James Cameron is the king of the world again thanks to his belated first sequel to Avatar, a movie even he doubted would be a monster hit. He was wrong and, after a bit of tussle, the film recently passed another of his money-gobblers, Titanic, on the list of all-time highest grossing movies (not adjusted for inflation, of course). Speaking of, that story you might have heard about the cast and crew accidentally getting high on PCP-laced chowder? That’s “100 per cent true,” Cameron recently revealed.
During an appearance on the CBC show Q with Tom Power, Cameron — who has been wildly entertaining on the press circuit — confirmed the story, namely that on the final day of filming Titanic, almost everyone found themselves poisoned with phencyclidine, aka angel dust. What is it like inadvertently being on a mind-altering drug that can cause hallucinations and psychosis, while making what was then the most expensive film ever made?
“You haven’t lived until you’ve been high on PCP, which by the way, I do not recommend to anyone,” Cameron said.
At first, Cameron thought everyone had actually simply eaten contaminated shellfish, so they all went to a local hospital.
“There was an emergency room with no one in it and, like, a nurse, and 85 crew members walk in,” recalled the director. “We don’t know what’s going on. And basically, somebody had taken a pound of PCP and dumped it into the chowder.”
Despite what Cameron says, the story isn’t “100% true,” as per Snopes. Not everyone was affected, namely stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. The late Bill Paxton, however, was.
So who done it? “We have a pretty strong suspicion who it was, although it was never proven,” Cameron said:
“We believe the story is that it was somebody who had a beef with the caterers because the first thing we did was fire the caterers.… And, you know, sure enough, we had some leads on that. Of course, the operating theory was that I was such a psycho maniac that [the perpetrator was] trying to get back at me, but I reject that theory out of hand for obvious reasons.”
So the next time you’re watching Titanic — and it’s back in theaters, in 3D — see if you can spot any shots where people like they’re blitzed out of their minds on PCP. Also please don’t take PCP, as per Cameron’s recommendation.
You can watch Cameron’s Q with Tom Powers chat in the video below.