James Cameron has revealed that he nearly died while filming 1989 cult classic The Abyss.
Cameron, in a conversation after a screening of a new, high-resolution edition of the film, said that while shooting the film, “30 feet down” he “wore heavy weights” to keep him underwater.
On one occasion, he said, he ran out of air and as he surfaced, a safety diver jammed a faulty breathing mask in his mouth.
Cameron said: “He sticks a regulator in my mouth that he didn’t check. It had been banging around the bottom of the tank for three weeks and had a rip through the diaphragm, so I purged carefully and took a deep breath… of water.”
“And then I purged it again, and I took another deep breath… of water. At that point it was almost check-out point and the safety divers are taught to hold you down so you don’t embolize and let your lungs overexpand going up.”
“But I knew what I was doing. And he wouldn’t let me go, and I had no way to tell him the regulator wasn’t working.”
“So I punched him in the face and swam to the surface and therefore survived.”