?’”

While Lando was in the middle of this sentence, Keegan wrote: “There was a loud knock on his office door, and then Cameron came in, Kramer-like. ‘Shall I tell you we’re like an old married couple?’ I don’t want to say nice things to him—that would affect his mind—but I feel like we don’t have a problem we can’t solve.”

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Landau was born in New York City on July 23, 1960. His parents, Eli A. Landau and Eddie Landau, owned movie theaters in Manhattan, founded the American Film Theater, and produced more than a dozen films, including Long journey from day to night (1962), pawn shop owner (1965), The ice man is coming (1973) and the chosen (1981).

(In 1971, Eli received an Academy Award nomination for the documentary King: Video Recording… From Montgomery to MemphisAfter his death in 1993, Edie had a long relationship with actor Martin E. Brooks.)

Lando played football at his high school in the Bronx before he and his family moved to the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles in his junior year. He helped in the chosen While studying at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and after graduating in 1983 he returned to New York to work as a set production assistant, mostly directing traffic, on a television movie of the week.

When he was done, he was offered the opportunity to do some accounting work. “I had no interest in accounting, and I had no interest in recording, but I took it,” he said. “I read everything I recorded. I don’t know if I was supposed to do it, but I did it. I learned [a lot] “In these two weeks.”

Then he worked as a production supervisor in Beit Street (1984), a breakdancing film, and Key exchange (1985), a romantic comedy, and as a production manager in F/S (1986), Human Hunter (1986) and Made the right gentleman (1987).

Lando received his first producer credit at Paramount. campus man (1987), and then co-produced two films for Disney, Joe Johnston’s Honey I shrunk children and warren beatty Dick Tracy.

In 1989, when he was just 28, he was hired to oversee physical production at Fox. “I saw it as a great opportunity to see how the industry worked from the inside out,” he said.

Lando rose to executive vice president at the studio and also oversaw Home Alone (1990), Foreigners 3 (1992), Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995) The film was produced by Cameron. strange days (1995).

When Cameron shared an early draft of Titanic “I fell in love with the movie,” Lando said. “It wasn’t just about the script, it was about the idea that this could be the last old-fashioned epic movie, with hundreds and hundreds of extras – who aren’t digital.”

John Landau and James Cameron attend the Handprint and Footprint Ceremony honoring Avatar The Way Of Water directors James Cameron and John Landau at TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California on January 12, 2023.

John Landau and James Cameron at the handprint/footprint ceremony in honor of “Avatar: The Way of Water” in Hollywood in January 2023.

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Titanic It was supposed to be a one-time job, but Lando soon joined Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment.

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“I had this experience with Jim, where we built a greater mutual respect and bond with each other, [when he said]“Wait, instead of going off and doing whatever you want, why don’t you join the Lightstorm team? Be a part of it, and we’ll do things together… Who’s better than me in the business, who not only makes great movies, but challenges you every day?”

Lando was a great salesman, and traveled the world showcasing the potential of symbol picture “When we started, we would have been happy if there were 1,000 cinemas around the world that could show a movie in 3D,” he said. “I think we ended up with about 5,000 screens.”

Later, Water way It would bring moviegoers back to theaters in the wake of the pandemic. RichIn his review of the film, David Rooney wrote: “The expansive, biodiverse world-building draws you in, the visual spectacle keeps you enthralled, the passion for environmental awareness excites, and the war is as exciting as any multi-screen audience could wish for.”

“What I’m most proud of, as a movie buff and a moviegoer, is that our film has shown that in a post-pandemic or post-pandemic era — whatever you want to call it — there’s still the potential to get people out of their homes to go to this amazing experience called the movies,” he said. RichMia Galupo.

“I don’t think there’s anything else like it in the world. As producers, directors, studios and exhibitors, we have a responsibility to continue to preserve this experience for future generations.”

At Lightstorm, he and Cameron also produced Steven Soderbergh’s film Solaris (2002) War Documentary Beyond Glory (2015), Robert Rodriguez Alita: Battle Angel (2019). They were also constantly pressuring symbol picture The next parts of the series are scheduled to be produced in 2025, 2029 and 2031.

In addition to Jimmy, survivors include his wife of nearly 40 years, Julie, who once worked as a film accountant; another son, Judy, a singer, composer and percussionist; his sisters, Tina Landau, a theater director, and Kathy Landau, executive director of the Manhattan Symphony Space arts organization; and a half-brother, Liz Landau, a director at Disney. Star Trek series.

One has to wonder how Cameron will manage to stay in office without his right-hand man. After all, “James comes with big dreams,” says Landau. Tell Jewish Magazine In 2010, “It is my duty to make these dreams come true.”

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