James Cameron Calls Testosterone Poison, Says Get It Out Of Your System
Academy award-winning filmmaker James Cameron sat down with The Hollywood Reporter this week to discuss his humungous financial investment in the Avatar film series, as well as his apparent aversion to testosterone. He recounted his wild younger days on set, including some of his more expletive-ridden altercations with executives in the past. While contemplating his growth and evolution as an artist, the Titanic director quipped, “A lot of things I did earlier, I wouldn’t do — career-wise and just risks that you take as a wild, testosterone-poisoned young man… I always think of [testosterone] as a toxin that you have to slowly work out of your system.”
While it seems at a glance that James Cameron’s comment was perhaps designed to come out of the closet as a trans woman, it becomes clear that this is actually a tongue-in-cheek reference to a culture of toxic masculinity that plagues the film industry. News stories have bombarded the tabloids for years now about claims of inappropriate workplace behavior from directors and executives in Hollywood. This ranges from sexual harassment cases such as Harvey Weinstein to abusive language and emotional battering in cases such as Joss Whedon.
Cameron doesn’t make it a point to specifically name-check anyone in particular but simply references the fact that, as a young man, he himself was operating at a more volatile resting pace than he’s particularly proud of. With James Cameron’s next billion-dollar outing, Avatar: The Way Of Water premiering just around the corner and projected to underperform financially, there’s been a myriad of press regarding Cameron’s less than enthusiastic outlook on the investment he’s made.
Despite his frustrations, he likens his relationship with Disney to that of a Honeymoon phase, claiming that his interactions with executives and business people have been significantly more easygoing than those of his career decades earlier during productions such as Terminator 2. He claims that this newer, calmer version of himself is a result of purging testosterone from his system, though he likely doesn’t mean the literal hormone, so much as the cultural standard of masculinity which breeds these toxic interactions.
Regardless of Cameron’s opinions on hormonal imbalances, it is nice to see him continue to grow and change as a creator while finding his zen as he nears his 70s. James Cameron’s long time friend and producer Jon Landau, who Cameron refers to as the other half of his ‘Old married couple’, also had positive things to say about Cameron’s ability to navigate a shifting Hollywood landscape, noting that the director grows and evolves with each new project.
As an artist, he always seeks to find new and creative ways to push boundaries. Whether that means exploring the deepest depths of the earth in a cramped submarine or taking 13 years to finish a film because the technology to create the scene he wants just hasn’t been fully developed yet, that’s where James Cameron operates best.
Avatar: The Way Of Water splashes into theaters on December 16th, and James Cameron has stated that he may scrap the planned sequels if it underperforms. For now, there’s no way of knowing if that’s a genuine lament of the modern box office, which fellow filmmaker Quentin Tarantino calls one of the worst in Hollywood’s history, or if that’s simply an outburst driven by the final remaining shreds of testosterone within Cameron’s body.