Il nuovo trailer del film Disney live action nelle sale italiane il 26 marzo 2020
Paramount Pictures and Skydance and Twentieth Century Fox Present
Terminator: Dark Fate
Executive Producers Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, Edward Cheng,
John J. Kelly, Tim Miller, Bonnie Curtis, Julie Lynn
Produced by James Cameron, p.g.a. David Ellison, p.g.a.
Story by James Cameron & Charles Eglee & Josh Friedman & David Goyer & Justin Rhodes
Screenplay by David Goyer & Justin Rhodes and Billy Ray
Directed by Tim Miller
Cast: Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna, Diego Boneta
Terminator: Dark Fate reunites Oscar®-winning filmmaker James Cameron with original franchise stars Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger for the first time in 28 years in a thrilling new action-adventure that picks up where Terminator 2: Judgment Day left off. More than two decades have passed since Sarah Connor prevented Judgment Day, changed the future, and re-wrote the fate of the human race. Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes) is living a simple life in Mexico City with her brother (Diego Boneta) and father when a highly advanced and deadly new Terminator – a Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna) – travels back through time to hunt and kill her. Dani's survival depends on herjoining forces with two warriors: Grace (Mackenzie Davis), an enhanced super-soldier from the future, and a battle-hardened Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton). As the Rev-9 ruthlessly destroys everything and everyone in its path on the hunt for Dani, the three are led to a T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) from Sarah’s past that may be their last best hope.
Terminator: Dark Fate stars Linda Hamilton (The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, “Beauty and the Beast”), Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Predator), Mackenzie Davis (Blade Runner 2049, “Black Mirror”), Natalia Reyes (“Lady, La Vendedora de Rosas,” “Cumbia Ninja”)and Gabriel Luna (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” Bernie). Director of photography is Ken Seng (Deadpool, Project X). Production designer is Sonja Klaus (Prometheus, Robin Hood). The film is edited by Julian Clarke (Deadpool, District 9). Second unit director and stunt coordinator is Philip J. Silvera (Deadpool, Daredevil). Special effects supervisor is Neil Corbould (Gravity, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) and visual effects supervisor is Eric Barba (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Oblivion). Costume designer is Ngila Dickson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Last Samurai).
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
In 1984, filmmakers James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd had no idea they were unleashing a global phenomenon with The Terminator, a modestly budgeted, original sci-fi action film about a cyborg from an apocalyptic future that travels to the present to ensure the extermination of the human race. Dark, gritty, intelligently written and highly entertaining, the film moved at a blistering pace and featured an action heroine, which was highly unusual at the time.
The story followed a young waitress, Sarah Connor, who was being hunted by a T-800 model Terminator sent from the future on a deadly mission to kill her and her unborn son, the future leader of the human resistance. The relentless T-800 was sent by Skynet, a future A.I. system created by Cyberdyne that was set to destroy the human race. Kyle Reese was also sent back in time, but his mission was to protect Sarah at all costs and help save humanity.
With overwhelmingly positive word of mouth and incredible reviews from top critics, The Terminator launched lead actors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton into Hollywood stardom and established Cameron as the industry’s go-to director for blockbuster entertainment.
Cameron and Hurd, who cut their teeth at Roger Corman’s low-budget film mecca, New World Pictures, kept costs down with inventive special effects, and made the most of Hamilton and Schwarzenegger’s combined charisma. Stan Winston, the pioneering special-effects makeup designer, created Schwarzenegger’s cyborg look using Cameron’s own paintings as inspiration.
The film’s success prompted a 1991 sequel, Terminator 2: Judgment Day (or T-2), setting a new standard for action films. T-2 introduced a more advanced – and more lethal – Terminator, the T-1000, played by Robert Patrick, and added Edward Furlong as Sarah’s son, John Connor, the future leader of the resistance. The film cost an unprecedented $94 million to produce — approximately 15 times the $6.4 million budget of The Terminator — and made extensive use of cutting-edge CGI to bring the two Terminators to vivid, terrifying life. It garnered several accolades, including Academy Awards® for Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Makeup and Best Visual Effects, and became the highest-grossing film of the year, bringing in over $518 million worldwide.
