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A James Cameron project could get defused

March 1, 2010 |  1:45 pm
James Cameron fans hungrily awaiting word on  "Avatar 2" may have a small, if improbable, reason to celebrate today.

The publisher of a nonfiction book that Cameron and his Lightstorm Entertainment production company had optioned about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is recalling the title.

Hir Charles Pellegrino's "The Last Train From Hiroshima" tells the story of several figures who were part of the fateful mission that saw the Enola Gay drop an atomic bomb on Japan at the end of WWII. But according to the Associated Press, the book, which was released in January and currently has about 18,000 copies in print, has run aground because of questions about Pellegrino's research, including the not-small matter of whether two of the main characters he wrote about indeed existed. Today, publisher Henry Holt has said it will cease shipping the book to stores and give a full refund to retailers and wholesalers who want to return the title.

And it's unlikely the world's most famous director will want to cherrypick material from a contested book for a movie rooted in a true story.

Of course, it's possible Cameron could still produce or direct a Hiroshima film based on other material. But given the questions about the book -- and given that Cameron recently said in an interview that "it looks like we won't be seeing anything substantial emerge for at least the next little bit" on the movie anyway -- you can pretty much bet this won't be a priority. Which, Cameron fans will be quick to note, could be one more obstacle cleared on the path to "Avatar 2."

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: The ruins of Hiroshima. Credit: Stanley Troutman / Associated Press