Director James Cameron has a knack for big-budget movies and bringing them all together for moviegoers’ excitement, but one scene was cut from a 90s classic. Cameron is known for his work on Titanic and Avatar. Yet he recalled having to drop a pretty powerful scene involving Arnold Schwarzenegger in True Lies.
James Cameron talked about it in a one-on-one chat with Barbie director Greta Gerwig for Variety in their Directors on Directors series. “Sometimes compromises lead to something that actually works,” Cameron said. “When we were making ‘True Lies,’ we had this elaborate setpiece that was going to take place up in these snowy mountains. There was skiing and a crashed helicopter. [Arnold Schwarzenegger] winds up skiing a helicopter on its skids down the mountain — a big James Bond sequence. We shot one night in the mountains.”
“I had this horrific image that we were going to be there for three weeks,” he said. “We were already behind schedule. At that point, I knew we just wouldn’t hit our release date if we stayed there. I got the crew together in the hotel the next morning. I said, ‘We’re going to finish the scene tonight. The helicopter’s out, this is out, that’s out. He shoots two guys, jumps in the van, they drive away.’ We finished it in one night.”
James Cameron Critiqued for Being Demanding
Greta Gerwig countered Cameron’s story by saying that more directors should put a good word in for compromising. “I look at these stories [of directors], and I feel like they stuck to their guns,” she said. “I said to my producer, David Heyman, ‘You should start circulating more stories about directors who compromise and it works out. The only stories I hear are of directors who say, ‘No, we’re going to do it this way.’”
James Cameron does have a reputation for being a rather demanding director. When filming Titanic, Cameron made stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet do most of their own stunts. Do you remember seeing DiCaprio and Winslet in the water for scenes? That was them, not a stunt double at all. If he had gone through with Schwarzenegger’s stunt, then we wonder if he’d make Arnold sit through it.
For True Lies, Schwarzenegger did a lot of his own stunt work. The same goes for Jamie Lee Curtis, who held a wire while being carried through the air below a helicopter. Curtis reportedly asked Cameron to do the stunt before she did it.
James Cameron’s movie resume is filled with many successes. The Terminator featuring Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton was a success. So was Avatar and Avatar: The Way of Water.
Actors, Crew Members Have Opinions of Celebrated Director
Some actors and crew members might call out James Cameron for his on-set behavior. Others, though, see him as someone trying to get the most out of everyone working on his movies.
His work has been praised and even set a pattern for others to follow. Cameron reportedly is not shy about telling someone how they should do their job. Another person who worked for James Cameron called him an “egomaniac.” The on-set behavior and downright controlling nature he embodies do not sit well with a lot of people.
Still, Cameron can point to his movies and their huge box-office ticket sales.
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