The relationship between National Geographic and James Cameron just became a bit more special, with the "Avatar" and "Titanic" director becoming the first living celebrity to land the cover of the 125-year-old magazine.
“We’re not about celebrities; we’re about exploration,” editor-in-chief Chris Johns told the Washington Post
. Cameron is “the only person who, by himself, has gone to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. He talks the talk and walks the walk.”
“James Cameron is hard-core. He’s out there. That’s why I love him," added Johns.
For the June cover, Cameron threw on a wet suit and jumped into a water tank, patiently holding his breath while photographer Marco Grob took the shots. “I was sometimes concerned,” Grob told NatGeo
. “I’d knock on the window and say, ‘Hey, come up.’”
Next month, the 58-year-old — who is also a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence
— will be honored at the magazine's 125th anniversary gala along with BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner, oceanographer Sylvia Earle, and philanthropist Howard Buffet.