James Cameron Talks ‘Terminator: Genesis'; Says He’s ‘Loosely Attached’ To the Film

Published 11 months ago by , Updated June 3rd, 2014 at 7:35 pm,

Terminator Genesis Arnold Schwarzenegger Character Explained James Cameron Talks Terminator: Genesis; Says Hes Loosely Attached To the Film

Terminator: Genesis (as it’s currently known) has been filming for more than a month – and already, we’ve gotten our first (unofficial) look at Arnold Schwarzenegger, playing a version of the iconic T-800 whose “bio-exoskeleton” is equivalent in age to that of the nearly 67-year old actor playing the character.

Rumor has it that the movie’s storyline – from screenwriters Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island) and Patrick Lussier (Drive Angry) – is setting the table for a new, standalone trilogy of Terminator films, by re-imagining/rebooting events that transpired in the previously-released installments – a la J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movie and Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past – and thus, Arnold’s aged cyborg character will be serving as the catalyst for those changes.

Terminator creator James Cameron was in attendance at the Los Angeles Times‘ 2014 Hero Complex Film Festival this past week, where (as you would expect) he fielded questions about his developing trilogy of new movies set in the Avatar universe. However, he also provided some insight on his involvement – minimal it may be – with the upcoming Terminator film releases.

Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day is still widely considered to be the property’s greatest artistic achievement; it also remains the series’ highest-grossing chapter at the box office, even after more than twenty years. There is a sense of completion (narratively and thematically), by the time the end credits start rolling on Judgement Day – something that explains why Cameron has since then neither been nor shown much interest in being the chief creative architect, on either the subsequent Terminator movies and/or the Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series.

terminator 2 james cameron James Cameron Talks Terminator: Genesis; Says Hes Loosely Attached To the Film

James Cameron and certain ‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’ cast members

While many Terminator fans might prefer the Terminator franchise rights to revert back to Cameron sooner than later, that wouldn’t be for the best – assuming they want to see the property live another day, that is. Indeed, at the Hero Complex Film Festival (as reported by /Film), Cameron indicated that he’s done all the playing around that he wants to in the Terminator sandbox:

I pay attention to [the new Terminator films] but I’m not terribly concerned about it one way or the other. I’ve had to let it go. There was a point in time where I debated going after the rights. Carolco Pictures, the company that produced Terminator 2, was failing and in bankruptcy and the rights were in play. I talked briefly to 20th Century Fox about it. At a certain point, I think I was finishing Titanic at the time and I just felt as a filmmaker maybe I’ve gone beyond it. I really wasn’t that interested. I felt like I’d told the story I wanted to tell. I suppose I could have pursued it more aggressively and gone to the mat for it but I felt like I was laboring in someone else’s house in a sense because I had sold the rights very early on.

A fifth Terminator movie had, in essence, fallen by the wayside as far development goes, by the time that Annapurna Pictures head and Oscar-nominated producer, Megan Ellison (Zero Dark Thirty, American Hustle, etc.) acquired the property rights. The project is now being financed and distributed by Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions, the latter of which is headed by Megan’s brother, David Ellison.

terminator 5 genesis script James Cameron Talks Terminator: Genesis; Says Hes Loosely Attached To the Film

Once Paramout and Skydance were onboard, the next Terminator flick added a franchise newcomer behind the camera in director Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World), then recast certain established roles in the series’ mythos – such as Sarah and Kyle Reese – with rising stars like Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) and Jai Courtney (Divergent). Cameron, as it were, explained that he feels he played a role (a minor, but not unsubstantial one at that) in making sure Arnold was included, as part of the rebooted Terminator ensemble:

… My goal in that was not to insinuate myself artistically but to try to make sure they stayed true to the Terminator character and the idea of Arnold being in it. Because he’s a friend of mine and we’ve been through all the wars together and everything. And I wanted them to see the possibilities I saw for what they could do with this character.

And then David Ellison took the project over from Megan and he and I met a couple times. And so Arnold is very much front and center in the new Terminator films. So I might have had some tiny effect on it — but obviously they had to make the right financial and creative decisions themselves so I’m not trying to take credit for the film that they’re making but that was my goal in being loosely attached to the film but I won’t have any credit on it.

terminator 5 script start date James Cameron Talks Terminator: Genesis; Says Hes Loosely Attached To the Film

The rights to the Terminator franchise are reportedly going to revert back to Cameron by 2019. If all goes according to plan, by then there will not only be a new trilogy of film installments (including Genesis), but also yet another television series spinoff of the sci-fi/horror franchise, to boot. (One that may have its narrative directly intertwined with the upcoming wave of films, a la Marvel Studios’ Shared Movie Universe and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show).

