On July 3, 1991, James Cameron unleashed Terminator 2: Judgement Day on the world. Right from the opening shot of a crowed L.A. Freeway to Sarah’s opening line; “Three billion lives ended on August 29th, 1997,” to chase after chase the tension mounts and grips you, never letting go, in a way seldom films can ever match. At the very least, no other movie in Terminator franchise has matched this film in any conceivable way, including the first one!
At the time of its release. T2 was the most expensive film ever made, and it shows. After seeing how well ILM animated the pseudopod scene in his previous film, The Abyss, director James Cameron knew the time was right to ask the effects house with creating the T-1000. Terminator 2 was one of the, if not the first to animate a human, and plenty of the effects still hold up to this very day, nearly thirty years later. With hype and hopes to reach a fever pitch now that Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, and even Edward Furlong are all returning for Dark Fate, let’s take a look back at one of the best science fiction films of all time.
10 The Hamilton Twins
The T-1000 has the ability to mimic nearly anything that it touches. But ILM was not needed for several shots where one character is staring at their double, about to get their eyes poked out by the T-1000. Two different sets of twins were used during the filming. First were the Stanton twins, Don and Dan, who frequently act together. Linda Hamilton actually also has a twin sister, Leslie. She cameoed towards the climax of the film, but she also helped film a deleted scene where she played a mirror image of Sarah trying to operate on the T-800.
9 Tidbits From The Biker Bar
Besides Arnold Schwarzenegger showing up in purple board shorts to film the classic biker bar scene in the movie, here are some more interesting facts from filming from this location.
A woman had wandered onto the set, wondering what was going on, Arnold quipped that it was male stripper night. She must have been bewildered by another event happening nearby - the tragic beating of Rodney King, which Cameron has since realized he actually had footage of on this tape.
8 Edward Furlong Hit Puberty
In casting John Connor, James Cameron found Edward Furlong. He needed John to basically be a punk kid, but a punk kid who was also wise beyond his years. Furlong might have had a topsy-turvy career after this, but no one can deny how perfect he was here. One issue that happened during filming was that the young actor’s voice had cracked during filming. Cameron and Furlong had to fix everything in post-production and re-record all Eddie’s lines. It worked to their advantage - Cameron didn’t ADR one scene to keep Furlong’s innocence when John explains to the T-800 why humans cry.
7 Linda Hamilton Wanted To Be Crazy
In the original film, Linda Hamilton’s Sarah was just a twenty-something year old waitress looking for fun in Los Angeles until she is caught up in all of his future history mumbo-jumbo. In order for her to return to the movie, Hamilton made one demand, she wanted Sarah to be crazy, and with the story that was crafted, how could the character not be.
In the years between the two films, any evidence of what Sarah had to deal with was gone or taken by the government. Her knowledge of the future led her to go on the offensive and try to blow up Cyberdyne, which led to her incarceration at the mental hospital.
6 Four-Handed T-1000
Early on in the film, the T-800 explains what the T-1000 advanced prototype can and cannot do. If you’re eagle-eyed enough, and if you’re not, it’s a good excuse to re-watch the movie - the T-1000 can sprout extra appendages too. The little trick came in handy when he was hunting down out heroes, piloting a helicopter, loading and firing a gun all at the same time.
5 The Helicopter Stunts Were Real
Nowadays, some of the wild stunts of Terminator 2 would be plugged into computer to look as sleek and smooth as possible, while being safe for the actors and stunt workers. However, there’s something to be said for complete insane real-life stunts. During the helicopter chase scene, the T-1000, piloting a chopper takes a nosedive and pulls up just i time to fly under an overpass. The shot looks amazing and was - the cameraman refused to shoot it, Cameron unfettered took the camera into his own hands and got the shot himself.
4 Early CGI
The movie has several shots that still hold up to this day. T2 has some of the earliest shots in CGI history. Just think about the fact that barely two years later, and we had giant dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. We won’t hold it against the film, but one thing that hasn’t held up was the T-800’s motorcycle jump, which was, according to Cameron one of the first instances of CGI rope removal, since the bike was being held on cables - that jump is nearly impossible to make without crushing the chassis. You can’t tell the cables were ever there, but you can still tell that it’s not Arnold riding the bike.
3 The Late-Night Circuit Ruined The Big Reveal
While it doesn’t take very long for the tension to get ramped up, the story was designed so that it was tenuous from the start. Between Sarah’s opening narration, and Arnold playing the last film’s bad guy, it was supposed to be a big mystery as to which Terminator the audience was rooting for on their way to John. But marketing ruined any suspense between posters of Schwarzenegger and Furlong together. Arnold going on late-night talk shows and hosts all asking him “so you’re playing the good guy now?” didn’t help keep secrecy either.
2 This Guy Got His Nose Smashed
Imagine being Ken Gibbel. You get a few bit parts, and then get cast in what would surely be one the biggest movies of all time. Gibbel played one of the orderlies at the mental hospital who forces Sarah to take her meds.
Gibbel was playing the scene far too timid and taking Linda Hamilton out of the moment. Hamilton showed him how to really do things - when Sarah obliterated Douglas during her escape scene, Linda is really laying into Gibbel.
1 Robert Patrick’s Training
A lot has been made over the years about the rigorous training and exercise Linda Hamilton had to go through. Let’s give Robert Patrick some props, too. He’s playing a machine and played his part pretty well. He trained on how to load and reload a gun without looking and was taught how to run properly to not get winded. Patrick was able to run so fast that when filming the dirt bike chase, Cameron warned Eddie Furlong’s stunt driver that Patrick was going to catch her on foot - he was that fast, and Cameron was not wrong.