Cameron On His Role In “Terminator: Genesis”

Though he’s not officially a part of it, James Cameron revealed at the Los Angeles Times’ 2014 Hero Complex Film Festival this week that he had a small hand in the upcoming “Terminator” reboot.

At last report, the film isn’t a straight up reboot. Rather, it’s pulling a move similar to 2009’s “Star Trek” reboot and this month’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past” – using time travel elements to effectively reset the franchise’s continuity without invalidating what came before, effectively creating an alternate universe for the new films to play in.

A key element of that is Arnold Schwarzenegger, returning as a T-800 whose ‘bio-exoskeleton’ ages in the film so ultimately it resembles the actor’s current 67-year old physical form. It’s Arnold’s front-and-center involvement that Cameron had a hand in. He says (via Slashfilm):

“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.”

Cameron essentially bowed out of the franchise’s future with “Terminator 2: Judgement Day”, everything since then has been in the hands of others as creatively the filmmaker says he’s essentially done with the property:

“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.”

Cameron was also asked about the possibility of 3D re-releases of his two “Terminator” films. He says the first one is too gritty and raw to retrofit, but the sequel is certainly a possibility:

“Terminator 2 is a more polished film and, I think, it has a kind of timeless appeal. If there was someone who was interested in doing that, and we could make a good case for the business model like, perhaps let’s say, it’s never been on screens in China which in the next few years is about to become the biggest market for films worldwide. That alone might justify the cost of a conversion, which might be 6 or 7 million dollars. And then a 3D re-release might attract some eyeballs in North American and Europe and then the Chinese release, which would be the first release on the big screen, might pay for it.”

Reportedly rights to the “Terminator” franchise revert back to Cameron in 2019, by which point a new trilogy of films should hopefully be done and in cinemas. Finally, more photos from the set of the new film have gone up at The Daily Mail, these ones showing Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney at work.