James Cameron is a man who knows what he wants and knows what he thinks. If he says something controversial, he’s not going to be backing down anytime soon.
It’s part of what has helped make him one of the most successful filmmakers on the planet, but also why he’s had his fair share of run-ins over the years.
Cameron’s latest set-to concerns Patty Jenkins’ big-screen version of Wonder Woman. While most folk have been full of praise for the DC Comics adaptation as a major step forward for feminism, the Titanic director took a different view.
It all started when Cameron spoke to The Guardian ahead of the re-release of Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
Keen to highlight the feminist role Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor played in his first two Terminator outings, he cited Wonder Woman as a film that has been getting far too much credit for the very same thing.
“She’s an objectified icon, and it’s just male Hollywood doing the same old thing,” he said. “I’m not saying I didn’t like the movie but, to me, it’s a step backwards.”
By comparison, he saw Hamilton’s character as something different. “was not a beauty icon. She was strong, she was troubled, she was a terrible mother, and she earned the respect of the audience through pure grit.”
The comments attracted widespread criticism, with Wonder Woman director Jenkins even writing an open letter hitting out at Cameron’s “inability to understand what Wonder Woman is, or stands for, to woman all over the world” adding, “there is no right and wrong kind of powerful woman.”
Most people probably would have left it there, but this is James Cameron, the guy that made Aliens, The Terminator, True Lies and Avatar and he wasn’t about to give up and concede defeat.
This time he went on the attack against the movie’s star Gal Gadot, and her choice of costume.
“She was Miss Israel, and she was wearing a kind of bustier costume that was very form-fitting. She’s absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. To me, that’s not breaking ground,” he said. “They had Raquel Welch doing stuff like that in the ’60s.”
Again, he was keen to make the comparison with Sarah Conoor from Terminator, and the fact that “sex appeal” really wasn’t a consideration for her character.
“Linda looked great. She just wasn’t treated as a sex object. There was nothing sexual about her character… She wasn’t there to be liked or ogled, but she was central, and the audience loved her by the end of the film,” Cameron said.
Though he didn’t necessarily back down, Cameron also added that he enjoyed the dynamic and notable “upper hand” Wonder Woman had on her male co-star Chris Pine.
Cameron’s portrayal of women on the screen is likely to come in for close scrutiny as a result of his comments, with the filmmaker gearing up for four more Avatar movies.
He’s also got plans for another Terminator movie to contend with and has already confirmed Hamilton’s return to the franchise alongside T-800 stalwart Arnold Schwarzenegger.
One thing is for sure: we haven’t heard the last of James Cameron.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.