James Cameron Cut Out 10 Minutes of ‘Avatar 2’ Gun Violence Because It Made His Stomach Sick: ‘I Don’t Want to Fetishize Guns’ Anymore

Popular on Variety

Much of the conversation around James Cameron’s long-awaited “Avatar: The Way of Water” has centered on its three-hour runtime, which has hardly stopped the film from topping box office charts around the world. In a new interview with Esquire Middle East, Cameron revealed the film would’ve run 10 minutes longer had he not cut out scenes with gun violence. The filmmaker said he is no longer interested in fetishizing guns in his action scenes given the rampant gun violence in the U.S.

“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.”

Cameron said earlier in the interview, “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.”

“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,” Cameron added as an aside.

Given Cameron’s comments, it’s safe to assume that action scenes in “The Terminator” franchise will look a bit different should it ever return to the screen. The director recently made headlines on the “Smartless” podcast after teasing that a new “Terminator” movie is being talked about. The franchise has experienced one box office flop (“Terminator Genisys”) after another (“Terminator: Dark Fate”) in recent years. “Dark Fate” was a particularly huge box office bomb with just $261 million worldwide.

As Cameron said on the podcast: “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 now playing in theaters nationwide.