One of the biggest questions surrounding “Terminator Salvation” since it went into production was whether the original T-800, Arnold Schwarzenegger, would appear in the film.
Could Governor Schwarzenegger somehow take part in the latest entry in the franchise and ‘be back’ as the character that made him famous with looming issues of his availability to spend time away from his political duties and the necessity to look exactly as he did in the 1984 original film?
Access Hollywood’s Nancy O’Dell sat down with “Terminator Salvation” director McG and star Christian Bale to discuss Schwarzenegger’s involvement and his eventual approval of his role.
“I went to Governor Schwarzenegger before photography and I told him how important it was to me to honor what he put in motion,” recalled McG. “He’s a very effusive guy and a positive guy, but he wanted the people of California to know that he was very attentive to his day job in Sacramento.”
Christian Bale, who plays John Conner in the film, did manage at one point to personally nudge the original Terminator into giving further thought to participating in the movie.
“I did bump into him one time and sort of mentioned, ‘Think about it,’“ Bale recalled. “But you know what, I think he’s got a lot more important things that he has to consider.”
Both Schwarzenegger and McG volleyed back and forth in the press during production on whether it was true or even possible for him to be in the film. It was finally confirmed last month that through special effects, Arnold would indeed appear looking not a day older than he did 25 years ago while not having to spend a single day on the set to do it.
“That’s why we used the digital image of Governor Schwarzenegger from the early 80s. When the Stan Winston Studios digitally modeled his whole face and body. And that’s what you see in the picture,” explained McG.
“And that was the point with this. He didn’t have to take a second of his time to do it. It’s all CGI, you know,” Bale added,
McG set up a screening to get final approval from the California Governor to show him exactly how his role would play out via the magic of special effects.
“I went to Schwarzenegger and I asked ‘What did you think?’ ” Doing his best Arnold imitation, McG said, “Fantastic.”
“And I thought well, that’s a good endorsement. I’ll take it. It was good to get that from the Governor. He obviously embodies the character. He’s very important to us,“ McG admitted.
“I was so happy to see him,” Bale said regarding Arnold’s appearance in the finished film. “He had his worries for a little while. He wasn’t going to do it and that wasn’t a good feeling.”
“It makes a huge difference. It gives it the link to the former movies. You can’t help but feel it gives that little stamp of credibility with the link to the others,” concluded Bale.
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