The James Bond franchise was once under heavy criticism by blockbuster director James Cameron. As many know, Cameron pulled inspiration from the franchise for his 1994 film True Lies. But the film was also meant to highlight something that he found rotten about the 007 series.
How James Bond inspired ‘True Lies’
It was Arnold Schwarzenegger who initially brought the idea of the film to James Cameron. The Terminator actor saw a 1991 French action film titled La Totale!. The film was about a family man who moonlighted as a secret agent.
After seeing it, Schwarzenegger immediately pitched the concept to Cameron. Cameron was also taken with the idea, and realized how it could act as a subversion to the James Bond franchise.
“When I watched it, I got it,” Cameron once told Yahoo. “[Arnold] was dealing with [the idea] of, ‘I’m a husband and I’m a father, but I’m also this icon of masculinity.’ He related to it as, ‘What if James Bond had to go home to his wife and family?’”
Cameron also decided not to film True Lies as a straight-action film, he wanted it to be comedic as well.
“Arnold knew I could handle the action,” he said. “But I’d never done a comedy! So I came up with crazy stuff like him doing the tango with this exotic girl he meets at this mansion party. I sent [Arnold] the script, and in the margin I put an arrow next to the tango and wrote, ‘This is your most dangerous stunt. ’I think he took it to heart, because he did learn how to tango!”
James Cameron once called the James Bond films rotten
What also attracted James Cameron to True Lies was the potential commentary behind it. It presented the Titanic director with the opportunity to flip the concept of James Bond on its head. A concept that he found to be pure male-driven fantasy.
“The James Bond films are rotten at their core. The guy’s a womanizing drunk. He’s a complete scumbag, he really is. It’s male fantasy: I’m married and faithful but I’d really like to be that guy and have a different woman every other night,” he said in a 1998 interview with Movieline. “If you’re going to do a comedy, you don’t just send up the gadgetry. What you send up is the moral center, or the immoral center of it. What would it really be like to try and live that fantasy? It ain’t going to work because that’s not who most men really are.”
Because of this, he found humor in the potential idea of True Lies.
“That struck me as a hysterical premise,” he added. “What if James Bond was married and p****-whipped?”
Jamie Lee Curtis once revealed there would never be a sequel to ‘True Lies’
Some fans have been anticipating a sequel to the first True Lies ever since the original. But True Lies co-star Jamie Lee Curtis once felt that a second True Lies film wasn’t likely to happen. This was mostly because she didn’t believe a sequel could, or should, follow after the 9/11 tragedy.
“I don’t think we could ever do another True Lies after 9/11,” Curtis said according to International Business Times. “This was pre 9/11 so I wouldn’t want to say we could make fun of terrorism but we could make fun of terrorism because it was so outrageous and of course, we can’t ever make fun of them ever again.”