James Cameron pokes fun at American gun culture during Paris ‘Terminator’ screening: ‘I can just go buy them’

In 2022, the famous director said he wants to avoid "fetishizing" guns

Legendary Hollywood director James Cameron poked fun at American gun culture during a screening of his classic film "Terminator" in Paris this week.

Following the screening – part of an exhibition at Paris’ Cinematheque Française on Cameron’s work – the director recounted fond memories and lessons he learned while directing the sci-fi action flick, which was his second directing effort. 

As noted in Variety, he provided one anecdote to the sold-out crowd about not having any idea about firearms while working on the movie, which features an iconic scene of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character buying several massive weapons at a gun store while a giddy clerk tells them they’re "ideal for home defense."


Cameron at Hollywood event

James Cameron recently joked about American gun culture at a screening of "The Terminator" in Paris this week.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Cameron, who’s from Canada, joked that at the time of directing the firearms heavy film, it didn’t matter that he had no knowledge about guns, because in America he could just go out and buy some. 

"I knew nothing about guns," he told the crowd. "And then I thought, ‘This is America, I can just go buy them!’"

Not a fan of guns, the "Terminator" and "Avatar" filmmaker has claimed he has been trying to use less of them in his more recent film projects.

In an interview with Esquire Middle East in 2022, Cameron accused himself of "fetishizing" guns during his earlier movies and regrets it. He said, "I look back on some films that I’ve made, and I don’t know if I would want to make that film now. I don’t know if I would want to fetishize the gun, like I did on a couple of Terminator movies 30+ years ago."


Arnold Schwarzenegger holding a weapon in a scene from "Terminator," where he is wearing a brown leather jacket

Cameron joked that he knew nothing about guns while directing "The Terminator," but said it didn't matter cause he could still go out and buy some in America either way. (Sunset Boulevard/Corbis)

Signaling he’s a supporter of strict gun control implemented in New Zealand, where he and his wife have a farm, he told the outlet, "I’m happy to be living in New Zealand where they just banned all assault rifles two weeks after that horrific mosque shooting a couple of years ago."

He also mentioned that he cut a significant portion of gunplay from that year’s "Avatar: The Way of Water," telling the outlet, "I actually cut about 10 minutes of the movie targeting gunplay action. I wanted to get rid of some of the ugliness, to find a balance between light and dark." 

Cameron did admit to some of the challenges of cutting down on such violent depictions, being one of the world’s most famous action filmmakers.

As noted by Fox News Digital, he said, "You have to have conflict, of course. Violence and action are the same thing, depending on how you look at it. This is the dilemma of every action filmmaker, and I’m known as an action filmmaker." 

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