Paramount’s Terminator reboot – currently known as Terminator: Genesis – begins shooting very soon on sound stage in Louisiana (and possibly locations in California from previous Terminator films), under the supervision of Thor: The Dark World director Alan Taylor.
Plot-wise, official details are scarce, though Arnold Schwarzenegger has confirmed that he will play a version of the T-800 robot whose biological exterior has aged, while other iconic Terminator roles have been recast – with Game of Thrones fan-fave Emilia Clarke playing Sarah Connor, Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty, Dawn of the Plant of the Apes) cast as Sarah’s grown-son John in the future, and Jai Courtney (A Good Day to Die Hard, Divergent) set to portray John’s father and Sarah’s protector-turned lover, Kyle Reese.
Recently, we learned of another key character in the Genesis script written by Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island) and Patrick Lussier (Drive Angry). The player in question is Danny Dyson, the grown-up son of Miles Dyson – played by Joe Morton in Terminator 2: Judgement Day. In that movie, M. Dyson was the man responsible for designing the computer system that would give rise to the sentient Skynet – and, in turn, the resultant war between the machines and humanity.
The role – described by Deadline as “a Steve Jobs genius who figures heavily into the conclusion of the film” – has gone to Dayo Okeniyi, whom many will recognize as Thresh from The Hunger Games; he’s also recently played supporting roles in such films as The Spectacular Now and Runner Runner, among others. Okeniyi’s long done fine work as a supporting player, so it’s encouraging to hear that the Terminator reboot will provide him with a chance to prove that he’s capable of more than just background acting.
We heard earlier this week that John Boyega (Attack the Block) was also being eyed for the Danny Dyson role in Genesis. The British actor was previously shortlisted for a leading role in Star Wars: Episode VII – the same role that Deadline reports Okeniyi was considered to test for – though that doesn’t guarantee that Boyega now has a better shot at landing a Star Wars role (though it doesn’t hurt his chances, either).
It’s long been reported that Genesis will be the beginning of a new standalone Terminator movie trilogy – as opposed to, a continuation of the post-Judgement Day trilogy narrative that was set in motion by the previous installment, Terminator Salvation in 2009. The aforementioned Deadline article mentions that the plan is for the second and third films in this new trilogy – which will happen so long as Genesis doesn’t bomb at the box office (*knock on wood*) – to “be done back to back over nine months.”
Sequels that film back-to-back have a strong box office track record, but the general rule of thumb is that this approach usually sacrifices artistic quality for speediness in product output (see: the decidedly lukewarm reception for the second and third films in the Matrix and Pirates of the Caribbean trilogies, which filmed in this manner). The reasoning that goes against that approach is that the required shooting period for two films in a row – much less two spectacle-heavy blockbusters – is simply too strenuous for a single director and their crew to handle. (Well, unless you’re Peter Jackson, I suppose.)
However, in the case of Terminator, the logistics of this decision are seemingly as much practical in their nature as they are motivated by studio executives – who are, in turn, driven by the bottom line and a desire to maximize profits while minimizing costs – seeing how the Terminator franchise rights will revert back to James Cameron in 2019.
Thanks to that looming deadline hanging overhead, there’s a decent amount of pressure on the filmmakers to get this new Terminator trilogy moving down the assembly line in a timely fashion. Not to mention, Schwarzenegger isn’t getting any younger (he’ll be turning 67 in July), and there’s also a tie-in Terminator television series to be made, on top of the movies. So, we’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed that all of these Terminator projects won’t end up being rushed to their doom, basically…
Terminator: Genesis is slated to open in theaters on July 1st, 2015.