James Cameron cursed Fox Exec for asking ‘Avatar’ to be shortened

“I told him to get the hell out of my office. And there it stayed.”

With $2.92 billion at the global box office, James Cameron’s Avatar is the highest-grossing film of all time. But in the months leading up to its premiere, many were skeptical that it could even break even – including many executives at Cameron’s “Avatar” homebase Fox.

In an interview with GQ Magazine to promote the long-awaited Avatar sequel The Way of Water next month, Cameron shared that after a preview of the original film, a Fox executive he declined to name , “because this is a really negative review”, asked him to shorten the 162-minute film. The famously short-sighted Cameron described the manager as having a “haunted cancer diagnosis expression” and promptly chocked it out for doubting his vision.

“I said something I’ve never said to anyone else in the industry,” Cameron told GQ. “‘I think this movie is going to make all the damn money. And if that’s the case, it will be too late for you to love the film. The time for you to love the movie is today. So I’m not asking you to say anything you don’t feel, but just know that no matter how commendable you are about the film in the future, when it rakes in all the money, I will always know this. And that’s exactly what I said, in capital letters, ALL MONEY, not some of money Everyone the damn money.”

“You can’t come back to me and compliment the film or join in and say, ‘Look what we did together,'” Cameron continued. “‘You won’t be able to do this.’ At that point, this particular studio manager freaked out and got on my nerves. And I told him to get the hell out of my office. And there it stayed.”

Cameron finally proved the manager wrong when “Avatar” actually made all the damn money. The Titanic and Aliens director was allowed to go even longer for The Way of Water, with the ten-year sequel stretching well past the three-hour benchmark. In an interview with Total Film earlier this month, Cameron defended the film’s running time by comparing the film to HBO’s The Sopranos, saying it’s a family drama along the same lines.

“The goal is to tell a highly compelling story on an emotional basis,” said Cameron. “I would say the focus of the new film is more on character, more on story, more on relationships, more on emotions. We didn’t spend as much time on relationships and emotions in the first film as we did in the second film, and it’s a longer film because there are more characters to serve. There is more history to the service.”

Elsewhere in the GQ interview, Cameron addressed his reputation for having a fiery temper – the story notes that several sets for his film saw crew members make shirts that said, ‘You can’t scare me – I work for Jim Cameron.” According to Cameron, he’s aware of this and trying to work on it to improve it.

“I think there was a time early on when that reputation worked in my favor,” he told GQ. “And it took on this Paul Bunyan-esque, slightly larger-than-life quality. And then there was a legitimate time when I was like, ‘Okay, why am I so upset, and what does this solve?’ I’m not saying I don’t get upset every now and then. I mean, I think everyone is entitled to a bad day. But whereas before it might have been once every few weeks. Now it’s about twice a year.”

The Way of Water hits theaters on December 16th.

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https://www.indiewire.com/2022/11/james-cameron-cursed-out-fox-exec-make-avatar-shorter-1234784640/ James Cameron cursed Fox Exec for asking ‘Avatar’ to be shortened

Lindsay Lowe

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