It doesn't look like making Terminator: Dark Fate was the smoothest project for Tim Miller to jump on. James Cameron says he ended up having a lot of say over the final cut and how the movie was edited, even though he never visited the set once. Cameron even admits that he hasn't met any of the newest cast members of the highly anticipated sequel. The director knows the franchise better than anyone and was prepared to fight over his beliefs.
One of the biggest points of contention was the rough cut of Terminator: Dark Fate that Tim Miller assembled. Miller is an experienced director, but it turns out he didn't do a lot of things that James Cameron would have done, which is understandable since he's a different person. Cameron had this to say about the initial rough cut of the sequel.
"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."
Terminator: Dark Fate is very much James Cameron's baby, even though he didn't direct it. He had a heavy hand in writing it and during the editing stage, which caused some disagreements. It appears that some of those disagreements are still fresh wounds as Cameron describes the process as bloody. Tim Miller had a lot on his plate and Cameron seemed to make sure there was even more at the end of the day. Cameron explains.
"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?"
When arguments like this come up, one has to wonder why James Cameron didn't just direct Terminator: Dark Fate on his own. We all know he has the crazy amount of Avatar sequels on the way, but if this project means that much to him, it sounds like he should've waited or done it before jumping into Avatar 2. With that being said, Cameron didn't want someone to make exactly his vision. He had this to say.
"My work with Robert on Alita was very different. 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 producorial experience."
Regardless of anything, James Cameron sounds like a tough person to work with on any project. The director does not mince words and speaks his mind whenever possible. One has to wonder how he'll take it if critics and fans don't respond the way he anticipated for Terminator: Dark Fate. The interview with James Cameron was originally conducted by CinemaBlend.