Terminator helmer McG clarifies his relationship with James Cameron

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Jul 4, 2015, 3:59 PM EDT

McG, the director of Terminator Salvation, told a group of reporters that he was misquoted in early reports as saying Terminator creator James Cameron had given him his blessing when Cameron in fact had not endorsed the sequel.

When McG began promoting the sequel in 2008, he discussed meeting with Cameron seeking the series creator's blessing. "I think the nature of that was just I went around saying we went down there looking for his blessing, and then it came out that he gave us his blessing," McG said in a group interview on Friday in Beverly Hills, Calif.

McG added: "He never gave me his blessing. He said, 'I reserve the right to like or not like your movie like any movie fan.' I said, 'I reserve the right to like or not like Avatar like any movie fan.' And we sort of giggled, and away we went. It was never egregious, but, yeah, he hadn't read the script, he didn't know what was going on. He just said, 'Hey, man, I'd rather you guys made a good movie than a bad movie, but I'm not going to sit there and tub-thump for you guys and tell the world how excited I am about this new idea.' That's only fair, and that just made me want to drill down that much more deeply and make sure that we populate the film with the most talented people, from Stan Winston to Christian Bale."

The directors shared an actor in common, Sam Worthington, who plays Marcus Wright in Terminator Salvation and Jake Sully in Avatar. McG explained what they did discuss with regard to Terminator Salvation.

"I had to go down and talk to Jim Cameron about it, and he said, 'Why do you feel this story's worth telling?'" McG recalled. "I said, 'That's an excellent point. I think the fact that this takes place in a world after Judgment Day is a great point of entry for the passionate to stay involved in the story.' He sort of nodded and said, 'Oh, that's interesting. Tell me a little bit more about this, that and the other.' He ultimately went on to share the story of how he felt following the great Ridley Scott with Aliens."

Beyond that, it's not like Cameron was checking in on McG's dailies. "No, I mean, we talked along the way," McG said. "We talked after Stan [Winston]'s passing. Obviously, he was very close to Stan."

Even the press got to screen the film before Cameron himself. "I don't think he has seen the movie yet," McG said. "I look forward to showing it to him, but I can't imagine what to expect." Terminator Salvation opens May 21.