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INT: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Jun. 30, 2003by: JoBlo

Interview 1: Kristanna Loken
Interview 2: Stan Winston
Interview 3: Arnold Schwarzenegger
Interview 4: Nick Stahl/Claire Danes
Interview 5: Jonathan Mostow

TERMINATOR 3: THE RISE OF THE MACHINES marks Arnold Schwarzeneggers return to the movie franchise that first made him a star almost two decades ago. The long-awaited film, featuring Arnold reprising the iconic role of the T-800 Terminator, arrives amid much talk of his likely bid to replace Gray Davis as California Governor.

Before he gets a chance to win over California voters, however, he first must win over moviegoers, many of whom are skeptical about a Terminator sequel that involves few of the original players from the first two films. Will audiences accept a Terminator film made without the talents of Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong and, most importantly, James Cameron? The answer to that question could very well determine the future of California electoral politics.

Despite the missing faces, T3: THE RISE OF THE MACHINES still feels familiar, mostly because its packed with all of the elements of a classic Schwarzenegger film: explosions, one-liners and cutting-edge special effects. Even more impressive than the films special effects, however, is the fact that, at 56 years of age, Arnold is still able to realistically portray the Terminator character. Simply put, the guy looks great.

Heres what he had to say about the trials and tribulations of playing a super-human killing machine.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER

How did it feel to put back on the jacket and shades?

It felt great. Because when you slip into the jacket and put on the sunglasses and you get on top of the motorcycle, you feel like, Ok, Im back. You really feel like you can slip into the character. It was very easy, as if the last one was done maybe half a year ago. The challenging thing was getting the body back in shape, especially after the injuries and the motorcycle accident. To make it believable, that its the same Terminator from Terminator 1 and 2, it took a lot of training, a lot of hours of lifting heavy weights again.

Were told you hurt your shoulder during the shooting of the film. How is it now?

Good. I can lift it again. Its not perfect yet, but almost perfect.

When did you injure it during the filming?

Its one of those injuries where you dont injure it in one day. Its wear and tear over a period of time. It started with reloading the shotgun. It weighs 4.5 lbs. and we did it all night. I really felt it the next day, that there was a little injury there. But because you just continue on, when we did those scenes and then other scenes, it just kept tearing more and more. Then I started getting cortisone shots, and thats the worst, because you feel like you dont have an injury, but you continue to tear it because you go all out.

Are you still in rehab?

Yeah, because rotator cuff injuries take a long time to heal. Its a very complicated joint. My tendon was totally torn off the bone, so they had to staple it back to the bone.

Back at the Collateral Damage junket, you said you were looking forward to making this movie in Vancouver, and that never happened. Why is that?

It was too complicated to shoot half the movie here and half in Vancouver. We felt like the look of the movie would be different, because we are not allowed to take all the people with us. The heads of crews could go, but not the crew. So everyone was concerned about that. And there were so many people working on the movie, hundreds of people with families and all. I myself wanted to stay here. So we budgeted it out and determined the difference in cost. Then, basically, everyone chipped in, and every department tried to figure out ways to cut the pork out. I chipped in also.

Was it fun making a movie in Los Angeles?

I think that its fun here and its fun in Vancouver. The work is the same, but it made everyone happy to be able to stay home. I think a lot of people working on the movie had just come back from working out of town. Id just finished COLLATERAL DAMAGE, half of which was shot in Mexico.

What motivated you to put yourself through all of this again, because you knew about all the working out and getting in shape, etc.?

I wanted to do another Terminator because the fans really wanted to see another one. Its a really interesting character to play, especially if you change it a little bit, change the circumstances. In the first movie he was the villain, the Goliath, and in the next movie, hes kind of the savior, and in this movie he becomes David. You sympathize with him, Oh my God, I hope she (the T-X) doesnt destroy him, and all that. So it was interesting to make those kind of changes, but for me it was never a question of should I or should I not. It was: Im going to play Terminator.

You really do play three different characters. How challenging was it to forget everything you know about the previous character?

Well, you dont really forget, you try to add on to it. You create circumstances around him that make him into a vulnerable character. You bring in a female Terminator that has greater abilities and is more threatening. And you try to build sympathy for my character.

Do you remember how you felt before you made the first Terminator film, how excited you were?

It always appeared to me like a unique project. In the beginning, I wanted to play Reese. I wanted to play the hero, not the machine. Then, when I had lunch with Jim Cameron, I was so obsessed with talking about the Terminator character that he said, Why dont you play the Terminator? I said, You dont understand, I came here to talk about Reese, and he said, No. You have it absolutely down pat about this character. You were meant to play this character, because you know exactly about his movements, how hes supposed to train, etc. And I think Jim also liked the way I talked, because it was like a machine. (laughs)

You played a hero in all of the films before that.

Yes. But James said, Well, think about it. And I thought about it that night, and I felt that it could be a great career move, to branch out and to play a villain. And this was a character that is so unique, really unlike any other villain.

What role in your career do you think that part played?

It was huge for me. The first Terminator made me into a movie star. Up to that point, it was like, Ok, he did the Conan movie and all that, relying on his body and his muscles, but can he cross over, and can we put clothes on him? That was the big question. Terminator was perfect, because it was successful and got a lot of great press attention. Then my career took off in a totally different direction, with COMMANDO and PREDATOR and all that. I also got a chance to branch out into comedy.

Any hesitation about going forward on this project without James Cameron?

Yes, of course. I was disappointed when he said no. But, he wanted to move on. Id always said that I didnt want to do another Terminator without him, so of course I went to him first. He felt that he didnt want to be a part of it because of the time constraints. He likes to do things his own way, at his own speed. Of course, he has the right to make his decisions about the movies he wants to make. I understand that hes not my exclusive director, even though I wanted him. But we found a great replacement.

So, even after he said no, you never considered not doing it?

Yes, I wondered whether we should move on with the project. But I decided that we should move on because it isnt about me or Jim Cameron, its about the fans who want another Terminator. We were very happy that we ended up with Jonathan Mostow.

Do you mistrust technology as much as these movies seem to?

I would say that I mistrust much more the potential that it has, of machines becoming self-aware and communicating with each other and all that stuff. Its not that I dont trust technology I think technology is great. Its made a huge contribution to the world. We just have to make sure that its not misused. But thats the case with everything, no matter what profession youre in. You can be a great lawyer, but you can misuse that and go in the wrong direction. You can be a great politician and go in the wrong direction.

Could you be a good politician?

Ill be able to figure that out after my movie career.

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Interview 1: Kristanna Loken
Interview 2: Stan Winston
Interview 3: Arnold Schwarzenegger
Interview 4: Nick Stahl/Claire Danes
Interview 5: Jonathan Mostow
Source: JoBlo.com

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