Avatar: Way of the Water director and co-writer James Cameron has revealed he cut ten minutes of gun violence from the belated science fiction sequel.
In an interview with Esquire Middle East, the beloved filmmaker said that he didn’t want to “fetishize” gun violence by heavily featuring it. "I actually cut about 10 minutes of the movie targeting gunplay action,” said Cameron, who previously directed more gunplay-heavy films like The Terminator and its sequel, Aliens, and True Lies. “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.”
He specifically cited the level of gun violence in the United States as one of the leading reasons behind his decision. “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 continued. "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."
The Canadian filmmaker currently lives in New Zealand, where he shot the Avatar sequel and runs a plant-based meat, cheese, and dairy company with director Peter Jackson. “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 said.
Cameron’s latest sci-fi epic has made an impressive showing at the worldwide box office since its debut earlier this month. It’s currently on track to make $1 billion worldwide by the end of the year, and has already taken in a solid $278 million at the domestic box office. The numbers are currently under initial expectations, but the first film had considerable legs so it’s safe to assume Way of the Water will as well. The 2009 original is the highest film of all-time, with a total of over $2.9 billion worldwide when accounting for a 2021 re-release.