Posted: 05/16/2002


Part 2 of Our Exclusive Look – Beyond the Terminator Franchise: On the Set of T3: Rise of the Machines

by Paul Fischer

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In Part Two of our behind-the-scenes look at T3: Rise of the Machines, Film Monthly’s LA rep Paul Fischer tried to get Big Arnie to talk about the highly secretive venture.

The image is unmistakable: Arnold Schwarzenegger with heavy duty machine gun strapped to his waste shooting a barrage of bullets while carrying a coffin. The tranquility of the cemetery has been shattered by the loud cacophony of Hollywood mayhem. Yet it’s as if the Arnold of old has returned. A little over 10 years since Arnold stepped into the shoes of the T-800 Terminator, the now 54-year old superstar appears ageless. Donned with appropriate T-800 makeup, Schwarzenegger’s trademark sunglasses further exemplify the character he made famous in James Cameron’s sci-fi classic. In T2, the character protected the young John Connor, and a decade later, one wonders whether T3 will give us another kinder, gentler Terminator. The actor says little on that particular subject. “I can’t talk about that too much. I can only tell you that it could easily be that I’m both.” Always the diplomat. Now trying to get him to explain the scene he is shooting remained an equally challenging exercise. But always the pro, Arnold tried to elucidate. “One thing I can do is tell you that I’m carrying out a coffin, obviously, out of the crypt here and the coffin has other things in there than what we think. Even though it says Sarah Conner on it, she’s supposed to be inside that coffin because she died a few years ago, but now I’m taking it away, then throwing it in one of these hearse cars and then drive off. Then the female Terminator is going to chase me down. This is all part of a big chase sequence.”

Schwarzenegger was clearly excited about revisiting familiar territory, and in terms of weaponry this time around, promised “a lot of outrageous weapons and neat things, different guns” in T3: Rise of the Machines, and said the gun he used in this scene reminded him of his own military days. “It automatically comes with a device that lies right on your thigh so that it kicks into the thigh but not really,” Schwarzenegger said. “The idea of it is to make it as steady as possible so you can hit the target. If the gun keeps moving up [as you fire] like some old guns do, then you have to do the short bursts like we did in the old days. When I was in the army, all the machine gun fire was always ba-da-da, ba-da-da, ba-da-da so you stay on target. Ba-da-da-da-da-da-da is wasting ammunition.”

While not wanting to spend too much time comparing his new director, Jonathan Mostow, with James Cameron, who remains a close friend, Schwarzenegger was still happy to offer his perspective on the similarities between the two. “Both are very talented. Jonathan is very intelligent and very knowledgeable with visual effects. He has the patience as well as the discipline and he’s a DIRECTOR; he directs. He directs every department and has control over every department and because he comes from that background, he also is very much into directing the actors. Some action directors have a tendency of paying a lot of attention to details of the action but not a lot of the details in the scene itself and the acting.”

As for revisiting such an identifiable and iconic character, Arnold admits that “it’s fun and it is a big responsibility at the same time because people expect this movie to be as good if not better than the second one and the first one. The good thing about it is that Hollywood and the whole industry are in a mood for making the sequels better than the originals. In the old days, just 10 or 20 years ago, they just tried to do a hit and run things where they throw a little bit of money at something and then it’ll make some money off that and then bow out. Now, they’re thinking of it much differently and so therefore they make it in a quality way. They hire good people, the best in the business in every department and spend the money on it,” he explains in typical Schwarzenegger fashion.

Arnold is expecting big things out of T3 when it explodes in cinemas in July 2003. Despite the fact that he once maintained that he would never do another Terminator without Cameron. “I just changed my mind and that’s it,” he laughingly concludes.

T3: Rise Of The Machines Is Scheduled For Release In Early July Next Year Through Warner Bros.

Paul Fischer is originally from Australia. Now he is an interviewer and film critic living in Hollywood.

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