• James Cameron film abyss It was a grueling and demanding shoot, with the cast and crew undergoing diving training and facing dangerous situations.
  • Cast and crew abyss faced high tension and risky stunts, including Ed Harris being dragged underwater with a helmet full of water and Cameron nearly drowning during a production incident.
  • Despite the difficulties during filming, abyss laid the foundation for Cameron’s career with stunning effects and a dedicated cast.

There is perhaps no more successful director than the great James Cameron, which made most of the nine films in his filmography a box office hit. Three of his films are still among the top five highest-grossing films, and his sci-fi epic Avatar, is still firmly at number one ten years after its release. The remaining two are a long-awaited continuation. Avatar: The Way of Waterand an epic disaster novel Titanic. But these films weren’t the first time he’d worked with water, and they certainly weren’t the first time he’d gone far with his actors while filming a film. abyssHis thrilling 1989 film about a civilian diving team searching for a lost nuclear submarine and encountering aquatic aliens was not his best film. Until it bombed this was certainly a disappointment considering his other box office successes. And this is especially disappointing considering that many of the cast (and even crew!) almost died during the filming of this film.

abyss poster


A civilian diving team is recruited to search for a lost nuclear submarine and faces danger when they encounter alien aquatic species.

Date of issue
August 9, 1989

James Cameron

Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn, Leo Burmester, Todd Graff, John Bedford Lloyd


lead time
140 minutes

Main genre

Adventure, Action, Drama, Science Fiction, Thriller

James Cameron

20th Century Fox

A place on Earth more amazing than anywhere in space.

The filming of “The Abyss” was very stressful

The root of the problem in the production of this film was that the cast and crew had to work extremely hard to make this film a reality. Given Cameron’s high expectations, it was not an easy task. The film, as mentioned above, is about a civilian diving team searching for a lost nuclear submarine. In terms of story, a staggering 40% of the film’s photography was shot underwater. In addition, the cast and crew had to undergo diving training in the Cayman Islands before filming began. They also had to turn to an abandoned nuclear power plant in South Carolina for a tank for filming, as they quickly realized Cameron needed a controlled aquatic environment, so the original plan to film in the Bahamas fell through. Malta had the largest reservoir, but it was still too small.


Arnold Schwarzenegger accidentally convinced James Cameron to make him the Terminator

Initially, the director had a completely different role in mind for him.

And that was just the beginning. In addition to all the mishaps that befell the cast and crew (sometimes even Cameron himself), filming was grueling, and pushed many actors to their limits during filming. 70-hour weeks for six months will pay dividends. Ed Harris admitted that he cried on the way home from filming, and the actress Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio there was a breakdown on the set. Chlorine from the tank burned the divers’ skin. They even had to switch to night filming after a lightning strike ripped a hole in the black tarp over the tank. In the climatic slap scene with Harris and Mastrantonio, where her character drowned, he realized the camera had run out of film, something he was not told. Mastrantonio, rightfully upset, stormed out. According to Harris: “[they] were guinea pigs.”

Filming The Abyss Was Dangerous

The high tension on set was not only the result of hard and long filming, but also some effort. dangerous situations faced by the cast and crew during filming abyss. Notably, in one of the most outrageous stunts, Harris was wearing a liquid breathing suit. A liquid breathing suit is exactly what it sounds like – a suit that allows you to dive without having to cower while doing so. While this may seem more science fiction than fact, it does exist but has not yet been tested on humans. The liquid-breathing rat in the film was actually real, and this caused huge controversy for the film, leading to the cancellation of its upcoming 4K Blu-ray release in the UK. Thanks to some movie magic, Ed Harris’ character probably survives this, but in reality Harris was simply dragged along with a helmet full of water and held his breath during filming. This made it a terrifying filming experience.

Cameron himself even nearly drowned while filming the film. At the bottom of the huge platform, he realized that the AD, who was supposed to monitor Cameron’s oxygen levels, had lost his rhythm. In an effort to surface as quickly as possible, he took off all his diving equipment, even his helmet, and tried to surface as quickly as possible. A safety diver tried to help him, but the breathing regulator was broken, and Cameron was unfortunately sucking in water instead of air. He had to resort to punching the safety diver to free himself from his grip as he thought Cameron was in trouble. Luckily, they were both safe and the possibility of a worse tragedy on set was averted.

This wasn’t the last time Cameron pushed actors to their limits

Although most of the horrors Abyss the shoot was never repeated in Cameron’s next films; he was still known for forcing his actors to walk far during filming. In fact, they won’t be the last to nearly drown while filming a movie, as Kate Winslet almost did the same thing while filming the blockbuster. Titanic. Titanic there was another tough shoot, perhaps not as bad as abyssbut Winslet suffered from hypothermia, broke a bone in her elbow and, yes, almost drowned.

During the scene where they are running away from the flowing water but are stopped by a gate, Winslet’s coat gets caught on the metal. Fighting the rushing water, she had to crawl out of her heavy coat to free herself. “I have no breath left. I thought I was going to burst,” she says. And when Cameron didn’t admit what had just happened and wanted to roll again, she “didn’t want to be a wimp, so [she] didn’t complain.” Considering her turbulent time on Titanic And Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind featuring water when she was added to the cast Avatar: The Way of WaterIt’s clear that she went through a lot more training for the underwater scenes in this film. In fact, Winslet set a record seven minutes holding her breath underwater in this film, breaking Tom Cruise’s previous six-minute record during filming. Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation.

The Abyss is Cameron’s most underrated film.

Despite all the difficulties that the cast and crew faced during the filming of this film, abyss Only after the premiere in the domestic market, box office receipts amounted to less than 10 million. It especially pales in comparison to other films throughout Cameron’s career, such as True lies And Titanic. abyss It may have seemed like a thing of the past, but it still has its fans. Of course, it’s worth watching for anyone who hasn’t seen it. The effect is stunning, and it was so impressive that it laid the foundation for his career. Like his other films, it is epic and looks beautiful, and the actors put many hours of hard work into it. abyss was such a success that it was recently re-released in theaters and restored in stunning 4K resolution.

abyss is currently available for purchase on Amazon Prime Video.

Rent “The Abyss”