James Cameron Once Explained Why He’s Become Much Nicer on Film Sets

James Cameron is known for his contributions to movies with works such as Terminator and Avatar. But the director also once had a reputation of having a very short temper while on film sets.

Over the years, however, Cameron acknowledged that he’s mellowed out some.

James Cameron once disagreed with his actors about his temper tantrums

James Cameron at the premiere of 'Alita: Battle Angel'
James Cameron | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Cameron’s film sets were known for being a bit stressful and sometimes even overwhelming for the cast and crew involved. Titanic star Kate Winslet shared that she was even afraid of Cameron at one point because of his tantrums.

“He’s a nice guy, but the problem was that his vision for the film was as clear as it was,” Winslet once told the LA Times. “He has a temper like you wouldn’t believe.. . . As it was, the actors got off lightly. I think Jim knew he couldn’t shout at us the way he did to his crew because our performances would be no good.”

In an interview actor Ed Harris did with Entertainment Weekly, Harris described the challenges of working with Cameron on The Abyss. Harris asserted that actors’ physical well-beings were put in jeopardy a few times while shooting. At one point, one of his co-stars even stormed off the set while shouting at the director.

But Cameron disagreed with the perception of his temper.

“I don’t recall any temper tantrums. Show me the video proof of that,” he once told The New York Times. “What do you say after you come back from a white-water rafting trip? That it was all handled so beautifully? No! You come back and say, ‘Yeah, the raft flipped over, and I almost got killed.’ The fact is, you didn’t get killed. People who work on my films come back and say, ‘Man, I almost died,’ because it makes a better story. It doesn’t mean they actually got hurt or were actually emotionally brutalized.”

James Cameron once explained why he mellowed out over the years

Whereas Cameron may not have agreed with prior characterizations of himself, the filmmaker admitted he became more relaxed over time. In his older years, Cameron began to feel that the quality of a film wasn’t worth the quality of people’s lives.

“Yeah, I think my demeanor at work is much more congenial,” he told The Guardian in 2017. “I’ve learned that, OK, the film is important but quality of life is also important. But it’s a learned art for me. I think for Ron Howard it’s innate – he’s an innately nice guy. I’m an innately nice guy, but bringing that to work has been a learning curve.”

The several deep-sea expeditions the Aliens filmmaker went on over the years also played a part in his newfound attitude.

“I’ve done eight deep-ocean expeditions and, at the end of the day there is no big movie, there is no red carpet. There’s just this little group of people who know how hard it is, and you’re all bonded around that. So I realised that it’s good to have a good movie at the end of a job, but it’s not the most important thing. The working environment is very important,” he confided.

Kate Winslet worked with a calmer James Cameron in ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’

Winslet supported the idea that Cameron has become more accommodating with time. The Way of Water star recently worked with Cameron for his Avatar sequel. During their collaboration, she noticed he wasn’t exactly the same person she worked with on Titanic.

“And the Jim Cameron on Avatar, he is calmer. I will say that he’s just much more stepped into his true self, I think. That’s because of experience,” she told Collider.

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