While three more Terminator-themed films and a television series were produced, T-2 marked the end of Cameron and Hamilton’s involvement — until Terminator: Dark Fate, which continues the story from Judgment Day in the present.
“Above anything else, we wanted to create a return to form with Dark Fate. Terminator 1 and 2 hold a very special place in cinematic history, and we wanted Dark Fate to be a continuation of Jim’s vision for the franchise,” explains producer David Ellison. “There was only one way we were going to do it – and that was if James Cameron was going to come back to the franchise.”
Cameron describes Terminator: Dark Fate as a direct sequel to Terminator 2, one that recaptures the riveting tone of the original Terminator and its follow-up. “It has the same intensity, the same take-no-prisoners feeling and sense of abject terror,” he says. “The first film was supposed to scare the crap out of you about a possible dark future and the survival of a girl that we come to care about. This film, like the others, deals with the threat of a human collision with artificial super-intelligence, which is a whole lot less science-fiction today than it was in 1984 or 1991.”
A 21st-Century Terminator
Cameron handpicked Tim Miller, whose credits include the global blockbuster Deadpool, one of the highest grossing R-Rated films of all time, to direct Terminator: Dark Fate. Ellison was fully onboard with the selection of Miller as he was also a fan after seeing an early cut of Deadpool. “I thought the action and world he created with that film was brilliant. Tim was able to craft a movie that reinvented not just the superhero genre, but the R-rated action genre as well, which is exactly the kind of director we needed for Terminator: Dark Fate,” he says.
A self-described “sci-fi nerd,” Miller , along with Cameron and Ellison, began by putting together a writers’ room of some of the top science-fiction and fantasy creators working today, including David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight), Neal Stephenson (Seveneves, Cryptonomicon), Joe Abercrombie (The Blade Itself, Best Served Cold), Greg Bear (Darwin’s Radio, Anvil of Stars), Neal Asher (Prador Moon, Gridlinked), Josh Friedman (Avatar 2, War of the Worlds) and Warren Ellis (Iron Man 3, Gun Machine), to brainstorm possible plot twists.
“We all got together in a room with Jim and producer David Ellison to talk about a whole bunch of what-ifs,” explains Miller. “We considered things like whether it should take place in the present, the past or the future. Should it focus on Sarah; should it be John? We all felt strongly that the film should be in some way a handoff to new characters, but we wanted to continue the structure of the “trinity” consisting of Hunters, protectors, and prey.”
Miller’s guiding principle throughout development and production was to stay true to the fundamentals of the Terminator “brand,” while bringing his own unique sensibility to the film. “I never thought, ‘I’m going to make the movie just like Jim Cameron would,’” he says. “But I knew from his films that the secret to making a great Terminator film is character, character, character. Jim is particularly good at the details that make you feel you’re watching real people going through extraordinary events.”
Another major aspect of Cameron’s approach that Miller incorporated into Terminator: Dark Fate is pacing. “Jim constructs slower periods up front where you really get to know the characters, and then once the action starts, it does not stop,” observes the director. “He does that much better than anybody else.”
Having Cameron involved from the beginning was essential to the process, says Miller, because of his abiding interest in the technology and the characters he created so many years ago. “He knows the material like nobody else and he’s been thinking about it for years. Even though he had never planned to make this movie, his thoughts about AI have continued to evolve, and he never lost his connection to the story.”
So after nearly three decades, what brought Cameron back to the table for another chapter of the beloved sci-fi epic? “Over the years I have continued to consult with people working at the forefront of the artificial intelligence world,” says the filmmaker. “They all believe there will be an A.I. equal to or greater than a human mind. They also say it’s not going to turn into Skynet, but how do we know that?”
Cameron says the debate reminds him of the enthusiasm nuclear scientists had in the 1930s and ’40s about the idea of powering the world by splitting the atom. “There was zero concern over the idea that it would be weaponized,” he says. “But the first manifestation of nuclear power on our planet was the destruction of two cities and hundreds of thousands of people. So the idea that it can’t happen now is not the case.”
Miller takes a more optimistic view, paraphrasing a maxim of Arthur C. Clarke’s: “The future’s not only stranger than you imagine, it’s stranger than you can imagine,” adding, “I don’t think AI’s agenda will be to kill us. We don’t know what it will become - but it will be able to evolve more in a day than we have in millions of years. At the moment, I choose to believe they’ll be better than us.”
