James Cameron: With "Terminator: Dark Fate" we made a feminist film
By David Villafranca
Promotional photo provided by Paramount Pictures showing producer James Cameron. Two of the three biggest box office successes in history have his stamp and he has been working on four sequels to "Avatar," but Cameron took time to return to the Terminator saga as producer of "Terminator: Dark Fate," a film that, he told EFE, he considers to be "feminist." EFE-EPA/ Courtesy Paramount Pictures/Editorial Use Only/No Sales
By David Villafranca
Los Angeles, Oct 30 (efe-epa).- Two of the three biggest box office successes in history have his stamp and he has been working on four sequels to "Avatar," but James Cameron took time to return to the Terminator saga as producer of "Terminator: Dark Fate," a film that, he told EFE, he considers to be "feminist."
"Dark Fate" hits theaters this week, with the original film's stars - Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger - but also featuring Latino actors Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna and Diego Boneta.
A master of contemporary film and a genius at making box office blockbusters, Cameron, in a telephone interview with EFE from New Zealand, where he is working on the "Avatar" sequels, reflected on the challenges of artificial intelligence, diversity on the silver screen and his feelings regarding returning to the Terminator world, which was the springboard for his career.
Question: Almost 30 years have passed since "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and 35 since "The Terminator." Why did you feel that this was the time to return to Terminator?
Answer: It's not like I woke up one day and said, "I've got to go make the new Terminator Movie."
I'm interested in artificial intelligence. Things (that) were science fiction in 1984, when we released the first film, are now not science fiction any more. People are ... talking about (it) ... as a ... serious threat to humanity.
"We plan on making three movies that really deal with this ... potential coming conflict with artificial super-intelligence of our own creation. Not a lot of that is reflected in "Dark Fate." DF is meant to be the first of the three movies, and of course we only get to make those other movies if DF goes out and makes some money.
Q: I'm pretty sure that it will make some money...
A: (Laughing) Well, we'll see, we'll see.
Q: We've seen many films and dystopic series recently. Why do the Terminator films continue to be relevant?
A: It's interesting. Sci-fi goes back and forth. In the '60s and '70s it was all very dark stuff. And then 'Star Wars' came along and ... (from then) on and in the '80s it was all much more like space opera heroes and fancy stuff. "Terminator" in 1984 was kind of against the grain. It was a dark picture, it was very dark, very gritty, it had dark scenes but it was ultimately very hopeful about humanity, there was a ray of light, you know.
But right now, we're in a time where we've got a lot of threats ... to the human race ... pollution, climate change, global warfare, that's kind of disintegrating geopolitics. ... I came up with the title "Dark Fate" because I thought it suggested a kind of a grimness. But I think that, you know, ... fans of "Terminator" ... feel like the movies got a little too light and glossy.
Q: Part of that darkness has to do with the return of Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, who here appears unkempt, alone and mad at the world.
A: We wanted to see ... where is Sarah Connor going to go in her life after she loses her son and she has to deal with the idea of a nuclear war.
So I had this idea that she becomes a Terminator hunter, that she goes after them .... She doesn't wait (for) the future to dictate to her. She finds any manifestation of the future trying to come back and manipulate our present and she goes, and tackles it head-on.
Q: She's not the only proactive female character in the film. There are also those of Mackenzie Davis and Natalia Reyes. Having three protagonist women like this, do you think that "Dark Fate" is a feminist film?
A: I think (some) people ... take an extreme position that ... feminism is the province of women and only female directors and female writers can do it. But I think feminism should be in the province of any artist, male or female, that wants to explore those ideas.
Now, it was an all-male writing team, it's a male director. But ... we believed we were making a feminist movie. If women respond to it, then I guess we were. ... A strong female character ... has to be a woman psychologically ... I think we did that with Sarah because her entire psychology is predicated on her being, in a sense, a failed mother.
But I think ... artists should try to push against preconceptions that they were raised with and try to say something.
Q: Personally, what did you feel when you returned to work with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton?
A: Personally thrilled, that L and A both came back. And when I saw ... their scenes together. I thought "Wow, this is surreal. This is amazing." ... It almost felt like no time had passed. And I realized that "Terminator" isn't mine anymore: and it belongs to them. I created the characters but they brought them to life.
Q: How has it been to return to Pandora, to the ("Avatar") universe you created?
A: I was excited that people wanted to explore that world much, much farther. ... The biggest problem with the sequel is that I have too many ideas. Keeping it focused ... but we've got great new landscapes, creatures, cultures and, you know, I ... basically live within that world all day, every day.