Omni: The release version of The Abyss was two hours and 20 minutes; the Special Edition was three hours. About half of what you put back is character development
-- bits and pieces, the relationship between the two main characters. Another 20 minutes is the subplot leading up to nuclear confrontation and the NTIs' (non-terrestrial intelligence) resolution of that with the wave. Was the wave sequence -- which was cut from the theatrical version of the movie, but available on Special Edition on laser disc or cassette -- really inspired by a dream you had?
James Cameron: I used to always dream about tidal waves. I don't know if it's a Jungian thing; I haven't researched it. Waves are rather good metaphors, which is probably why I was attracted to [rewriting the Kathryn Bigelow feature] Point Break, even though I don't surf. It was called Johnny Utah originally; there were nine drafts of the script floating around. The idea of surfing and the psychology of that was very interesting to me.
Waves are fascinating, especially if you've studied physics. Once the energy has been expended to displace the wave, the wave can't be stopped. If you've ever spent any time in big waves, you know that the human body is nothing compared to a mass of water being moved around. Waves struck me as a good metaphor for death. (Omni magazine 1998)