For fans of the franchise, the most exciting element of Terminator: Dark Fate may be the return of original stars Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger. “As a fan myself, I wondered how I would feel about another Terminator movie,” says Miller. “I might think, ‘Is this needed?’ Until I heard Linda is back and we’re going to finish the story of Sarah Connor. That’s a reason to show up. And for me as a director, that’s the reason to make the movie. No offense to other actors who have played her in other films, but to me there’s only one Sarah Connor and it is Linda Hamilton.”
The role is so closely associated with the actress that there was never a doubt the filmmakers would ask her to return for Terminator: Dark Fate. “I don’t think any of us imagined anyone else in the role,” says Cameron. “We would just not have brought Sarah back without Linda. When Sarah appears onscreen, you just feel, okay, here we go.”
A revolutionary figure in an era when action heroes were almost by definition male, Sarah’s transformation from naïve waitress to guerrilla fighter in order to save her son from the original Terminator made her a movie icon. Hamilton again breaks the mold as the older, perhaps wiser — and definitely angrier — Connor.
While recent action films such as Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel have featured female protagonists, observes Cameron, Sarah Connor is in a league of her own. “How many of those characters are over 40?” he asks. “It’s a very short list. How many of them are over 60? Big fat zero. The guys are still packing guns into their 80s. But in our society we discount the older woman. In classic mythology, she is the keeper of wisdom, sometimes the sorceress or the seer, but always a powerful figure. We put that together with a kick-ass action hero and that’s something you haven’t seen before.”
Hamilton says the idea of revisiting the role after more than two decades intrigued her. “After T-2, I felt I had worked a very complete character arc from a nobody to a warrior woman,” she explains. “At that point I didn’t want to just keep doing it without the ability to add something new. But the last 28 years have changed Sarah dramatically and I was ready to explore that.”
For executive producer John J. Kelly, Hamilton’s revival of the iconic role is long overdue. “We’ve been waiting all these years for her to show up, and when she shows up, she delivers,” he says. “I am sure in the theaters it will be a hooting and hollering moment because she is fantastic.”
Executive producer Bonnie Curtis adds: “What's really fun to watch is an artist who understands the weight of what she's giving an audience. And Linda walks through it so confidently, and calmly, and then you realize, ‘Oh, that's why the character became an icon.’ It doesn't only have to do with Sarah Connor. It has to do with Linda Hamilton's performance of Sarah Connor.”
The Terminator ended with Sarah losing everyone she loves, observes Hamilton. In T-2, she has dedicated her life to protecting her young son John, but the result will not be what she envisioned. “When this film begins, she is lost, broken and rootless,” says the actress. “She learns that after all her sacrifices, the future hasn’t changed in the way she had hoped. Yes, she destroyed Cyberdyne, but now there is another AI, Legion. That pretty much destroys her. The only thing she has left is her loathing of technology, the future and machines. She goes on another journey to try to reach that last little kernel of humanity inside herself.”
Hamilton’s intense training regimen for T-2 became legendary and the actress had to return to top physical shape to reprise the role. She trained with New Orleans-based fitness expert Mackie Shilstone, who has also worked with top professional athletes including Serena Williams and Peyton Manning. “The action is 10 times bigger than in T-2,” says Hamilton. “After I read the script, I turned to my best friend and said, ‘I have to get my affairs in order. I may not be coming back.’ I even tried suggesting that Sarah be fat at this point in her life so I wouldn’t have to work so hard,” she adds with a laugh. “Wouldn’t that shock people? But they said no.”
Instead, Hamilton endured thrice-daily workouts focused on burning fat and building muscle. “It was an interesting journey because you can only call up so much from the past and then I had to just focus on what’s reasonable for my body at my age.”
In addition to the exercise regimen, Hamilton also went to a training camp in Texas with military and tactile advisor Jack Nevils. “Linda is a consummate professional and a super-fast learner,” says Nevils, who spent 25 years in active service as an Airborne Ranger and a Green Beret. “She is always prepared. She wants to do all of her stunts if it’s physically possible. Linda is like, ‘Put me in, coach, I want to do it.’ She really cares about the totality of her performance and she’s got a great attitude. It was a pleasure to train her.”
