The Avatar director, who also called the film’s lead Gal Gadot “an objectified icon” in the August interview, sparked widespread controversy with his comments, prompting critical responses from Ghostbusters‘ Paul Feig and the film’s director, Patty Jenkins.
But Cameron doubled down on his critique Wednesday in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, saying, “Yes, I’ll stand by that.”
He explained, “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.
As in his original interview, Cameron pointed to his own films, particularly Terminator — which starred a female lead (Linda Hamilton) in an action hero role — as examples of a more groundbreaking approach.
“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 .”
In her response to Cameron’s original comments, Jenkins noted that not every female character has to look “hard, troubled and tough to be strong.” But on Wednesday, Cameron argued, “Linda looked great. She just wasn’t treated as a sex object.”
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He added, “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.”
As for the outcry his initial interview sparked, Cameron said, “I was certainly shocked that 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.”
While he stands by his comments, Cameron did concede that “it was probably a little bit of a simplistic remark on my part,” adding, “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.”