EXCLUSIVE: After smashing box office records with Titanic, James Cameron segued to television with a primetime series. Now, after topping Titanic’s record haul with Avatar, Cameron is returning to TV with what is one of the hottest projects this development season: a TV series take on his 1994 action comedy True Lies that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis. I hear the project, from Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment and 20th Century Fox TV, is about to be taken out to the networks. Rene Echevarria is the writer/showrunner, exec producing with Cameron and Lightstorm’s Rae Sanchini and Jon Landau. The 1994 movie centered on Harry Tasker (Schwarzenegger), a computer salesman/family man who lives a double life as a government spy. During a top-secret mission, Harry discovers that his mousy wife Helen (Curtis), is seeking adventure. Harry sets out to give her the excitement she craves while battling Middle Eastern terrorists who threaten nuclear war with the U.S.
After Titanic, which nabbed 11 Oscars, Cameron co-created and exec produced his first and only TV series to date, Fox’s sci-fi drama Dark Angel starring Jessica Alba. Echevarria worked on the show for its entire 2-season run, first as a co-executive producer and then as an exec producer. Lightstorm president Sanchini also served as a producer on the series. Echevarria, who co-created/executive produced the USA Network series The 4400, most recently served as an exec producer/co-showrunner on ABC’s crime dramedy Castle and also exec produces the upcoming MTV series Teen Wolf.
On the feature side, Cameron is considering several projects, including Avatar sequel(s), Battle Angel and The Dive. But 16 years after its release, True Lies continues to be a fan favorite, with speculation about a potential sequel never dying. Cameron wrote and directed the movie, which was based on the 1991 French film La totale! penned by Claude Zidi, Didier Kaminka and Simon Michael. The trio shared screenplay credit with Cameron on the Hollywood adaptation. Like Titanic and Avatar, True Lies was at the time the most expensive movie ever made, rumored to be in the $100M-$120M range. True Lies also marked the first Lightstorm project to be distributed under Cameron’s multi-million dollar production deal with 20th TV’s sibling movie studio Fox.