Hamilton says the best part of shooting Terminator: Dark Fate was being reunited with her co-star from the first two films. “I don’t really think in terms of how iconic all this is, although I know many people do. I was just happy to see Arnold. In fact, I didn’t know how happy I was going to be until he showed up on set.”
Schwarzenegger once again plays a T-800 Terminator, but the filmmakers emphasize it is not the same cyborg seen in either of the earlier movies. It is the same model, with the same hardware and programming, but with a history of its own. It has managed to stay in the past and build a life posing as a human being.
“I could not be involved in a Terminator movie without working with my good friend of 35 years, even if it’s to pass the baton to a new generation of characters,” says Cameron. “We spent a lot of time making him the most interesting T-800 you’ve seen yet. And of course, he has a couple of pretty good laugh lines, delivered as only Arnold can.”
Miller agrees, adding, “Everybody is going to want to see his story and his journey. It’s got its own special arc that comprises some of the most important moments in the movie.”
Schwarzenegger credits The Terminator with launching his career as an actor. “I had done Conan the Barbarian, but that was about showing the body and the muscles,” he recalls. “I wanted to get out of that and The Terminator was really the first movie that was all about the face, the eyes and acting. It was a small movie but brilliantly written, designed and directed. It was a major breakthrough for filmmaking and for me.”
Schwarzenegger says he is particularly proud of the fact that the Terminator is the only character to be named by the American Film Institute as one of the top 50 heroes (No. 48) and one of the top 50 villains (No. 22) in cinema history. “The idea always was to be the villain but make everyone walk out and say, ‘That’s really cool! Can you imagine if you had that kind of a power?’ People find him inspirational in some ways as well as entertaining.”
Part of the fun of playing the character comes from a certain identification with his cyborg alter ego, says Schwarzenegger. “There is a machine-like behavior you get from bodybuilding,” he explains. “It’s all about reps, keeping your emotions out and focusing on your goal. But in this movie we see him becoming more human. He is aware that he’s a machine, but after being around human beings for so long, he has become more human. It made it very interesting and, from an acting point of view, much more challenging. I had to rely a lot on Tim Miller to tell me when to dial it up and down. He did a great job.”
Seeing Schwarzenegger and Hamilton together on set was a huge thrill for everyone involved in the movie, but none more so than Miller. “For some odd reason, it all hit me very late in the process… one night during shooting when I was looking at the monitors,” recalls the director. “We had two cameras up, one on Linda, and the other on Arnold. For the first time, I truly realized I was making a Terminator movie. It was a great scene; Arnold had a great comedic moment and Linda was giving him shit, firing right back! She is the sweetest person when the cameras stop rolling, but she is a total badass when she is in character.”
Ellison was just as captivated when seeing the two legends on-screen together. “It really is one of those moments that I’ll never forget,’” he says. “I saw T-2 in the theater when I was eight years old, and I absolutely fell in love with the story and the characters. That film was one of the inspirations for me wanting to be involved in the film industry, so to be on set with Arnold and Linda and getting the opportunity to revive these characters was truly a full circle moment.”
The New Additions
Miller has put together a diverse and talented ensemble, which he believes was essential to bringing the franchise into the future. It includes Canadian Mackenzie Davis, Colombian Natalia Reyes, Diego Boneta from Mexico City and Austin-born and raised Gabriel Luna. Along with Hamilton and Austrian Schwarzenegger, they comprise the most international cast of any Terminator film.
“I cannot wait for people to see this new cast of characters that expands the story in exciting ways,” says Miller. “Natalia Reyes is fantastic as Dani Ramos. Mackenzie Davis is Grace, a soldier from the future who comes back to protect Dani. Dani’s young but thanks to Natalia’s great acting she has a gravitas far beyond her years. We have Diego Boneta, who plays Dani’s brother. He’s very funny and charismatic and he does an excellent job of making you understand why Dani is so special. And then, last but not least, we have Gabriel Luna, our new Terminator.”
