‘You know what? I made Titanic’: James Cameron recalls using his clout to keep certain scenes in Avatar
The Avatar sequel titled Avatar: The Way of Water is due in cinemas on Friday, December 16. Director James Cameron (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for AMC)
James Cameron is considered one of the finest filmmakers to have ever been born in Hollywood. The successful filmmaker has a number of blockbusters to his credit, including Titanic and Avatar. However, despite having an unbeatable track record at the box office, he still had to lock horns with the studio executives to keep his favourite scenes in his 2009 blockbuster Avatar.
Ahead of the re-release of Avatar and the grand premiere of its sequel Avatar: The Way of Water in December, Cameron recently spoke to the New York Times about how he had to argue with determination with the makers at twentieth Century Studios over certain scenes of the film.
“I think I felt, at the time, that we clashed over certain things,” Cameron said. “For example, the studio felt that the film should be shorter and that there was too much flying around on the ikran—what the humans call the banshees. Well, it turns out that’s what the audience loved the most, in terms of our exit polling and data gathering. And that’s a place where I just drew a line in the sand and said, ‘You know what? I made Titanic.’ This building that we’re meeting in right now, this new half-billion-dollar complex on your lot? ‘Titanic’ paid for that, so I get to do this.’”
The 20th Century Fox executives ultimately obliged, and the stunning flight scenes received a humongous response from the makers when the film was released. “And afterward, they thanked me,” Cameron added. “I feel that my job is to protect their investment, often against their own judgment. But as long as I protect their investment, all is forgiven.”
“It’s such an intense process when you’re editing a film and you have to fight for every frame that stays in,” he continued. “I felt pretty good about the creative decisions that were made back then. We spent a lot of time and energy improving our process in the decade-plus since. But there’s certainly nothing cringeworthy. I can see tiny places where we’ve improved facial-performance work. But it doesn’t take you out. I think it’s still competitive with everything that’s out there these days.”
Avatar: The Way of Water is due in cinemas on Friday, December 16.