Set Visit Preview: Terminator Salvation
It seems odd to think back to my time this past July in Albuquerque, New Mexico, because my house is now surrounded by snow and ice. But, in the blistering desert, Warner Bros. invited a few of us online journalists, to check out some scenes being filmed for TERMINATOR: SALVATION. This trip also included a tour of the Albuquerque Studios complex which housed some of the more established interior sets for the flick. The new installment started filming in April 2008 and by the time we were on set, they were close to half-way done shooting. The movie currently has a May 22, 2009 release date.
I’ve got to say from the outset, I wasn’t crazy about the idea of a fourth Terminator movie. Not from the perspective of a “fanboy” (a term I absolutely loathe), the TERMINATOR movies just weren’t something I possessively held close to my heart, like THE GODFATHER, DIE HARD, or TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES. At the time of the set visit, I hadn’t seen TERMINATOR: RISE OF THE MACHINES but obviously loving the first two movies, I felt like I was missing something from the franchise. Well, having finally seen Rise of the Machines, I can say that there was something missing about third flick, much like the third GODFATHER movie where you’re just left thinking, “Huh? Really?”
Nowadays, when you attach Christian Bale’s name to a project, interest automatically goes up ten fold. Whether he’s attached to play John Connor in the new Terminator flick or starring as himself in a documentary about learning how to get through a rough par 3 on the golf course, the man unwittingly attracts interest from all over the world. And when Christian Bale is interested in continuing the story of a legendary but fractured franchise, you can bet your ass there’s a damn good reason behind it. And that reason isn’t dollar signs, but a word that invokes a blood curdling rage in fanboys: McG. Just remember I said that.
Why? Because meeting the man on set, giving us his pitch on why he decided to continue this particular story, and how he plans to get his vision across was enough to convince me of his genuine passion in not only picking up the TERMINATOR franchise, but filmmaking in general. As you’ll read in my official set visit report a little later, after graciously showing us 8 minutes of “selects” from the film (this is before any teaser/trailer), he laced into the internet movie community with a good 5 minute rant on how much he gets shit on for his choice in directing projects and most of all, his name. The man certainly earned my respect after the tirade (which you’ll also read coming soon).
With a project like TERMINATOR: SALVATION, a story that’s part of an epic franchise, details on the set are very “hush hush” which is why I’m talking in broad strokes in this preview piece. Even when news broke, that day on set, that Helena Bonham Carter was indeed cast as a character called “Serena”, confirmation for the news wasn’t easily given. In any case, I’ll give you some handy bullet points of things I’ll be covering in depth in my full report that will be filed some time next year.
- We explore the Albuquerque Studios complex where key scenes are filmed such as the big interrogation scene between John Connor and Marcus Wright.
- Visiting Skynet.
- Details on the production area where production designer Martin Laing’s full color, painted storyboards are exhibited to show the entire movie.
- More details on production art showcasing various Terminators such as T600, T700 and T800 models and also various Drones, Hydrobots and Harvesters.
- Interviews with McG, Sam Worthington, Moon Bloodgood and Anton Yelchin (Kyle Reese), not to mention our run in with Helena Bonham Carter on her first day on set!
- Details on the 8 minutes of footage that McG personally showed us in his very cool (literally) mini trailer.
- Our visit to the animatronics trailer where I shit my pants when a T800 looks right at me and flares its red eyes.
- Details on a KEY scene where John Connor gets into a bit of a scrap with a Terminator.
I still have to say that despite my skepticism that SALVATION would be any less lame than RISE OF THE MACHINES, what I saw in the 8 minutes in McG’s trailer…the conversations with the cast and crew…the general vibe and excitement on set from everyone involved, has leaned me to the side of “I can’t f*cking wait”.