James Cameron has rigorously fought to keep the ‘three-hour’ blockbuster-size running time for Avatar: The Way of Water, but he did not hesitate to shave off 10 minutes to make a statement.
In a recent interview with Esquire Middle East, the director said he cut portions of the Avatar sequel depicting gun violence because he no longer wants to “fetishize the gun,” via Entertainment Weekly.
“I actually cut about 10 minutes of the movie targeting gunplay action,” Cameron said. “I wanted to get rid of some of the ugliness, to find a balance between light and dark. You have to have conflict, of course. Violence and action are the same thing, depending on how you look at it. This is the dilemma of every action filmmaker, and I’m known as an action filmmaker.”
While Cameron is one of the most successful action filmmakers, he still contemplates whether he would have made some key changes in his previous directorials.
“I look back on some films that I’ve made, and I don’t know if I would want to make that film now,” he said. “I don’t know if I would want to fetishize the gun, like I did on a couple of Terminator movies 30-plus years ago, in our current world. What’s happening with guns in our society turns my stomach.”
“I’m happy to be living in New Zealand, where they just banned all assault rifles two weeks after that horrific mosque shooting a couple of years ago,” he added.
The Terminator franchise has received mixed reviews over the years, but the director thinks it’ll take more than terrible reviews and several consecutive flops to keep him down. However, he will probably steer into a different direction for the plot.
“If I were to do another Terminator film and maybe try to launch that franchise again, which is in discussion, but nothing has been decided,” Cameron said recently on the Smartless podcast, “I would make it much more about the AI side of it than bad robots gone crazy.”