Reyes, the star of the wildly popular Colombian television series “Lady, La Vendedora de Rosas,” makes her American film debut in Terminator: Dark Fate. Cameron describes her character as an “everygirl” working in a factory in Mexico City. “It seemed really interesting for the most important person in the world to be this working-class Mexican woman,” says Cameron. “She doesn’t think she’s anything special, but apparently someone does. You could compare Dani’s journey to Sarah’s in the first film. The future wants her dead, but we don’t know why.”
As Reyes sees it, at the beginning of the film, Dani serves as a stand-in for the audience. “She has a normal simple life in Mexico City with her family, and then suddenly a Terminator appears,” she explains. “She reacts the way any of us would. Then Grace and Sarah show up to defend her and it’s a whole new world. It’s a while before she starts to understand everything that’s happening.”
With the trio of characters on the run, the film becomes a pulse-pounding thrill ride, according to Reyes. “It’s just active and really dynamic and intense,” says the actress. “The whole experience of this movie has been a journey — the amount of people, work, cameras. I never imagined something this big, so every week it was a whole different adventure. We had all kinds of training for underwater, trains, helicopters. I’m really excited and thankful to be a part of it.”
Davis’s character, Grace, is a Terminator hunter from the future. She is human, but has been enhanced. Davis was thrilled to join Hamilton as a ferocious screen warrior. “Sarah Connor is important to the history of cinema and action, and not just because she’s a woman,” Davis says. “She’s also a cool evolution of a human being. I was really excited to be a part of that lineage and team up with the original Sarah Connor, seeing her age into her 60s and learning who this woman is now. It’s unusual to see a woman have the arc of her life portrayed on screen and I just was excited to be a part of it.”
Sarah’s appeal, Davis believes, lies in her willingness to risk not only her life but any semblance of normalcy to take the reins of destiny. She hopes her character has the same trajectory. “It’s something we aspire to but very few of us get the chance or, if we are given the chance, are able to rise to the occasion.”
Like Hamilton, Davis participated in military training in Texas with Nevils. “Grace has a military background as an elite soldier,” explains the Special Forces veteran. “So Mackenzie needed to learn to do things that a special operator would do intuitively. Little things in the body language add value to the character, keeping it authentic and a bit more visceral.”
The military training, which was followed by stunt preparation, was essential to her role, says Davis. “I wanted to carry myself like a soldier or an athlete. I found it difficult to affect the posture of someone with a powerful back and a solid core. It was a full-on physical and mental transformation.”
Miller says he cast the actress as much for her likeability as for her innate athleticism. “The audience needs to identify with her and I didn’t want someone who was just lifting weights and looked like she’d be an action hero,” says the director. “Mackenzie made a big investment in time to become this ripped super-soldier, but we definitely did not want to lose her humanity.”
In the future, before she traveled back in time to protect Dani, Grace was gravely injured and then engineered to be something more. “What she has become is more subtle than a cyborg,” Miller says. “Her bones are injected with a material that over time replaces the marrow with a super-strong silicate that is nearly unbreakable. Her muscle fiber is woven with mesh that is much stronger and more reactive. She takes a lot of chemicals to jack up her reaction time. Her brain has augmented processing power. She is very difficult — though not impossible — to harm and she’s very fast. But there is a price.”
Adds stunt coordinator Freddy Bouciegues: “Although Grace has some mechanical parts to her body, she is not as heavy as the T-800 or the Rev-9, so she is faster. She is built for fighting, so she is more like a high-octane race car.”
Putting Dani and Grace at the forefront of the story made the film more compelling for Miller. “I think it’s far more interesting to see a woman take on a heavy action role,” he explains. “We decided that seeing all of this through the eyes of a new character with new goals, new perspectives and a new emotional attachment was a more intriguing way to tell the story.”
The New Terminator
The future has sent a newer model Terminator, known as the Rev-9, a state-of-the-art killer robot that is far more sophisticated than the earlier versions. “He’s pretty damn spectacular,” says Cameron. “We spent a fair bit of time on his design, and I think he’ll impress. He’s different in so many ways. It’s not only his abilities, but also in what I guess you’d call his personality. He’s not a cold, mechanical robotic cyborg. He’s very personable and very charming, but he’s also extremely lethal.”
