As we close in on the final few weeks before
The Terminator franchise has clearly gone off the rails, as evidenced by the confusing and spastic Terminator: Genisys trailers. But James Cameron’s original two films are still seminal action/sci-fi thrillers. As good as the original Terminator was, Terminator 2: Judgment Day changed the face of special effects in Hollywood. Here are 22 things about James Cameron’s Terminator films you may not have known…
The Terminator (1984)
1. During a break in the shoot, Arnold Schwarzenegger went into a local diner to get some lunch, not realizing he still had the Terminator makeup on. He was still missing his “human” eye and his jaw was exposed metal skeleton.
2. One of the most ironic stories, O.J. Simpson was considered for the Terminator, but the producers feared he was “too nice” to be taken seriously as a cold-blooded killer.
3. In James Cameron’s original treatment, Sarah Connor has an old figure skating injury that was fixed with a couple of surgical pins and the terminator would cut the legs open of the first two Sarah Connors to find this identifying mark.
4. In the original script, the Terminator was supposed to steal a car at the beginning of the film. The scene involved the Terminator observing an elderly woman getting into a car and as she saw the Terminator she panicked and put it into reverse hitting a trash can then correcting herself put it into drive and sped off. The Terminator then enters the car, puts it into reverse then into drive mimicking the woman’s actions. This was cut from a later script.
5. Michael Biehn almost didn’t get the role of Kyle Reese because in his first audition he spoke in a Southern accent as a result of working on a part for a stage production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and the producers didn’t want Reese to seem regionalized. After a talk with Biehn’s agent, the producers called Biehn back for another audition and he got the part.
6. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s iconic catchphrase almost became “I will be back” because he thought it sounded more machine-like without a contraction; he also felt “I’ll” sounded too feminine. It was the one major disagreement between Schwarzenegger and James Cameron, and all Cameron had to say to that was “I don’t tell you how to act, so don’t tell me how to write.”
7. Linda Hamilton broke her ankle prior to production, and had to have her leg wrapped every day so she could do her chase scenes. Those scenes were also moved towards the end of the shooting schedule.
8. The film was delayed for nine months while Schwarzenegger finished up Conan The Destroyer. In the down time, Cameron decided to take on a writing assignment, and that turned out to be the screenplay for Aliens.
9. Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to avoid Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn as much as possible since the Terminator was trying to kill them, not form connections.
10. James Cameron was allegedly living in his car when he wrote the screenplay. He even fired his agent who didn’t like the screenplay.
11. The tanker truck that explodes at the end is a model, not a real truck. It was filmed twice because the wire pulling the truck tugged too hard initially, pulling the front axle off and ruining the shot.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
12. The biker bar scene was shot across the street from the Rodney King beating, and according to James Cameron the scene was being shot that very night.
13. A female passer-by actually wandered onto the biker bar set thinking it was real, despite walking past all the location trucks, cameras and lights. Seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger standing in the bar dressed only in boxer shorts, she wondered aloud what was going on, only for Schwarzenegger to reply that it was male stripper night.
14. Production took so long that Edward Furlong visibly aged during the film. In some scenes he is younger than he is later and before. His voice began to break and had to be pitched to one level in post-production.
15. Industrial Light and Magic’s computer graphics department had to grow from six artists to almost 36 to accommodate all the work required to bring the T-1000 to life, costing $5.5 million and taking 8 months to produce, which ultimately amounted to 3.5 minutes of screen time.
16. Linda Hamilton suffered permanent hearing loss in the elevator shoot out scene because she forgot to replace her ear plugs in between takes.
17. Carolco studio executives were nervous and concerned when the original budget of $75 million ballooned up to $88 million, with more to come. In order to keep the budget manageable, they proposed to eliminate a few scenes, particularly the opening biker bar scene where the Terminator was introduced. They tried to get Arnold Schwarzenegger to persuade James Cameron to remove that scene, but Schwarzenegger turned them down, saying, “Only a studio guy would cut a scene out like that.” The budget eventually became the first to cross $100 million.
18. For the scene where the Terminator tells Sarah Connor about Miles Dyson and the history of Skynet, Arnold Schwarzenegger read his lines from a card taped to the car’s windshield.
19. Local residents in Lakeview Terrace held a protest outside the Medical Center when it was dressed up to be the Pescadero State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. They quickly realized it was in fact only a film set.
20. Robert Patrick mimicked the movements of a bald eagle to portray the T-1000.
21. To date, this is the only sequel to win an Academy Award when the previous movie wasn’t even nominated.
22. Linda Hamilton’s twin sister, Leslie Hamilton Gearren was used as a double in scenes involving two “Sarah Connors” where the T-1000 was imitating her.