Minesweepers on W9: what influence did James Cameron have on the film?


The script for “Minesweeper” was made to be transposed to the screen by Kathryn Bigelow. Hesitant before embarking on the preparation of this masterpiece of tension and exhaustion, the director was able to count on the support of her ex-husband James Cameron.

Minesweepers : a visceral experience by Kathryn Bigelow

In 2009, seven years later K-19: The Deep Trap and four years before Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow is directing another war film starring Minesweepers. The feature film reveals the daily life of the Bravo Company, deployed in Baghdad. Composed in part of Sergeant JT Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and pyrotechnician Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty), the squad of American soldiers is tasked with defusing the bombs found in the area.

After the death of their superior, the two soldiers saw his replacement William James (Jeremy Renner) land. Hot head addicted to adrenaline, the deminer takes reckless risks from his first interventions. Quickly, the tension mounts within the group. James’ decisions and impulsiveness increasingly frighten Sanborn and Eldridge.

Evangeline Lilly, Guy Pearce, David Morse and Ralph Fiennes round out the cast of Minesweepers. From the blast of an explosion to the unbearable pressure caused by the discovery of a device capable of devastating everything over several hundred meters, the film viscerally describes the war experienced by its three main characters. The use of the handheld camera takes on its full meaning here, reinforces the feeling of permanent urgency and leaves the viewer completely washed out.

Staging fear

Kathryn Bigelow is a director who is often interested in the quest for extreme emotions and the overwhelming need to be in danger in order to feel alive. This is obviously the mantra of Bodhi, the surfer embodied by Patrick Swayze in Point Break: Extreme Limit. In At the frontiers of dawn, Adrian Pasdar does not resist the call of the vampires led by Lance Henriksen. In Blue Steel, Jamie Lee Curtis falls under the spell of a stockbroker. The latter is actually a formidable psychopath. Finally, in the futuristic Strange Days, immersive videos allow you to experience all types of vicarious fantasies.

Minesweepers © SND

With Minesweepers, the filmmaker is interested in fear and the power of adrenaline. During the promotion, she explains, quoted by Allocine :

Fear has a bad reputation, but I think it’s not justified. Fear helps clarify things because it forces you to focus on what is important, leaving aside what is incidental. When screenwriter Mark Boal returned from a story in Iraq, he told me about those soldiers who defuse bombs in the middle of a combat zone – which obviously is a mission for the most skilled men. who do so at the risk of their lives. When he told me that they were totally exposed and that they were using nothing but tongs to defuse a bomb powerful enough to kill 300 meters around, I was stunned. .

James cameron fair play

When preparing Minesweepers, Kathryn Bigelow talks about the project to her ex-boyfriend James Cameron. Divorced in 1991 after two years of marriage, the two directors stay close. They have a deep admiration for their respective work and collaborate on several occasions. This is particularly the case on Strange Days, written by the author of Titanic.

Asked by theIndian Express in 2010, Kathryn Bigelow assures that James Cameron strongly encouraged her to embark on the production of Minesweepers. She thus declares:

He helped me make the decision to start this project. He’s the one behind all these Oscars.

Despite its low score at the US box office, the feature film only grossed $ 17 million for an estimated budget of 15, Minesweepers effectively stands out as the big winner at the Oscars in 2010. He leaves with 6 statuettes : Best Film, Best Director (awarded for the first time to a director), Best Original Screenplay, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. Conversely, Avatar remains to this day the biggest cinema success in the world. But the blockbuster wins “only” three trophies during the ceremony: Best photography, Best visual effects and Best artistic direction.

James Cameron, who compares the clash between the two films during the evening to that of David against Goliath, is fair play to Kathryn Bigelow. Quoted by Collider, he says to EW :

I do not blame him. I couldn’t think of a better result for …

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