James Cameron is in hot water (no pun intended) over claims that he ripped off a Florida man’s life story for Leonardo DiCaprio’s character of Jack Dawson in the blockbuster film, Titanic.
Just as Titanic celebrates its 20th anniversary and Celine Dion performs “My Heart Will Go On” at Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards for the occasion, a big scandal is brewing around director James Cameron, who has been slapped with a lawsuit from Stephen Cummings.
Stephen Cummings, who alleges James Cameron’s story was based on his life story rather than history about R.M.S. Titanic hitting an iceberg and sinking in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1912, is the reason Cameron’s Titanic legacy could be standing on thin ice.
Stephen Cummings is a man from Florida who apparently wants to spoil the Titanic 20th anniversary for James Cameron and DiCaprio.
According to court documents obtained by TMZ, Stephen Cummings claims Cameron’s depiction of the 1912 deadly incident was not based on history, but instead on Cummings’s stories about two of his relatives who were aboard the doomed ship.
Throughout the past two decades, Titanic fans have been led to believe that the lead characters of James Cameron film – Rose DeWitt Bukater (played by Kate Winslet) and Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) – were fictional.
However, Stephen Cummings now claims that he is the inspiration for Jack Dawson. The Florida man, who used to work in the yacht industry, is accusing James Cameron of stealing his stories, which the Titanic director supposedly learned through word of mouth.
Stephen Cummings believes that James Cameron overheard a conversation about his two relatives back in 1988 in Brevard County, Florida, and it inspired him nearly a decade later to direct Titanic, which went on to win 11 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Direction.
The court has yet to investigate whether or not James Cameron was in Brevard County in 1988 – at the time the alleged conversation took place – and whether Stephen Cummings’s stories are genuine and were not made up.
Stephen Cummings accuses James Cameron of stealing his nearly 30-year-old tale about his relatives he says were on the doomed ship in 1912. In Cummings’s tale, the wife survived and the husband died – which is exactly what happened at the end of 1997’s Oscar-winning Titanic.
— Titanic (@TitanicMovie) April 13, 2017
The story of a wife surviving her husband aboard Titanic in 1912 is unlikely to be a unique story, as 1,517 people died that day.
Stephen Cummings wants $300 million plus one percent of royalties, which is quite a big sum considering that the film went on to earn a whopping $2.5 billion, becoming the fourth most profitable film of all time.
"I'm the king of the world!" ???? pic.twitter.com/6L2ScwZNAq
— Titanic (@TitanicMovie) March 16, 2017
Despite the legal troubles surrounding Titanic, Celine Dion delivered a stunning performance of “My Heart Will Go On” from the soundtrack of the James Cameron film at the Billboard Music Awards, the performance that left many viewers in the audience and watching the broadcast at home teary-eyed, according to TMZ.
Billboard Music Awards co-host Vanessa Hudgens certainly couldn’t hold back tears after the heart-wrenching performance by Celine Dion, for whom it’s been one of her first performances at award shows since her husband René Angélil died last year.
— BillboardMusicAwards (@BBMAs) May 22, 2017
In what is thought to be the best performance of the night, Dion’s performance of the popular song from the Titanic soundtrack honored the film’s 20th anniversary. The performance was met with a standing ovation and the audience at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas pouring a river of tears.
— AXS (@axs) May 9, 2017
James Cameron, who has previously been referred to as a serial plagiarist, is no stranger to bbeingtargeted with plagiarism claims.
Pretty much all of Cameron’s hit films, including Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, True Lies, and especially Avatar, have been slapped with legal lawsuits in the past.
[Featured Image by Handout/Getty Images]