James Cameron: the shooting locations of all his movies

Visionary. Genius. Avant-garde. James Cameron has encouraged all the superlatives since the chaotic beginning of his career. A filmmaker on top of the world, whose films have given many places a decidedly separate aura.

Piranha Part Two: The Spawning (1981)

Promoted to director after a withdrawal, James Cameron was able to direct his first feature film, thus taking over from Joe Dante, the director of the first part. A B horror film, Piranha Part Two had a difficult gestation. The shooting was fraught with problems.

Piranha Part Two used the Moon Palace Jamaica Resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Then known as the Mallards Beach-Hyatt Hotel, this establishment was transformed into Club Elysium for the purposes of the feature film. Many underwater scenes were captured off Grand Cayman. Strangely enough, probably due to the presence of Ovidio G. Assonitis as producer, interior sequences were also shot in studios in Rome, Italy. Assonitis as producer, interior sequences were also shot in studios located in Rome, Italy.

Ocho Rios in Jamaica by-Balou46. Wikimedia.

The Terminator (1984)

Frustrated by his first experience as a director, James Cameron considers The Terminator as his first real movie. A feature film he co-wrote and shot in Los Angeles and the surrounding area.

The arrival of the T-800, the machine from the future incarnated by Arnold Schwarzenegger, takes place on the forecourt of the Griffith Observatory, on the heights of the City of Angels. Sarah Connor, the savior of humanity played by Linda Hamilton, is housed at 420 South Lafayette Park Place. The Big Buns, the restaurant where she worked before she met Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), is also still in existence, at 815 South Fremont Avenue in South Pasadena. He is now known as Carrows. The gun shop where the T-800 gets its supplies has changed its business domain to a car store at 14329 Victory Boulevard in Van Nuys, in the San Fernando Valley. Impossible not to mention also the motel where Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese meet, today an apartment complex. It is located at 7301 Santa Fe Avenue in Huntington Park.

The Terminator
Terminator. All rights reserved: Hemdale Pacific Western Productions/Euro Film Funding Cinema ’84.

The impressive chase was filmed in downtown Los Angeles at night to limit traffic. The Department of Energy and Water’s covered parking lot at 111 North Hope Street, the Second Street Tunnel, Hill Street and Figueroa Street were also visited by the film crew. The final confrontation, when the T-800 emerges from a pile of burning metal, was filmed at Kern’s of California, at 13010 East Temple Avenue also in Los Angeles. On the other hand, don’t look for the Tech-Noir, the nightclub where Sarah Connor takes refuge. This one, located at 724 South Hill Street, has been closed for a long time. The gas station where Sarah Connor stops before entering the desert still exists, at 37202 90th Street in Little Rock, a suburb of Los Angeles. It is also where the video for ZZ Top’s Gimme All Your Lovin and a scene from the movie Crossroads with Britney Spears were shot.

Griffith Observatory
Griffith Observatory by Matthew Field. Wikimedia.

Aliens (1986)

Often cited as one of the best sequels in film history, Aliens gave James Cameron the opportunity to work at the legendary Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, England. The film was shot almost entirely in camera, with a few sequences shot in the disused Acton Lane Power Station in London. A building since demolished.

Sigourney Weaver in Aliens. All rights reserved: 20th Century Fox

The Abyss (1989)

The production of The Abyss, James Cameron’s ambitious underwater science fiction film, was not a smooth ride. In search of the perfect location, the filmmaker was able to take advantage of the incredible infrastructure at Duke Power Company’s Cherokee Nuclear Power Plant near the town of Gaffney, South Carolina. A power station never put into service, finally abandoned, then bought back to be transformed into a film location.

Two large concrete tanks were used for the film’s sets. Production crews then filled them with water, creating two of the largest freshwater reservoirs in the world. The plant is still visible today on Route 29 outside of Gaffney. The aliens, however, have long since deserted the place.

Cherokee Station
Cherokee Station by David Scaglione. Wikimedia.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

The most expensive film of its time, with a record budget of nearly 100 million dollars, Terminator 2 was, like the first film, shot in and around Los Angeles. If James Cameron was able to benefit from important means, he did not give up saving money. The burned objects visible on the screen at the beginning of the film, for example, are those that firefighters recovered in 1989 from Universal Studios following an arson attack.

The Pescadero Hospital, where Sarah Connor is being held was actually the Lake View Medical Center in Kagel Canyon. It has since been destroyed. The biker bar where the T-800 arrives, still played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, but now programmed to do good, was located at 12002 Osborne Street in Lakeview Terrace, where today a library stands.

A great chase scene between the T-1000 played by Robert Patrick, the T-800 and John Connor, the designated savior of humanity played by Edward Furlong, takes place in the dry canals of Los Angeles. One of the most dramatic passages, when the T-1000 truck drives into the railing, was filmed in the Bull Creek weir at the intersection of Plummer and Hayenhurst.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day. All rights reserved: Carolco Pictures/Pacific Western Productions/Lightstorm Entertainment/Studio Canal

The characters then go to the headquarters of Cyberdine, the company responsible for the birth of the Skynet entity. The building, located in Silicon Valley, now houses Mattson Technology at 47131 Bayside Parkway in Fremont, outside San Jose. Eager not to relocate his production to stay in Los Angeles, James Cameron also managed to close down portions of the freeway to orchestrate the final chase, when the conclusion is drawn in fire and molten metal.

