In a candid interview, James Cameron has revealed the extent of his involvement with Terminator Dark Fate and detailed a complicated post-production process with director Tim Miller. While he didn't set foot on the set due to his Avatar commitments, Cameron's influence on Dark Fate was more extensive than originally believed. Speaking to CinemaBlend, Cameron explained that the first rough cut (assembled by Miller) was a world away from the movie currently playing in cinemas.
"Well, I think I saw a rough cut, maybe right after the first of the year. It was pretty rough. It was pretty long. It transformed quite a bit after that. I think David Ellison and I and Tim worked together to try to find the best film that could emerge from that.It wasn’t a slam-dunk at the time. I felt there were a lot of pathways that were taken that were unnecessary. I’m an editor myself, so I gave notes that were both broad, and very specific. I continued in that process up to about two and a half months ago when we locked picture…I never went to the set. I’ve yet to physically meet the new cast because I never went to the set. But I was very involved in the writing and I was very involved in the cutting of the film. And to me, the cutting is really an extension of the writing.”
Expanding on his creative clashes with Miller, Cameron painted a vivid picture of the process.
“I would say many [disagreements]. And the blood is still being scrubbed off the walls from those creative battles. This is a film that was forged in fire. So yeah, but that’s the creative process, right?”
As a counterpoint, Cameron spoke positively about his collaboration with Robert Rodriquez on Alita Battle Angel.
“My work with Robert on Alita was very different,” Cameron said. “Robert loved the script, loved everything, said, ‘I just want to make this movie. I want to make the movie the way you see it.’ I was like, ‘No, you got to make it your movie.’ I had the reverse experience with Tim, which is Tim wanted to make it his movie. And I’m like, ‘Yeah, but I kind of know a little about this world.’ So I had the matter and the anti-matter version of that experience.”
While reviews for Dark Fate have ranged from mixed to positive, the box office for the movie is well below what Paramount had estimated. Bad reviews and a middling box office has been the standard for the franchise over the last couple of sequels. Dark Fate is certainly better than Rise of the Machines, Salvation, and Genisys, but as the new film asks us to ignore those three Dark Fate is still only the third-best Terminator movie.
Terminator Dark Fate is out now in cinemas.