Q & A W I T H R O N C O B B
Cobb is a cartoonist, artist, writer, film designer, and film director. His
stunning work and designs can be seen in Aliens, The Abyss
and True Lies, but it's not limited to James Cameron movies. Ron
also contributed designs to such classics like Star Wars IV : A New Hope,
Alien, Back To The Future and Total Recall among many
was thrilled to conduct a short Q&A with Mr. Cobb about his work on James
JAMESCAMERONONLINE: Do you recall your first meeting with James
RON COBB: I seem to remember multiple 'first' meetings. I'm not sure
which one was first. I do remember getting a phone call from Jim to set up a
JCO: How was working on ALIENS different
than working on ALIEN?
RC: It was quite a bit more efficient in terms of both of us having a
general knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, science and creative problem solving
through engineering. Alien was a classic horror/science/fantasy with Ridley
Scott adding the classy elements of film art. Not that Cameron didn't have a
good eye It's just that his talent spanned smoothly from science to art, a mix I
have always aspired to.
JCO: How specific was James Cameron in his
directions and requirements?
RC: He was very specific. Jim always had a strong vision with all his
scripts and features. However, he was always open to good ideas from just about
anyone (but they had to be damn good ideas). If I could submit an ides or design
that collaboratively enhanced his vision (something I always endeavored to do on
any film project) Cameron was quite receptive.
JCO: Would you say that he was very
JCO: Do you recall any ideas that didn't make it past the designing stage?
RC: Yes, the wedge shaped APC with the 360 degree turning wheels positioned at
the rear. I never found out why it was passed over. My guess was, It was too
expensive and too difficult to depict both as a miniature and a full sized
APC Blueprint courtesy of Ron Cobb. Click to
How did you get
involved in The Abyss?
RC: It all happened in Los Angeles. I really can't remember.
JCO: Steve Burg, who was hired for The Abyss at your suggestion, said that he
and you worked very close together on the designs. Can you explain the working
process between you two?
RC: We both strive for the same thing. Steve has a very good grasp of what
heightens the drama in such scripts: persuasive believability.
JCO: You're credited as the designer of the dive suits as well. Did you also
designed the look of the then newly developed helmets?
RC: I came up with the initial designs for the breathing tanks and helmets. Jim
and the helmet manufactures were pleased enough to come very close to my designs
for the final functioning equipment.
JCO: Around the same time you were also working on another underwater movie
called Leviathan. How did it affect your work and approach for the designs in
RC: Not at all. They were two different kettles of fish. The Abyss was Science
fiction, Leviathan was Horror/Science/Fantasy.
JCO: How was it different working for James Cameron this time?
RC: It wasn't.
JCO: You are credited as the designer of the Omega Sector logo from True Lies.
How did you get involved in the project?
RC: Again it was probably a phone call. ( I also designed the H bombs. )
JCO: Lastly, what is your favorite James Cameron movie?
RC: I have two: 'Terminator' and 'The Abyss'.
JamesCameronOnline sincerely thanks Mr. Cobb for this interview and wish him
luck in his future projects