Bull Creek
Bull Creek in Los Angeles by Junkyardsparkle. Wikimedia.

True Lies (1994)

The latest collaboration between James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger, True Lies has also become one of the most expensive films of all time. A free remake of Claude Zidi’s La Totale, it tells the adventures of Harry Tasker, a spy forced to hide his true profession from his family. The opening scene is supposed to take place in Switzerland, in a beautiful manor. In fact, James Cameron operated several locations, such as Ochre Court, now known as Salve Regina University, at 100 Ochre Point Avenue in Newport and the Rosecliff, on Bellevue Avenue, also in Newport.

The ski scenes were filmed at Lake Tahoe. The Ambassador Hotel, at 3400 Wilshire Boulebard in Los Angeles, plays a key role in the plot, as does the Weston Bonaventure Hotel, where the scenic elevator scenes were produced. The establishment in which Jamie Lee Curtis made his mythical striptease in front of Arnold Schwarzenegger is the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, at 506 South Grand Avenue, always in Los Angeles.

True Lies
True Lies, bridge scene. All rights reserved: 20th Century Fox/Universal Pictures

And of course, it’s impossible not to mention the Old Seven Mile, the spectacular bridge where the final chase takes place, in the heart of the Florida Keys. A sequence requiring important logistics, preceding the conclusion, shot at the Colonial Bank Centre, at 1200 Brickell Avenue in Miami, when Arnold Schwarzenegger takes place in a jet to overcome his enemies and successively save the whole city and his daughter.

Old Seven Mile Bridge by Tinsley Advertising. Wikimedia.

Titanic (1997)

King of the box office for a very long time, before being dethroned by Avatar, holder of 11 Oscars, Titanic was also the most expensive film of all time at the time of its release. Proof of James Cameron’s boundless ambition, the feature film justified the construction of a gigantic set at Rosarito Beach, near Tijuana. This is how James Cameron gave birth to Baja Studios, where Deep Blue Sea, Pearl Harbor and Master and Commander were shot.

Titanic. All rights reserved: Paramount Pictures.

The end scenes, when Jack (Leonardo Di Caprio) can’t get on Rose’s (Kate Winslet) board despite having the obvious room to do so, were filmed in an Olympic swimming pool, at Belmont Plaza, 4000 Olympic Place in Long Beach. A site unfortunately destroyed in 2014.

The SS Jeremiah O’Brien, docked at Pier 45 of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, hosted the filming of all the sequences taking place in the engine room of the Titanic.

Avatar (2009)

A perfect illustration of James Cameron’s visionary spirit, Avatar was mostly shot in a studio, between Los Angeles and Wellington, New Zealand, because of the importance of special effects. The motion capture part was filmed in the Playa Vista area, in the Hughes Aircraft Company facilities, where once the tycoon Howard Hughes built his planes.

The planet Pandora in Avatar. All rights reserved: 20th Centiry Fox/Lightstorm Entertainment/Ingenious Film Partners.

James Cameron was also largely inspired by the majestic rocky peaks of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in China to shape the planet Pandora. A natural sanctuary in the Hunan region, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. The rocks are thus visible in Avatar. Except for one detail: in the film, they fly.

Zhangiiajiie Park
Zhangiiajiie park by chensiyuan. Wikimedia.

Avatar: The Way of the Water (2022)

The first American blockbuster to have been shot in New Zealand after the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Avatar 2 was also shot, like the first part, in Los Angeles, and in particular in Manhattan Beach. Also filmed in the studio, with a grant of over $140 million from the New Zealand Film Commission, the film was produced at the same time as its sequel, Avatar 3. The post-production was then entrusted to Weta Digital, the company co-founded by Peter Jackson in 1993, also responsible for the effects of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.

The Fantrippers Buying Board

Cult! movies: 100 mythical places of cinema [French Edition]

Since the dawn of cinema, films have invaded the world and highlighted sometimes unexpected places. Every film location has its secrets. The latter are sometimes as exciting as the feature films themselves.

Did you know that the cemetery where the final duel of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was built from scratch and that no body lies there? Or that the bus ofInto The Wild has been moved to discourage fans from spending the night there? From the story of the construction of The Bridge on the River Kwai to the incredible encounter during the shooting of the last scene ofIndiana Jones and the Last Crusadeembark on an exciting world tour with the greatest stars of the seventh art. Shiver in the real haunted house ofAmityville and discover the terrifying anecdotes of the making ofApocalypse Now in the Philippines. Visit the building of Blade Runner before stopping at Hogwarts and finally landing in Jurassic Parkin the middle of the Hawaiian archipelago. What if we also took you behind the scenes of the making of the Hobbits’ village of Lord of the Rings ?

Produced by a team of pop-culture specialists and enhanced by numerous anecdotes, Cult! movies tells the secrets of the places that made the history of cinema.

Fantrippers' opinion
Content quality

Interest for fans

Value for money

Facebook Twitter Instagram

By Gilles Rolland

Monday, December 12, 2022

Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.

Let's discuss this article

Notify of

0 Commentaires
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments