Since you're such a high-tech guy, I'm forgoing the tape recorder for this talk and going digital.

Oh, a recording stick? Cool. I'll talk a lot.

The best part of "Aliens of the Deep" is watching how gee-whiz excited you get down there.

Yeah--how I get, how the scientists get. I love taking these Ph.D.s out there and watching them reduced to 5-year-old kids.

Are they easier to work with than, say, actors?

[Laughs] Well, it's funny, there's some of the same concerns: How do I look? Am I doing something stupid? The thing is, science is important to every scientist. But maybe one in 10 can express why.

Was "Aliens" harder to make than an action film?

Yeah. First, you can't control the ocean. And there's no point writing a script because the ocean can't read it. You never know if your next dive's gonna be a bust or a jackpot.

You're finally making a new Hollywood film?

Yeah, it's called "Battle Angel," and it's a futuristic action movie adapted from a series of nine Japanese manga graphic novels. It'll be in 3-D, and the main character will be all computer-generated, like Gollum, but we want it to play like you're in a real environment watching real things happen.

It comes out in 2007--10 years after "Titanic." Were you worried about how to follow such a phenomenon?

You know what? With the satisfaction I get from these expeditions, I could happily never make another feature film. But now that I've found some challenges that interest me, I'm anxious to get back into it. But I'd be fine if someone said, "Mr. Cameron, you're done with the Hollywood thing." I'd be like, "OK, good excuse to go diving!"

And hey, you'll always have "Titanic"--

[Laughs] Yes, I'll always have Paris.

What's a Hilton Doing in Utah?

Two decades ago, no one would schlep all the way to Park City, Utah, for the annual Sundance Film Festival. Now Main Street is choked with celebrity gawkers and overcrowded parties. Even demure, publicity-shy Paris Hilton was seen around town, searching, no doubt, for that elusive independent vision. The screenings were packed with Hollywood buyers eager to find the next "Napoleon Dynamite." Paramount Classics forked over a risky $9.5 million for "Hustle and Flow," the tale of a pimp with dreams of rap stardom. (Better, and less commercial, was Rebecca Miller's "The Ballad of Jack and Rose," starring husband Daniel Day-Lewis.) At the premiere of "Inside Deep Throat," a documentary about the infamous porn flick, its costar Harry Reems took the stage to cheers. In the 1970s, a drug habit nearly killed him and left him homeless. But he got sober, found Jesus and is now a successful real-estate broker--in Park City.

For Those About to Rock...

In an interview about hosting the Feb. 27 Academy Awards, Chris Rock promised that Jamie Foxx was going to get an Oscar even if he had to steal him one. The comedian teased the public again last week:

ON SELF-CENSORING "I'm never proper or careful, but I never curse in front of my mother, either."

ON BEING A GOOD HOST "A great monologue does it... It's like sports: get a big lead and run out the clock."

ON WHY HE'S NOT AN ACADEMY MEMBER "If you're darker than a paper bag, you can't get in."

ON WHY CHRIS ROCK "Ellen DeGeneres has crabs. Leno's got a gig. They got to the R's. Burt Reynolds said no."

What's in a Nickname?

In retrospect, Irving Lorenzo probably shouldn't have nicknamed himself "Gotti" or dubbed his hip-hop label "Murder Inc." People--like, say, the FBI--might've gotten the wrong idea. Or the right idea. Last week Irv Gotti, whose label is home to superstars Ja Rule and Ashanti, pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he and his brother Chris helped reputed drug kingpin and murder suspect Kenneth (Supreme) McGriff launder more than $1 million in drug money through the record label, which Gotti had recently rechristened "The Inc." to stave off bad press. (Hey, better late than never.) After making bail, Gotti insisted to reporters that he is guilty only of "making great music." Does that mean the dumb nickname is someone else's fault?

--Devin Gordon

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