Luna, who plays the Rev-9, remembers his mother taking him to see Terminator 2: Judgment Day when he was about 10 years old. “I saw the original after that and I was really, really impressed by the leaps and bounds between those two films. It truly was the bridge between the old way of doing action cinema and the new age. That’s on Jim Cameron. He has continually raised the bar on what’s possible. And it’s been super-exciting to see the triumvirate of Sarah and Grace and Dani. They are like a pride of lionesses and I just keep chasing, nipping at their heels the entire time.”
Luna and Schwarzenegger forged a strong friendship, training in the same gym in Budapest during filming. “When I met Arnold, we began a master-student kind of relationship,” says Luna. “I am truly honored that he spent the time with me. He was very generous with his encouragement and his knowledge. He is an extremely intelligent man.”
Schwarzenegger was impressed by Luna’s commitment to reshaping himself for the role. “It is very, very difficult to change a body in six months,” he points out. “You have to be extremely disciplined, and actors are not necessarily disciplined people. But the pictures of him when he signed the contract and when we were shooting are like night and day.”
The Rev-9 combines aspects of the original T-800 with features of the T-1000 introduced in T-2 — but goes far beyond both. “It has a metal endoskeleton with the liquid metal skin that can create different bladed weapons,” explains Miller. “It can also split into two separate entities that fight independently and have different abilities. Although he’s stronger together, there are strategic moments when he splits and attacks on two fronts.”
Stunt coordinator Bouciegues worked with Miller to create a Rev-9 that is incredibly powerful, but still has some limitations. “One of the rules was it could only form a blade of a certain length and it would have to pull from other parts of its body to create that blade,” he says. “It was a specific type of movement that Tim wanted.”
But the biggest improvement in the Rev-9, the filmmakers agree, is its ability to simulate human emotion. The Rev-9 is focused entirely on killing its target, and will do whatever it needs to in order to get to Dani. “An artificial intelligence capable of world domination would have humans figured out,” Miller explains. “Sometimes charm and guile are easier and more effective than stealing a truck and smashing it through a building. But it’s still an unstoppable machine with one purpose.”
And … Action
In keeping with the painstaking attention to physical detail that set Cameron’s Terminator films apart from the pack, Miller put together an outstanding creative team that included cinematographer Ken Seng, production designer Sonja Klaus, costume designer Ngila Dickson, second unit director and stunt coordinator Philip J. Silvera, special effects supervisor Neil Corbould, visual effects supervisor Eric Barba and editor Julian Clarke.
Filming began in downtown Madrid in May 2018. It fell to Klaus to transform locations in the Spanish capital — and later in Budapest’s Origo Studios — into Mexico City and the surrounding areas. “We had a very talented crew in Madrid who created a fantastic feel of Mexico with colors and images,” says Cameron.
Klaus says Spain proved to be an excellent stand-in for Mexico in several important ways. “You find similar topography, light and shapes in both countries,” she explains. “We had the grand vistas, especially in Almeria, where Sergio Leone shot some classic spaghetti Westerns. Both countries are traditionally Catholic, so quite often they both have that iconography on display.”
The film crew recreated Dani’s barrio home in a Madrid neighborhood of modest mid-20th-century homes. “It is essential for the audience to have empathy for Dani, her brother, her father and their dog,” says Klaus. “To do that we needed to become involved in their life in Mexico City and love it as much as they do. We commissioned three artists to create graffiti that references alebrijes, these brightly painted folk-art animal sculptures.”
A classic Terminator-style car chase sequence took place on a freeway just outside Murcia in southern Spain. The Rev-9 commandeers an enormous earthmover to pursue Sarah, Dani, her brother Diego and Grace, picking up cars and tossing them aside like toys as he closes in. The sequence was extraordinarily complicated and took weeks of both first- and second-unit shooting. Temperatures reached over 110 degrees, making it difficult for cast and crew.
“The sequence takes place between Mexico City and Juárez,” says Klaus. “It’s about five minutes long but hundreds of miles of storytelling. We went down to Murcia because we needed a gritty, dry feeling. It gets drier and drier as you progress and the colors slowly become more desaturated.”
