There is an epidemic of kidnapping in Mexico, with one estimate putting the number of kidnappings per month at 500. So what do you do when your father is abducted and the kidnappers want $1 million? Well, you can call in professional negotiators and basically haggle with the bad guys for weeks. But sometimes that isn’t enough. Sometimes you need a hero to step up. Sometimes you need a good friend with a spare million dollars. In other words, sometimes you need James Cameron. In 1998, Cameron’s friend and fellow filmmaker, Guillermo del Toro, endured a nightmare when his father was kidnapped in Mexico City. After several weeks of fruitless negotiations, del Toro turned to his old friend. “Cameron promptly shuffled del Toro into a car, and hastened him over to his bank, promptly handing over $1 million in cash,” reports Uproxx. “He also recommended a negotiator that would help bring Federico del Toro home in one piece. After 72 days, del Toro’s father was released without harm. In the aftermath of the kidnapping, a few men connected with the crime were arrested, but most of the criminals were able to make off with the money and no criminal repercussions.”
In the aftermath, del Toro left Mexico for good. “Unfortunately I have to leave Mexico after the kidnapping of my father. Creatively I would be back, but as a parent I find it very difficult to return with the assurance that it will not be a problem.” His father, however, still lives there, and del Toro says that “every time I see him, I demand for him to do something entertaining, because he was so expensive.” Of course, it goes without saying that del Toro and Cameron are closer than ever, and their friendship has resulted in the two helping each other’s work, and I guess del Toro feels obliged to say nice things about Avatar. “I’ve been with him in the editing room for True Lies, Titanic, Avatar, all of them. When I was going to do Pacific Rim, he gave me a private tutoring on 3-D conversion, and on 3-D theory. Can’t ask for anything better! He’s a great friend and an even more extraordinary filmmaker.” And there I was thinking that Cameron was just using his Titanic residual checks to fund his little Under the Sea project.