Long before Avatar was released in cinemas and had become the highest-grossing film of all time (racking up more than $2.8 billion at the box office) director Cameron was working hard to keep order on set. The legendary filmmaker is best known for helming such iconic pictures as Aliens, The Terminator and Titanic. And with his prestige came a certain sense of authority, something that Jake Sully star Worthington says also came with threats.
In an interview years after Avatar’s release, Worthington revealed: “If a mobile phone goes off [Cameron would] nail it to the wall with a nail gun.” And, as legend has it, the director did exactly this with a runner’s mobile phone on the film’s set.
Considering the star is all about perfection on his big-screen movies, it makes sense that he might have felt it necessary to carry out a drastic measure. And he didn’t help himself when he even confessed he would do some nailing if the opportunity arose.
Cameron explained he would carry out the act – but in his own way. He said: “Would I nail a cellphone to the wall with a nail gun? Absolutely, if it went off in the middle of a take. But it doesn’t mean I would be emotionally enraged. I would do it in a calculated theatrical way.” He went on to add that: “But when the story gets told later it sounds like somebody who’s constantly off at the deep end. That’s the beauty of my reputation. I don’t have to shout anymore because the word is out there already.”
The Canadian director also addressed the rumours head-on.
Titanic actor Kate Winslet once called working with the film boss an “ordeal”. She added that Cameron has a “temper like you wouldn’t believe”. The 67-year-old was keen to defend himself, however.
He revealed: “Look, I’m a perfectionist and I strive for excellence, and if that means more than one take, then I’ll keep plugging away. As I told my wife Suzy on our wedding day, this is my final take.”
Cameron also added: “The reality is passion for the work, the reality is that I have people who are very loyal to me and come back project after project … so I can’t be that bad.” The director is returning to the Avatar franchise for Avatar 2 – which is due out this year – and Avatar 3 in the near future. Every member of the original film’s cast will be making a return to reprise their character roles, so he certainly cannot be as bad as his critics say.
Avatar is available to watch on Disney Plus now.
Avatar 2 hits cinemas on December 16, 2022.
Avatar 3 does not yet have a release date.