James Cameron’s Prescient Strange Days Ideas Were Born Even Earlier Than You’d Think

Cameron spoke a lot about the development of “Strange Days” after the film’s release. In a 1995 interview with Bobbie Wygant, the filmmaker traced his initial idea to the mid ’80s. “The original idea was, I think, from almost 10 years ago,” Cameron recalled. “The funny thing is nine years ago I was writing it on a legal pad, I wasn’t even working on a word processor, you know?”

In an interview with Omni Magazine, Cameron revealed even more about the writing process. He pitched the story to then-wife Bigelow in the early ’90s, with an “unwieldy,” 90-page treatment (one of Cameron’s infamous “scriptments”). “I wound up with a lot of stuff in the treatment, a lot of texture,” Cameron explained. “It was practically a novel, [but] it needed structure. It was so Byzantine and had so much in it.”

After an initial first draft in 1994, Cameron pivoted to direct “True Lies.” The script passed to writer and critic Jay Cocks in the interim. “Jay did a draft, did a great job structuring ‘Strange Days,'” Cameron continued. “Then I came back and did a dialogue polish on top of his draft.”

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