‘Terminator Genisys’ Interview: Arnold Schwarzenegger

He’s back and oh hey there is now two of them! In Terminator Genisys, Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as the Terminator sent to kill Sarah Connor and the one meant to save her. In this reboot, we tune into an alternate timeline in which he gets sent to raise Sarah Connor and prepare her for the future. On the press trip for Terminator: Genisys, the actor and former governator of California talked about what sold him on this new chapter of the franchise he started, his approach to multiple hims, getting older, and technology evolving

What about Alan Taylor’s film drew him to join:

Arnold Schwarzenegger: I think it really depends so much on the writing. I think there are some people capable of making a sequel more special than the original. We saw the original come out and James Cameron outdid himself with the sequel. Since then, we’ve been trying to outdo that — not always successfully, but there is always the attempt. This time I think we’ve done an extraordinary job.

On his approach to a character who is both the villain of the franchise and now starts off as the hero:

Arnold Schwarzenegger: In Terminator 1, it was really clear that he was there to just do one thing and anything that was in his way he would just wipe out. My mission was to protect the machines and find Sarah Connor and be successful with my mission. In this movie, it becomes a little bit more colorful because now I’m coming back to destroy Sarah Connor as this vicious cold machine programmed to destroy Sarah Connor and this time something gets in my way, which is another Terminator (Pops) programmed to protect Sarah Connor and the human race. That’s the major conflict they go through when they meet. Then of course the Terminators depending on how long they’ve been around. One’s been around from before 1984 and adapted to certain human behaviors. From an acting point of view you have to be very wise to use that and how you get across that he has certain behaviors and certain feelings. It also creates great comic relief when the Terminator tries very hard to be like a human.

What he found interesting about the sequence where he is fighting himself:

Arnold Schwarzenegger: I think the body builder they picked for me to fight with was really extraordinary. Champion bodybuilder. Even after three or four days of doing this fight scene and being thrown around and doing all the crazy stunts of this epic battle, I was always wondering how are they going to be doing it. How are they going to do all these crazy cuts and head replacement and how do you make the body exactly like my body? His body was extraordinary, but it was not exactly like my body was. Every body is different. So it was always on my mind that, how is this going to work out? I never really knew. The entire movie there were very different fight scenes. When I saw it just three weeks ago, the finished movie for the first time outside of just stages, I looked very carefully when I watched it the first time and then I watched it a few more times from another point of view. I just thought it was so seamless and that the technology has advanced so much that it was really extraordinary to get this kind of entertainment and storytelling, cause in the old days you had to do all kinds of things that you could tell that it was not the same. This movie it totally works. It took one year to finish.

How he feels about being an ‘aged’ terminator and aging in general and whether he imagined tech would evolve as it has since the first film:

Arnold Schwarzenegger: I thought the writers came up with a really great way, organic way of aging the Terminator. It cannot go into time travel if his hand is exposed and the flesh is gone and the metal exposed, therefore he cannot time travel whereas the others can. All the other characters can and in seconds they’re there. I have to go the old fashioned way. The slow way, so I age of course decades from 1984 to 2017 and my hair turns gray and I aged myself a bit. This was a wonderful way of explaining how the Terminator ages, how the flesh ages, the skeleton is the same. Alan asked me to gain 10 pounds in order to have the same skeleton size as I did in 1984, trained twice as hard, gained muscle size to keep the same frame, and wear the same size clothing. I myself don’t feel any older because I stay in shape and I exercise every day, so when I started the movie, I did the prepping and exercised and trained for it so I could do the movie and all the stunts necessary for it. I felt in great shape and really young. I embrace technology and thing in 1984 when James Cameron wrote about the technology it was science fiction, but now it’s almost reality. The machines have taken over, though they haven’t become self-aware.

Terminator Genisys Opens July 1, 2015!

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