Most of the film’s hair-raising stunt work was done practically, explains second unit director Silvera. “For that car sequence, we had an amazing stunt team coordinated by Mike Massa and some of the best drivers in the world who came from the U.K., the States, Spain, and Budapest. It’s a very intense chase and our goal was to make the audience feel there was a Terminator bearing down on them. You feel that ferocity, that relentlessness of him constantly coming.”
The chase includes a spectacular car crash that was so extreme it had to be done with a remote-controlled vehicle. “Tim was very adamant he wanted it hit at 70 miles an hour, and to put a stuntman in that environment is not a good idea,” explains legendary special effects supervisor Neil Corbould, whose numerous credits include Mission: Impossible – Fallout and Gravity. “We had a stunt driver from the U.K. fly out to operate it and he could do donuts in this thing without anybody in it. This car hit another at 70 miles an hour without braking. It was completely radio-controlled, but we had the input of the stunt driver so we could do anything we wanted.”
Once the filming was completed in Spain, the company moved to Hungary’s Origo Studios, where the majority of the sets were constructed. Production gradually grew to fill virtually the entire facility, with the enormous backlot doubling as the Mexican border with a graffiti-covered section of the border wall. Filming also took place on locations outside Budapest, including the state-of-the-art Mercedes factory in Kecskemét.
Neil Corbould was brought in to design and construct the extensive effects rigs the movie required. “The biggest scene for us was the C-5 aircraft,” he explains. “As soon as I read the script my mind started racing to figure out how we were going to do it. It involved two revolving sets, one vertical and one horizontal. Everything had to be planned meticulously to make sure we got it all in camera, and then we handed it over to Eric Barba, our visual effects guy, to finish it off.”
Miller adds, “The rotating C5 sets Neil and his team built were unbelievable. Huge, kinetic sculptures designed to create the feel of the real physics of a crashing plane for the actors and stunt team. We spent weeks shooting inside what was, essentially, a giant-sized hamster wheel able to roll 360 degrees and tilt in either direction at the same time. It was incredible.”
“It’s an adrenaline-packed sequence that I hope will be one of the coolest and most exciting parts of the movie,” says Bouciegues. “It’s going to be amazing to see how they get out of that terrifying situation.”
Miller says he was most excited by an underwater scene in which a Humvee falls from the top of a dam, tumbles underwater and gets swept down a river with the Rev-9 in relentless pursuit. “The Humvee is on a giant scissor lift that could take it all the way under,” he says. “The water rushes in and fills it up, and the actors have to act like they’re about to drown, which is made easier because you feel like you might in fact, drown. It’s all very safe, but it feels frighteningly realistic. I always had the stunt and special effects team run me through what the actors would be doing so I’d have some empathy – many of the situations we put them in were punishingly difficult. But I only did these things for a few minutes at a time – they had to suffer through them for hours. But without exception they were amazing, working though each uncomfortable scene with a smile.”
A Worthy Successor
As much as he enjoyed working on the film, Cameron is quick to point out that his role was producer, not director, and he trusted the film in the hands of Tim Miller and the rest of the filmmaking team. “I worked with Tim and the other writers in advance, trying to give him the best bat to hit a home run off of, and that was the shooting script. I believe utterly in the sanctity of the director’s creative process with the actors, the cinematographer, the production designer and so on. My job was to tee this up, set it in motion and let them do their thing.”
The initial goal, to create a direct sequel to T-1 and T-2, has been realized in tone as much as the narrative, says Cameron. “It’s R-rated, it’s gritty, it’s fast, it’s intense, it’s linear. The whole story takes place in 36 hours and is a white-knuckle ride through a kind of techno-hell that arrives in our present day.”
Miller hopes he has delivered another great Terminator tale for an eager audience. “It’s Linda Hamilton’s return, Arnold’s back, Jim’s here and we have a really great infusion of new ideas and new blood as well,” he adds. “I hope it will be a worthy successor to those two truly great films. You care about every one of these characters. Each of them have moments that I hope will make the audience cry and cheer. There are amazing action set pieces that will get the blood pumping and a plot that will have the audience constantly wondering what happens next. Hopefully, it all adds up to a great time in the theater, which the audience will ultimately decide.”