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Cameron Attacks Leo

Bitterness runs deep in Hollywood, and grudges can last a long time. Witness James Cameron, who still hasn't forgiven Leonardo DiCaprio for failing to don his tux for the Academy Awards last March, when Titanic picked up 11 Oscars. "I felt that it was kind of a snub, not of the film per se, but of all the other people who did care and had sweated blood for the movie," he tells Rolling Stone. Cameron, whose pompous "King of the World" acceptance speech will live on in Hollywood infamy, tells the mag that he warned the blond superstar, who was passed over for a Best Actor nod, that he'd regret blowing off the event, and that he'd end up looking petty. (Leo's official excuse: He didn't want to steal the limelight from Cameron, Kate Winslet, and Gloria Stuart.) "So he didn't go, and he looked like spoiled punk. The message I got on my machine, like, the day before: 'It just ain't me, bro,'" complains Cameron. "Apparently, getting $4 million to do a juice ad that airs only in Japan is him; going to the Oscars is not."

-- Dan Draghici (, September 22, 1998


James Cameron: King of the Idiot Box

With Titanic's grosses continuing to soar and multiple Oscars in hand, James Cameron has made a surprise move, deciding to steer clear of the big screen in order to concentrate on wooing the nation's couch potatoes. The Hollywood trades report that the Oscar-winning director is teaming up with longtime friend Charles "Chic" Eglee to form a company to produce shows for the small screen. The men plan to offer up the still-unnamed venture to studios and networks starting today, but it's likely that it could end up at the TV unit of 20th Century Fox, since Cameron has a previous relationship with the studio. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the duo are aiming to develop projects for the 1999-2000 season. The question remains as to why Cameron, after the triumph that was Titanic, would choose now, when he's at the top of the Hollywood food chain, to make his first foray into television. In a statement, the filmmaker explained, "I like challenges, and after years of painting on the feature-film canvas, I'm excited to turn my creative focus to a medium that emphasizes writing, not visual spectacle. Ultimately, telling stories is what I love to do most." In other words, Cameron, who went overschedule and overbudget to create the lavish spectacle that was Titanic, wants to be King of the TV world, too. "This is a guy who, for whatever reason, has something to prove," an insider close to the deal tells the Hollywood Reporter. "With Titanic, he proved he can tell a love story. Now he wants to prove he can tell stories in this medium. It's an obsession with him." Says Eglee, "Jim observed that television lets you tell the stories of your characters over months, even years. In a movie, as soon as you get to know them, it's over. To be able to work with a writer and storyteller as gifted as Jim is a privilege, a challenge, and an exciting opportunity." Cameronwho joins other film directors such as Barry Levinson and Martin Scorsese in making the transition to TVand Eglee are expected to put their energy into developing dramas. The director recently optioned Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy as a possible TV project. Eglee, a veteran of such TV shows as Moonlighting and St. Elsewhere, will reportedly handle the day-to-day aspects of the operation, with Cameron overseeing the productions. Both will act as exec producers on the projects.

-- Dan Draghici (, September 22, 1998.

The Art of Being Leonardo (Sept. 10)

In between scuffling with photographers and hanging with Puff Daddy, Leonardo DiCaprio is quite the culture vulture. The New York Times reports that the Titanic star, known more these days for his partying skills than his work ethic, wielded his celebrity status to get a private tour of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art Thursday night. According to the paper, DiCaprio arrived around 5:30 p.m., after the riff-raff had been cleared out, and spent an hour on a private tour of the 19th Century galleries. "He had tried to come to see our expressionists as a member of the general public," Harold Holzer, vice president for communications at the Met, tells the paper. "But it was difficult for him, and the other patrons as well, because he was recognized." DiCaprio, who as legend has it was so dubbed because his mother felt him kick in her womb while she was staring at a painting by that other Leonardo (Da Vinci, for those who snoozed through art-appreciation class) was joined on the tour by rapper Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest. The paper says Leo was especially taken with the works of Vincent Van Gogh, particularly "Wheat Field With Cypresses." "He's had a tremendous interest in art," one of Leo's reps, Ken Sunshine, tells the Times, and while the actor, who'll soon be seen in Woody Allen's Celebrity, isn't yet a collector, "he will be." Given his appearance on Forbes magazine's highest-paid entertainers list, Leo can afford to be. Adds Sunshine, "He is very knowledgeable about 20th century art, but doesn't know as much about the 19th century. So he was asking a lot of questions." After the tour was finished, Leonardo stopped into the gift shop, where he purchased a silk scarf "for an unidentified lady friend." Of course, not all of Leo and Q-Tip's pursuits were so highbrow Thursday night. Hours after the Met tour, DiCaprio and his posse had a run-in with a paparazzo, and things apparently got violent, says the New York Post. The photog was reportedly backhanded by one Leo's buddies, and ended up filing a complaint. Through photos taken by another lensman, the photographer ID'd his attacker as none other than Q-Tip. The paparazzo tells the paper that the police are going to bring the musician in to stand in a lineup. DiCaprio's reps are staying quiet about the incident. Last week, DiCaprio's half-brother was reportedly arrested in Los Angeles after getting into a scuffle with a camera-wielding fan.

-- Dan Draghici (, September 22, 1998.

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