Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Terminator genisys - Words by Richard Jor­dan Por­trait by Jill Green­berG

It’s been 31 years since Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger first played cy­ber­netic as­sas­sin the T- 800 in James Cameron’s clas­sic time- travel thriller The Ter­mi­na­tor. Since then he’s bat­tled Preda­tors, trav­elled to Mars, tus­sled with Bat­man and even served as the Gover­nor of Cal­i­for­nia – an achieve­ment he’s clearly still im­mensely proud of, flash­ing his knuck­le­duster of a com­mem­o­ra­tive ring as he leans for­ward to of­fer SFX a firm but en­thu­si­as­tic hand­shake. We’re in his adopted home town of Los An­ge­les to talk Ter­mi­na­tor Genisys – the fifth in­stal­ment in the lon­grun­ning fran­chise, billed as some­thing of a se­ries “re­set”. This time out, Sch­warzeneg­ger’s play­ing an older, more griz­zled ma­chine, sent back even fur­ther in time to pre­pare a young Sarah Con­nor ( Game Of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke) for the on­com­ing war with Skynet. SFX grilled the for­mer Mr Uni­verse about re­turn­ing to the role that helped to kick­start his Hol­ly­wood ca­reer. OC­CU­PA­TION: Ac­tor BORN: 30 July 1947 FROM: Thal, Aus­tria G REAT­EST H ITS: Pump­ing Iron, Co­nan The Barbarian, The Ter­mi­na­tor, Preda­tor, Twins, To­tal Re­call, Ter­mi­na­tor 2: Judg­ment Day, True Lies, The Last Stand

R AN­DOM FACT: He has a weightlift­ing move – the “Arnold press” – named af­ter him. Did you have any idea back in ’ 84 that the T- 800 would be­come one of your most iconic char­ac­ters?

No way. I don’t think any­one could know. Moviemak­ing is an­other science. If you knew ahead of time what is suc­cess­ful or not suc­cess­ful, we wouldn’t make movies that go in the toi­let, right [ laughs]? So no. James Cameron and I knew that we had a very unique project, and there was some­thing very pow­er­ful there. But I don’t think even the stu­dio re­ally knew. When the movie came out, they sold it as a B- movie. They didn’t re­ally go all out with the cam­paign. And then it had re­views and they used the quotes, be­cause we had great re­views and we were picked as one of the top 10 movies of the year by Time mag­a­zine. I think they were sur­prised by that – how the high­brows also liked the movie, and found some­thing in­ter­est­ing, be­cause of the time travel and what the fu­ture holds. No one knew that it would be this big, and that the se­quel would be­come the high­est gross­ing movie of the year. We were all sur­prised. You didn’t do the last Ter­mi­na­tor movie…

I didn’t do Ter­mi­na­tor Sal­va­tion be­cause I was the Gover­nor [ of Cal­i­for­nia] at the time. You can’t do both. The peo­ple would be very up­set if they saw me go­ing off for sev­eral months be­cause I’m do­ing a movie. I made it very clear to them that I would not even do one sin­gle shot, be­cause it doesn’t work. Cal­i­for­nia is the sixth largest econ­omy in the world, so you have your hands full! What was it about Genisys that ap­pealed to you? Why did you want to reprise the char­ac­ter?

The thing with Ter­mi­na­tor was: how do you re­work it in a way so that you don’t get nar­rowed into a tun­nel with the rules [ of time travel]. Then you have nowhere to go. Or if you go out­side, peo­ple say, “That’s bo­gus.” So how do you do that? I think they’ve been very suc­cess­ful with Star Trek and with other films like that. They did that and it worked. So when I read the script I saw that it al­ters the story of the orig­i­nal Ter­mi­na­tor and when I meet “my­self ” – as I ask for the clothes, some­one says be­hind me, “You won’t need it” [ laughs] – that’s when all hell breaks loose and the story goes off in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion. To me, that was the most at­trac­tive thing. What kind of Ter­mi­na­tor are you play­ing in this movie?

I’m more of the pro­tec­tor that you saw in Ter­mi­na­tor 2 and 3. I be­come a fa­therly fig­ure to Sarah Con­nor – I’ve groomed her since she was a child to be­come this war­rior. It’s a great role to play. The evo­lu­tion you’ll see is in the vis­ual ef­fects. There are things we’ve done in this film that we were not able to do in 1991. For in­stance, the whole recre­ation of me as the Ter­mi­na­tor from 1984… Even now, they’re lucky if they get all the frames in be­fore the movie’s re­leased, be­cause it is very dif­fi­cult to do. But they’re do­ing it. I’ve seen it and I was re­ally blown away. Was the shoot very phys­i­cal for you?

Very phys­i­cal. Even though the Ter­mi­na­tor’s flesh has aged, the skele­ton stays the same. That’s why it was im­por­tant for me to gain 10lbs and to get the same size as I was in the first Ter­mi­na­tor movie. I have to say, ev­ery­one did an in­cred­i­ble job be­cause they re­ally trained hard. For me, it’s nat­u­ral to train hard. But for [ the other ac­tors] to come in like that and to bulk up and be that mus­cu­lar, and Emilia hav­ing to do all this weapons train­ing and all that, I have the ut­most re­spect for them for be­ing able to pull it off. How is Genisys rel­e­vant to to­day’s au­di­ences? There’s a lot of real stuff in there. The out­come is kind of sci- fi- y and fu­tur­is­tic, but even that day is be­com­ing real. We’re all fas­ci­nated by ma­chines. Ter­mi­na­tor Genisys is all about: how can [ Skynet] suck the world into buy­ing into their fu­ture… It’s now be­com­ing so much of a re­al­ity, I don’t re­ally see it as science fic­tion!

Ter­mi­na­tor Genisys opens on 3 July.

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