Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Thursday, 4 March 2010

Avatar director James Cameron defends Hiroshima author

Mushroom cloud from atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima
More than 200,000 people were killed in the two atomic bombings

James Cameron has not ruled out making a film of a book about the atomic bombing of Japan which was pulled because of concerns over accuracy.

Publisher Henry Holt and Co ceased production of Charles Pellegrino's Last Train From Hiroshima on Monday.

It said Pellegrino "was not able to answer" questions about its accuracy or the reliability of his sources.

Cameron, who owns the film rights, said a source "clearly used elaborate deception to create a false account".

'Deep regret'

Last week, Pellegrino told the New York Times he had been misled by book contributor Joseph Fuoco.

Mr Fuoco said in his testimony that he had been a last-minute replacement for a flight engineer on the Enola Gay - the B-29 plane that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

Pellegrino worked as an adviser on Cameron's award-winning film Avatar

Pellegrino - an adviser on Cameron's Oscar-nominated 3D epic Avatar - apologised and promised to correct the text.

Further questions were later raised about the existence of a Father Mattias - who was said in the book to have lived in Hiroshima at the time of the bombing and committed suicide - and a Jesuit scholar, John MacQuitty, said to have presided over his funeral.

Publisher Holt said on Monday that Pellegrino had been unable to offer a satisfactory answer.

"It is with deep regret that Henry Holt and Company announces that we will not print, correct or ship copies of Charles Pellegrino's The Last Train from Hiroshima," it said, in a statement on Monday.

"It is easy to understand how even the most diligent author could be duped by a source, but we also understand that opens that book to very detailed scrutiny," it added.

"The author of any work of non-fiction must stand behind its content."

It added: "Unfortunately, Mr Pellegrino was not able to answer the additional questions that have arisen about his book to our satisfaction."

'Elaborate deception'

In an e-mail to the Associated Press (AP) news agency later on Monday, Pellegrino said he had used pseudonyms to protect the identity of the men.

Cameron, meanwhile, has defended long-time collaborator Pellegrino, telling AP: "All I know is that Charlie would not fabricate so there must be a reason for the misunderstanding."

James Cameron
On our numerous projects together, I have known Charlie to be a diligent and thorough researcher who always does his best to cross reference testimony
James Cameron

He added: "Charlie's faulty source clearly used elaborate deception to create a false account.

"On our numerous projects together, I have known Charlie to be a diligent and thorough researcher who always does his best to cross reference testimony."

Cameron said it had been a long-held ambition of his to make a film about the Hiroshima bombings and that he still intended "to do so - although I currently do not have a shooting script and no decision has been made to proceed in the short term".

In a statement on Wednesday, the 509th Composite Group - made up of veterans and relatives of those who carried out the bombings - criticised Cameron's support for Pellegrino.

It said it suspected the director "did not understand the extent of the misrepresentations in Pellegrino's Hiroshima book".

Cameron said he would "contact the 509th directly and get this resolved".

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