James Cameron Played His ‘Because I Made Titanic’ Card In A Creative Clash With The Studio Over ‘Avatar’ (And It Worked)

Do you recall that Ron Swanson scene from Parks and Rec where he provides his own permit for grilling in a park because he is Ron Swanson? That seems to be the mindset that James Cameron has when it comes to making movies. To be fair, Cameron’s movies have made (and continue to make) bank at the box office, so it makes sense that Fox would let him take the reigns on his post-Titanic project. But does he have to be so James Cameron about it all?

In a new profile with The New York Times, Cameron revisited his filmmaking process and revealed the various creative clashes that he went through with 20th Century Fox while he was making Avatar. “I think I felt, at the time, that we clashed over certain things. For example, the studio felt that the film should be shorter and that there was too much flying around on the ikran — what the humans call the banshees,” Cameron explained. According to the director, he fought to keep that scene in the movie which apparently became an audience favorite. Cameron used that to his advantage while also dunking on the studio execs who were trying to make cuts.

In a very ‘my house my rules!’ fashion, Cameron said that he was able to convince the studio to keep it in because of how much money his disaster film Titanic brought in for the company. “It turns out that’s what the audience loved the most, in terms of our exit polling and data gathering. And that’s a place where I just drew a line in the sand and said, “You know what? I made Titanic. This building that we’re meeting in right now, this new half-billion dollar complex on your lot? Titanic paid for that, so I get to do this.”

He added, “Afterward, they thanked me. I feel that my job is to protect their investment, often against their own judgment. But as long as I protect their investment, all is forgiven.” Let’s be honest though, a lot of that money Titanic made was from people who just wanted to look at Leonardo DiCaprio’s face. He would have made that billion dollars no matter what.

(Via The New York Times)