While plenty of America’s favorite shows are out of production over the Writer’s Guild of America strike, fans shouldn’t worry that their primetime schedule will become fully immersed in reality. There’s plenty of already-filmed new shows gearing up for debuts, including Fox’s “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.”
Summer Glau is getting ready to burst on to the small screen in the series, beginning January 13 and 14 on Fox, by taking on the role first made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The 26-year old, who sci-fi fans fell in love with when she played River in the “Firefly” TV series and “Serenity” film, stars as Cameron, a teenage terminator helping to protect the Connor family.
The role may have helped turn Arnold into an action hero legend, but Summer told Access Hollywood she hadn’t even seen any of the “Terminator” films when she got the call to audition. She did have an idea, however, of what a terminator was and Summer told Access, it certainly wasn’t her.
“I had in my mind what I thought they would want for a girl terminator and I definitely didn’t think that I fit that criteria and so I didn’t want to go on the audition,” she said. “My mom was actually the one who said ‘You’re getting in the car and you’re going to that audition!’ I thought I would get in the room and I wouldn’t look like the rest of the girls. I thought they would want statuesque, icy blondes.”
Summer said things changed when she found out “Black Dahlia” screenwriter Josh Friedman was executive producing the project.
“I didn’t realize it was Josh Friedman’s show, that he was the creator. I respect him so deeply and when I saw that he was in charge I thought, well maybe he has some kind of idea and that’s why I’m here ,” she recounted. “Sure enough, the kind of terminator that he wanted to create, was someone that you wouldn’t expect, someone that could hide in society and fit in and look like a normal teenage girl and [who] stepped up when she needed to.”
In the series, Summer plays Cameron, a terminator who pretends to be the daughter of Sarah (Lena Heady) and sister of John Connor, played byThomas Dekker of “Heroes” (he played Claire Bennet’s best friend in Season One) fame.
“Yeah, I’m kind of like John’s bodyguard. I go to school with him. If he goes out of the house, I pose as his sister. I’m his bodyguard,” she explained.
Summer said that although they’ve only filmed eight episodes and despite the fact her terminator is a pretend sister, a romance could be in the cards for Cameron and John.
“I faked a lot of things at the show. I’m constantly mimicking humans and they have subtly insinuated that things could go in that direction, but at this point, our relationships, they’re developing,” she said. “There’s sort of a strange family dynamic right now and we don’t know what we are to each other really.”
Fans of Summer will be pleased to know the athletic star has plenty of butt-kicking scenes in the new series. Right off the bat, in the first episode, there’s a major fight scene with an evil, male terminator played by Owain Yeoman.
“We rehearsed it for a while . . . There were a lot of breakaway walls, so we had to know exactly what to do and then we shot it quickly because once you break something, you can’t unbreak it,” she says. “So it was all choreographed and we worked it all out and on the day we shot it, it happened real quickly.”
“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” will feature of plenty of terminators after the family — and detective James Ellison, played by Richard T. Jones.
“It’s really cool to watch him uncover things he doesn’t want to believe are true about [Sarah’s] life and what she’s been talking about over the past 15 years. So he’s constantly after us and then there’s terminators popping up different places,” she revealed.
Summer told Access one of the reasons she’s drawn to so many sci-fi parts is due to her mother.
“I think part of it is my mother used to read so much science fiction to us when we’re little,” she said. “I didn’t go to regular school, so I was alone a lot of the time and I had a really, really overactive imagination.”
“I believe science fiction actors — their suspension of disbelief has to be huge, because the stories are so fantastical and out there. You have to be able to really dive in and believe the world that you’re creating and that comes really natural to me,” she continued. “Science fiction actors — sometimes we are on set and we look at each other and we get the giggles because we’re doing something so outrageous and having to say something that’s so [much] bigger than life and it’s really fun for me. As a little girl I always dreamed of getting to do something like this.”