James Cameron is back at it again!
Back in August, James Cameron rained on the parade of Wonder Woman’s success, calling praise for the film “self-congratulatory backpatting” and Patty Jenkins‘s work on the film “a step back” from Cameron’s own work on the Terminator franchise when it comes to female characters:
“All of the self-congratulatory back-patting Hollywood’s been doing over Wonder Woman has been so misguided. She’s an objectified icon, and it’s just male Hollywood doing the same old thing! I’m not saying I didn’t like the movie but, to me, it’s a step backwards. Sarah Connor 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. And to me, [the benefit of characters like Sarah] is so obvious. I mean, half the audience is female!”
At the time, Patty Jenkins responded to Cameron’s comments and their bizarre premise that women can’t be strong and beautiful at the same time, saying:
“James Cameron’s inability to understand what Wonder Woman is, or stands for, to women all over the world is unsurprising as, though he is a great filmmaker, he is not a woman. Strong women are great. His praise of my film Monster, and our portrayal of a strong yet damaged woman was so appreciated. But if women have to always be hard, tough and troubled to be strong, and we aren’t free to be multidimensional or celebrate an icon of women everywhere because she is attractive and loving, then we haven’t come very far have we. I believe women can and should be EVERYTHING just like male lead characters should be. There is no right and wrong kind of powerful woman. And the massive female audience who made the film a hit it is, can surely choose and judge their own icons of progress.”
But in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Cameron simply doubled down on his earlier statements:
“Yes, I’ll stand by that. I mean, 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. They had Raquel Welch doing stuff like that in the ’60s. It was all in a context of talking about why Sarah Connor — what Linda created in 1991 — was, if not ahead of its time, at least a breakthrough in its time. I don’t think it was really ahead of its time because we’re still not [giving women these types of roles].”
It seems that, no matter how hard they may try, no one in Hollywood is able to live up to Linda Hamilton in Terminator, a film, coincidentally, directed by James Cameron.
“Linda looked great. She just wasn’t treated as a sex object. There was nothing sexual about her character. It was about angst, it was about will, it was about determination. She was crazy, she was complicated. … She wasn’t there to be liked or ogled, but she was central, and the audience loved her by the end of the film. So as much as I applaud Patty directing the film and Hollywood, uh, “letting” a woman direct a major action franchise, I didn’t think there was anything groundbreaking in Wonder Woman. I thought it was a good film. Period.”
Cameron was also surprised that his original comments were met with backlash:
“I was certainly shocked that [my comment] was a controversial statement. It was pretty obvious in my mind. I just think Hollywood doesn’t get it about women in commercial franchises. Drama, they’ve got that cracked, but the second they start to make a big commercial action film, they think they have to appeal to 18-year-old males or 14-year-old males, whatever it is. Look, it was probably a little bit of a simplistic remark on my part, and I’m not walking it back, but I will add a little detail to it, which is: I like the fact that, sexually, she had the upper hand with the male character, which I thought was fun.”
It’s not surprising that Cameron found that part fun, as in his previous comments, he was vocal about his second favorite thing to do with strong women, after directing them in movies — date them:
“Being attracted to strong independent women has the downside that they’re strong independent women – they inherently don’t need you! Fortunately, I’m married now to a strong independent woman who does believe she needs me.”
We’d say we wish Cameron would stop starting unnecessary drama with Wonder Woman, but honestly, anything that keeps him distracted from making more Avatar movies is the lesser of two evils.