20th Century Studios

With its three-hour-plus runtime, some could well say James Cameron’s long in the works “Avatar: The Way of Water” is long enough. Turns out, it could’ve easily gone ten minutes longer until Cameron made one key change.

In a new interview with Esquire Middle East (via Variety), Cameron revealed that he cut out around ten minutes worth of scenes with gun violence. The filmmaker said he no longer has an interest in fetishizing guns in his film’s action scenes given the extent of gun violence in the United States.

Cameron moved to New Zealand a few years ago and told the outlet: “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 goes on to explain that he likely couldn’t make the kinds of films he made in his early days, like “The Terminator” and “Aliens,” anymore because of all the gratuitous scenes that fetishize large guns and their use:

“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 actually cut about 10 minutes of the movie [Avatar: The Way of Water] 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. 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 made headlines last week after an appearance on a podcast teased that a new “Terminator” film was being talked about even with the disastrous box-office results of “Terminator: Dark Fate”. Cameron indicated then if he were to do another he would make it more about “the AI side of it than bad robots gone crazy”.

The talk comes as “Avatar: The Way of Water” did better than expected over the four-day Christmas weekend with a $95.5 million haul. Globally it stands at around $955 million worldwide so far.

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