Patty Jenkins directs Gal Gabot on the set of ‘Wonder Woman’ in 2017; James Cameron attends the Rolex Awards for Enterprise in 2016.
Left, by Clay Enos/Warner Bros/Everett Collection; Right, by Michael Kovac/.
James Cameron has apparently broken through the Lasso of Truth just long enough to double down on his controversial thoughts about Wonder Woman. In a sprawling interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the director stood by his previous remarks about the superhero film—which he called a “step backwards” for women in Hollywood—though he also admitted that they might have been a bit “simplistic.”
When asked if he still believes that Gal Gadot’s iteration of Diana Prince was nothing more than an “objectified icon,” Cameron replied, “Yeah, 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,” he told T.H.R. “She’s absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. To me, that’s not breaking ground. They had Raquel Welch doing stuff like that in the 60s.”
He then pointed out the context of his Wonder Woman comments, which was Cameron comparing the character to the buff Sarah Connor (played by Linda Hamilton) in Terminator 2. “What Linda created in 1991 was, if not ahead of its time, at least a breakthrough in its time,” he said. “I don’t think it was really ahead of its time because we’re still not [giving women these types of roles].”
T.H.R. then asked Cameron about Patty Jenkins’s response to his words. After Cameron’s initial comments went viral, the Wonder Woman director tweeted a thorough retort, saying his “inability” to understand why the film resonates for women all over the world is “unsurprising.”
“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,” Cameron replied. “I thought it was a good film. Period.”
He also nodded toward a larger point about female action stars in cinema: “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.”
It’s a fair point, to be sure. Studios rarely allow women to lead big action franchises either before or behind the camera, and when there are female heroes, they’re still sexualized. But hanging this point on Wonder Woman—a smash hit directed by a woman that was careful to avoid the male gaze—still seems misguided, as Jenkins pointed out in her response.
Cameron admitted that he was “shocked” when his initial thoughts spread like wildfire across the Internet. Though he refused to walk them back, he did add that “it was probably a little bit of a simplistic remark on my part.”
He continued: “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.”
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