The Terminator: An Oral History

In 2014, we find ourselves celebrating the 20th, 25th, or 30th anniversary of many great movies. The 30th anniversary of The Terminator isn’t until October, but we’re already ramping up to it. Entertainment Weekly talked to James Cameron, Gale Hurd, Arnold Schwarzennegar, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn, and other folks behind The Terminator to get the story behind the film: how it came about, what it was like to shoot, the special effects, and the reaction to the finished product.

CAMERON Medavoy came to me and Gale and he said, “Are you sitting down? You must sit down. I want O.J. Simpson for the Terminator and Arnold Schwarzenegger for the good guy, whatever his name is.”

MIKE MEDAVOY That did come out of my mouth. At the time, O.J. Simpson had one of those commercials for Hertz where he jumped over a counter and ran to get a rental car. It was all of that athletic stuff, which I thought the Terminator should have.

CAMERON Gale and I just looked at each other and thought, “You’ve got to be f- - -ing kidding me.” Mind you, this was before O.J. was actually a killer. We might have reconsidered after he had killed his wife. [Laughs] This was when everybody loved him, and ironically that was part of the problem—he was this likable, goofy, kind of innocent guy. [Laughs] Plus, frankly I wasn’t interested in an African-American man chasing around a white girl with a knife. It just felt wrong. [In 1995, Simpson was acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman; a civil court later awarded a judgment against him for their wrongful deaths.]

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (The Terminator) Mike Medavoy came up to me at a screening and told me that they already had the Terminator cast with O.J. Simpson, but they would like me to play Kyle Reese. And he told me I should go meet with the guy who’s going to direct it.

As it turned out, the role of the Terminator was adjusted to fit Schwarzeneggar, which worked out well. But just imagine if he’d played Kyle Reese! Arnold could have later played the adult John Connor and totally fooled Kyle Reece into not seeing their resemblance… okay, maybe not such a great idea. There’s plenty more, which you’ll enjoy reading at Entertainment Weekly. -via Digg  

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