One reason why James Cameron went out of his way to mention that he might make The Dive backstage at the Golden Globes: he was thanking screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis (Alexander) for all the writing she has done for him, not only on Avatar, but on Battle Angel and The Dive.
At Fox’s Globes after-party at Craft, Cameron and Suzy Amis, studio co-chairman Jim Gianopulos, producer Jon Landau and Kalogridis were among the last ones there. Kalogridis never sought credit for her work on Avatar (she’s an executive producer). Did she help Cameron? Yes. He wrote a very long script that needed trimming, shaping and pruning–and that she did. Much of that extra material will end up in the sequel, says Landau. To be eligible for credit, Writers Guild rules stipulate that 50% of a script be changed, and Kalogridis didn’t come close to that.
As Cameron mentioned backstage at the Globes, he has assembled a tight working family of people who help him out. Kalogridis is one of them. She considers him a mentor. When she was worried about being able to pull off the Dennis Lehane thriller Shutter Island, he urged her to go off and do it. That screenplay eventually sparked the interest of Martin Scorsese. Next up: a rewrite for DreamWorks of my fave anime classic, Ghost in the Shell.
At the BAFTA pre-Globes party, Avatar star Stephen Lang, who’s fielding many offers these days, defended Cameron’s script. “It’s a good screenplay,” he said. “There are layers in there.”
Cameron hasn’t started to figure out his next move. Other writers on the party circuit admit to being too distracted to get their work done. The Hurt Locker‘s Mark Boal has two scripts in the works, while Quentin Tarantino has none. The much ballyhooed sequel to Kill Bill isn’t due until ten years after the last one. It always takes him time between projects to gear up for the next. Like Cameron, it’s usually worth the wait.