Following the drop of the full trailer a few hours ago, filmmaker James Cameron has sat down with Deadline for an extended interview about “Terminator: Dark Fate” which marks his return to the franchise that launched his career.
Skydance Productions, who produced the widely panned previous film “Terminator: Genisys,” is backing the new project and Cameron says that it was Skydance boss David Ellison’s pitch to ignore ‘Genisys’ that got him intrigued as he tells out the outlet “he [Ellison] was quite honest with me about this – [Genisys] fell short of the mark and didn’t really do what he had wanted it to do. So he said, ‘Let’s start with a blank slate and take it back to Terminator 2.’ And that idea was intriguing.”
From there the pair worked with “Deadpool” director Tim Miller where they confirmed they wanted the return of Sarah Connor – but only if Linda Hamilton returned to the part. In addition, they mapped out enough story for a whole trilogy:
“We spent several weeks breaking story and figuring out what type of story we wanted to tell so we would have something to pitch Linda. We rolled up our sleeves and started to break out the story and when we got a handle on something we looked at it as a three-film arc, so there is a greater story there to be told. If we get fortunate enough to make some money with Dark Fate we know exactly where we can go with the subsequent films.”
Josh Friedman, David S. Goyer, Justin Rhodes and Billy Ray all ended up working on the script. Cameron says one key area of focus for him was getting the script ‘punched up’ as: “I didn’t feel like we went into the shoot with the script exactly where it should have been… so I quietly worked on it in the background and shipping out pages”. He also revisited the other three “Terminator” films so as to avoid some of their mistakes:
“One of the things that seemed obvious from looking at the films that came along later was that we would need to get everything back to the basics and that we would need to avoid the mistakes of making things overly complex and that we needed to avoid stories that jumps around in time and one that goes backward and forward in time. Let’s keep it simple in the relative unity of time. With the story, let’s have the whole thing play out in 36 hours or 48 hours. In the first two movies everything plays out in less than two days in each one so there’s energy and momentum.”
Cameron admits that early on filming time was set aside to shoot scenes both for an R and a PG-13 rated version of the film, offering a fallback option if the rating decision was reconsidered. They soon realised it was a “waste of time” and so they stuck with the R-rating like the original two films.
Skydance Productions and Paramount Pictures releases the R-rated “Terminator: Dark Fate” in cinemas on November 1st.