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James Cameron Channeled Being an ‘A**hole Dad’ While Writing ‘Avatar 2’

"I thought, ‘I can write the hell out of this,'" the Oscar winner said.

James Cameron

James Cameron

Getty Images for Absolut Elyx

James Cameron wanted audiences to relate to “Avatar: The Way of Water,” especially when it came to the parenting plot.

Cameron, who helms the sequel film and co-wrote it with Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (“The Planet of the Apes”), told The Hollywood Reporter that he drew on his own fatherhood mishaps to create the dynamic between Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana).

“I thought, ‘I’m going to work out a lot of my stuff, artistically, that I’ve gone through as a parent of five kids,'” Cameron said. “The overarching idea is, the family is the fortress. It’s our greatest weakness and our greatest strength. I thought, ‘I can write the hell out of this. I know what it is to be the asshole dad.'”

Cameron relocated his family to New Zealand for “Avatar 2” production, adding, “I wanted my kids to grow up in that environment, to not be, as they call it, ‘bougie,’ but what they mean is, ‘entitled.'”

Yet while the sequel film will be released 13 years after the original record-breaking blockbuster, Cameron reflected on the “skepticism” over whether the film ever made “any real cultural impact” enough to warrant a follow-up.

“Can anybody even remember the characters’ names?” Cameron asked. “When you have extraordinary success, you come back within the next three years. That’s just how the industry works. You come back to the well, and you build that cultural impact over time. Marvel had maybe 26 movies to build out a universe, with the characters cross-pollinating. So it’s an irrelevant argument. We’ll see what happens after this film.”

The “Titanic” Academy Award winner previously told The New York Times that, unlike Marvel films, “Avatar: The Way of Water” will be firmly rooted in the reality of being a parent.

“When I look at these big, spectacular films — I’m looking at you, Marvel and DC — it doesn’t matter how old the characters are, they all act like they’re in college. They have relationships, but they really don’t,” Cameron said earlier this year. “They never hang up their spurs because of their kids. The things that really ground us and give us power, love, and a purpose? Those characters don’t experience it, and I think that’s not the way to make movies.”

He continued, “Zoe and Sam now play parents, 15 years later. In the first movie, Sam’s character leaps off his flying creature and essentially changes the course of history as a result of this crazy, almost suicidal leap of faith. And Zoe’s character leaps off a limb and assumes there’s going to be some nice big leaves down there that can cushion her fall. But when you’re a parent, you don’t think that way. So for me, as a parent of five kids, I’m saying, ‘What happens when those characters mature and realize that they have a responsibility outside their own survival?'”

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