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Arnold and Emilia: The Terminator and Sarah Connor

Jun 30, 2015

By: Lynn Bakrer

In a nutshell, the popular Terminator movies continue with a reimagining of the original movie; a different timeline in Terminator Genisys. Basically, when John Connor (Jason Clarke), leader of the human resistance against Skynet, sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect his mother, Sarah (Emilia Clarke), from a Terminator assassin, an unexpected turn of events creates an altered timeline. Instead of a terrified waitress, Sarah is a skilled fighter and has a Terminator guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger) by her side. Faced with unlikely allies and dangerous new enemies, Reese sets out on an unexpected new mission: reset the future.

Sarah (Emilia) in actionSarah (Emilia) in actionCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Still firmly in charge of the Terminator role is Arnold Schwarzenegger and by his side as the new Sarah Connor is Brit actress Emilia Clarke, dragon mistress Daenerys Targaryen of TV’s “Game of Thrones”. Here is what they had to say about their roles in the new “take” on the popluar film series.

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen (Game of Thrones)Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen (Game of Thrones)Courtesy of HBO

Q: One of the great things about this movie is how we get to see different versions of your Terminator character. How has your approach to your character changed over all these years?

  • Arnold:  In the original Terminator, it was very clear that it was the machine that destroys human beings and anything that was in the way, it would wipe out in the most brutal way without any feelings or any kind of remorse. Because my mission was to find Sarah Connor. Now, in this movie, I am again back to destroy Sarah Connor. I’m still this vicious, cold machine and nothing will get in my way.
  • In this story, something does get in my way, which is another Terminator. One that has been around for a longer period of time. It is also the T-800 Model, but he was programmed to protect Sarah Connor and the human race. So there’s obviously a major conflict between the two when they meet. That’s what creates this huge,epic battle. The terminator that has been around longer, he has already adopted certain human behaviors. From an acting point of view, you have to really be very wise the way you use that and how you get that across.

Arnold as the TerminatorArnold as the TerminatorCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Q: Emilia, how helpful was Arnold with the weaponry and stuntwork involved in the movie?

  • Emilia: He was very helpful[laughs]. I definitely needed a lot of help. I spent most of my training just hoping that he would be impressed. So getting a good response from him was the most helpful thing to give me the confidence to continue on.

New TerminatorNew TerminatorCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Q:  Were you intimidated to step into Linda Hamilton’s shoes? How aware were you on her performance going into this? Did your work on “Game of Thrones” help you in any way?

  • Emilia: Yes, to all of your questions. Yes, I’d grown up watching the“Terminators” and being continually inspired, especially by Linda’s incredible performance. So I jumped at the chance to be able to take on this role. Then, it was kind of after the fact that the daunting realization of the enormity of the part kind of sunk in. But yes, it’s just been an absolute joy as an actor to be able to take this on.
  • And yeah, there were many elements of my work in “Game of Thrones” that were incredibly helpful to try and harness the inner badass. But the difference between the two is that, in “Game of Thrones,” I do a lot of delegating. And here, in this movie, I really had to get down and dirty and do a lot of the stunts and gun work and everything. So yeah, there are similarities but Sarah Connor is a whole other kind of badass.

Emilia Clarke as Sarah ConnorEmilia Clarke as Sarah ConnorCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Q: Arnold, how do you feel about getting older? Your character is a machine but how about you?

  • Arnold: I thought that the writers came up with really a great organic way, to show the aging of Terminator. He cannot go and do the time travel at a certain point because his (metal) hand is exposed. The flesh is gone and therefore you cannot time travel. All the other characters time travel and I have to go the old fashioned way, the slow way. So I age, of course, decades, as time goes from 1984 to 2017 my hair turns gray. The flesh ages but the skeleton underneath is still the same.
  • I myself, don’t feel any older. I think because I’ve stayed in shape and I exercise every day. So when I started the movie,I did the prepping two months before. We exercised and trained for it so that we could do the movie and do all the stunts that were necessary. When it was dangerous, the stunt people took over for me. I was delighted to be able to do the movie without getting exhausted or feeling old or tired.

Arnold Schwarzenegger as the older Terminator4Arnold Schwarzenegger as the older Terminator4Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Q: Emilia, continuing on the legacy of Sarah Connor is so huge. What was really important to you in bringing that character to life and putting your take on it? And did you speak with Linda Hamilton?

  • Emilia: Well, I think some of the most important things to me in reprising this role is that, it was such a daunting thing to be taking on. My ego jumped at the chance to play it, and then the realization kind of crept up. But then, getting to read our gorgeous script, the Sarah that we see in this movie is so different. The spirit is definitely still intact. And I really hope that you can see the essence of Linda Hamilton, of what Linda Hamilton created.
  • But having such a different upbringing, having such a different childhood, really the result is a girl who is ahead of the game from when we saw Sarah Connor at this age last. She’s there to save this guy, as opposed to the other way around. So there’s a lot of really wonderful differences. So that’s what was important to me, to kind of show the history of what Sarah’s been through whilst maintaining what we kind of created. And no, sadly I didn’t speak to her. But I can only hope that she was happy with what I managed to make of this.

Sarah and her Terminator protectorSarah and her Terminator protectorCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Q: Arnold, can you take us back to the moment when you first became involved in the “Terminator” franchise?

  • Arnold: I was approached to play hero Kyle Reese. As far as (the filmmakers) were concerned, O.J. Simpson is going to play the Terminator. I read the script and it was great, then, I met with James Cameron and during the lunch period with him, I started talking more and more about Terminator and how he has to train and how he has to prepare for this part and how he has to act like a machine. At the end, James Cameron said, "So why are you wanting to play Reese? You should be the Terminator.” And he talked me into it, basically. So I said, “All right. Forget about Kyle Reese, I’m going to be the Terminator.” And so that’s how that happened.

Terminator Genisys PosterTerminator Genisys PosterCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Terminator Genisys is in theaters July 1st!