There’s an old saying in Hollywood that all screenwriters are secretly just guys who want to direct – but what about directors? What do they really long to do? It turns out most of them seem to have at least a bit of a fascination with the idea of being in front of the camera. Directors from Alfred Hitchcock to Lucio Fulci have taken a certain glee in turning up in cameo roles in their own films. Usually, the directors show up in the background of a scene, but sometimes they speak and actually get front and center.
Director James Cameron loves to give himself cameos in his various productions – but unlike the Hitchcock’s and Fulci’s of the world, Cameron never appears onscreen. Instead, the filmmaker prefers to do voice cameos – lending his pipes to character in a film. As far as obscure cameos go, this is pretty out there. You have to be a bigtime film geek to know what a director looks like and spot him in a film – but knowing what he sounds like and finding him solely based on his voice? That’s on a whole other level.
With that in mind, the guys over at Filmdetail have put together a really cool video capturing some the director’s voiceover work in his films. That guy who checks in Sarah and Kyle Reese at the dive motel as they flee the T-800? That’s Cameron. The pilot about to fire missiles on the bridge in True Lies? Cameron. The background voice asking about “talk of an iceberg” in Titanic? You guessed it, that’s James Cameron.
While all of that is cool, what’s really cool is how Cameron has done some “voice cameos” that even hardcore film geeks wouldn’t spot on their own. The director admitted, back in 1991, that he’d done all the seething and screeching for the alien queen in his 1986 film Aliens. In that same vein, the filmmaker also provided the horrifying death sounds of the T-1000 at the end of Terminator 2.
Cameron’s never offered a rationale for why he does the voice cameos over the more popular visual appearances, but as Filmdetail surmises, it seems likely that it’s easier because it’s done in post-production. It’s harder to wind up on the cutting room floor when you’ve got every bit of the finished film’s footage right in front of you, after all.
Check out the clip below – then hit up the rest of the films in your Cameron library and see if you can find other vocal cameos from the director.