James Cameron Freely Admits That He Used ‘Avatar: The Way Of Water’ To Work Out His ‘Asshole Dad’ Tendencies

As Avatar: The Way of Water gets ready to dive into theaters this month, the sequel is testing the cultural impact of the first Avatar film. In the process, James Cameron has not been shy about his filmmaking process for the sequel that’s 13 years in the making. In his latest interview, Cameron reiterated that, unlike the Marvel movies, the Avatar sequel will show his heroes actually growing and taking on the greatest challenge of them all: raising a family.

In order to tackle Jake and Neytiri’s role as parents, Cameron admits that he mined his interactions with his own kids to flesh out the dynamic at the center of The Way of Water. Via The Hollywood Reporter:

“I’m on a rules-based universe, and the kids weren’t into it,” Cameron says. “They said, ‘You’re never around half the time. And, then, when you come home, you try to make up for it by telling us all what to do. And Mom’s really the one that’s been making all the rules the whole time while you’ve been off shooting. So you don’t get to come home and do that.'”

More specifically, Cameron used the sequel to grapple with bringing his domineering directorial style home with him instead of leaving it on set. In a surprisingly open and self-deprecating moment, Cameron admits that he can be a lot to deal with as a dad, and his kids were right to call him out.

“I thought, ‘I’m going to work out a lot of my stuff, artistically, that I’ve gone through as a parent of five kids,'” Cameron told THR. “The overarching idea is, the family is the fortress. It’s our greatest weakness and our greatest strength. I thought, ‘I can write the hell out of this. I know what it is to be the asshole dad.'”

Avatar: The Way of Water hits theaters on December 16.

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)