The Academy Award-winning director of Titanic said he trimmed 10 minutes off the film's 3-hour and 12-minute running time that involved characters shooting with firearms.
His decision was based on his response to normalized gun violence in American society, which he said, "turns my stomach."
He told Esquire Middle East via Variety:
“I actually cut about 10 minutes of the movie targeting gunplay action."
“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."
As an action filmmaker, he brought up a unique challenge that presents itself when directing for the genre.
"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.”
Critics of Cameron commented on how that ship has sailed.
Cameron, who also helmed some of the Terminator movies that incorporated extremely violent action scenes, offered this retrospective take.
"I look back on some films that I’ve made, and I don’t know if I would want to make that film now."
"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.”
He recently teased on the Smartless podcast that a new Terminator film was being discussed despite the box office failures of Terminator Genisys (2015) and Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)–which reportedly made $261 million worldwide and lost $122.6 million and became one of the biggest box office bombs of all time.
If and when a continuation of the Terminator franchise would hit the big screen, audiences should expect the movie to focus more on the storyline over violence.
“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, I would make it much more about the AI side of it than bad robots gone crazy.”
Avatar: The Way of Water is currently in theaters nationwide.