It doesn’t sound as though Cameron has any plans for doing more with the property thereafter – and since Schwarzenegger will probably be wrapping up his action movie acting career by the time this next wave of Terminator projects are done, that might be as good as time as any to retire this series, once and for all. Again, that’s assuming Terminator: Genesis does well enough at the box office to justify building an entire new sector in the Terminator universe. One step at a time, and all that…


Terminator: Genesis opens in U.S. theaters on July 2nd, 2015.

Source: /Film

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  1. Hey Sandy, are you guys planning on posting the open discussions thread today?? Just wondering!

    • Sorry, Paul (who handles our discussion posts) has been swamped at his day job. He’s still aiming to post a thread, later today.

  2. Who better to remake the original Terminator than James Cameron in 2019? Maybe he can do a Says of Future Past-esque continuity mishmash movie that throws every character together at once from every version of the entire series!

  3. Is it just me or is Australia like the new cool place to get stars? Lol, first Worthington and now Courtney in the Terminator universe.

    Sullivan Stapleton, Jai Courtney, and Sam Worthington all look the same when their hair is cut too. I should produce a film where they play brothers and get to keep their accents. Hugh Jackman is their uncle.

    They fight crime. A lot.

    • Not sure if the accents are having an affect, but that may indeed add to their onscreen presence. Jai Courtney was totally badazz in I,Frankenstein.

  4. This movie is going to be terrible! A terminator that looks like a old man is laughable. Nothing against Arnold Schwarzenegger but his last two movies did poorly at the box office. They should of gotten Dwayne Johnson to play the terminator he would of did great. Well when James Camron gets the movie rights back he will make a proper terminator movie.

  5. James Camerson’s vision is complete. The Terminator films should have ended with the T2. Unfortunately, certain people get greedy. There is no need for more Terminator films. The last two were perfect proof of that. The third one tainted my impression of the Arnold’s T-800 and the other characters. It also contradicted certain things that T2 established so realistically, that we have the ability to change (avoid) Judgement Day. I’m surprised Arnold accepted the screenplay to T3. It was a commercial disgrace to the majority of fans, and felt like an unfunny parody spoof at times. T3 ripped off of T2, adding in (now dated) pop culture, i.e: “Talk to the hand?” (are you kidding me?!) to further commercialize its desperate appeal. T4 was a big flop, a noisy pyrotechnics show more interested in Special FX whereas Cameron married the two harmoniously with T1 and T2. Many people were done after the third. It’s an enigma that T3 is even still a fresh tomato on Rotten Tomatoes. I would have distanced myself too. Cameron raised the bar and new when to leave. At Arnold’s age, I’d rather my memory of him end with T2 but maybe, just maybe they’ll do something wonderful again and quit being so controlling. One needs to hire a passionate director with skills, as Peter Jackson was to LOTR Trilogy. Otherwise, don’t bother. Since I saw the director of “Thor: The Dark World” above (not sure if he’s definite on this new trilogy), the Thor sequel was generic; the action had a been-there feel. The movie was afraid to take risks IMO. The villain was forgettable and the ending fight was ridiculous. The only thing great about Thor: The Dark World IMO was Loki. And I’m sure the studio and screenplay influenced the director’s freedom, but still. If it was up to me, the Terminator films would have ended with the second, and (a little off topic but) The Matrix would have ended with the first.

  6. PG 13 end of Temat

  7. My worst fear has come true, they just couldn’t leave it alone now they wanna make the final insult to James Camerons art by pissing all over it with this stupid remake, this is gonna suck balls and we all know it!!!
    But perhaps it’s the nessesary nail in the coffin of Arnold Schwarzeneggers atempt to restart his film carrier

  8. Arnold Schwarzenegger be a human ?
    Dwayne the the rock Johnson as terminator t-800
    Aaron Eckhart as t-1000 ?

  9. The first 2 movies told one story. The 3rd and 4th told their own story, so this new trilogy might be good to if we ignore the first 4 and treat it as its own new movie. 3 wasn’t bad because of comparisons to the first 2. It was bad because it wasn’t as clean as the first 2. But this new trilogy might make up on the mistakes of the past.