Guff Interview: Arnold Schwarzenegger on Aging Terminators and the Supreme Court Decision


In Arnold Schwarzenegger's return to his trademark role, the Terminator has been sent back in time to protect Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) as a child. By the time his original Terminator comes back to kill Sarah in 1984, an older Terminator is already waiting for him. This changes everything and the Terminator protects Sarah and Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) in a new future. 

Q: Do you believe that there's always more story to tell in a sequel?

Arnold Schwarzenegger:  I think that it really depends so much on the writing. I think there are some people that are capable of making a sequel more special than the original. And we have seen that when the original Terminator came out, then Jim Cameron outdid himself with the sequel. Then it became the highest grossing movie of the year when it came out in 1991. Since then, we've been trying to outdo that, not always successfully, but that was always the intent. So this time, I think [director] Alan Taylor and the writers and the producers have done an extraordinary job to really live up to that standard of Terminator 2 again.

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Arnold in 'Terminator 2', Giphy

Q: If you could travel to 1984, what would you like to relive over again?

AS: Well, I don't know if I would be that interested in 1984. I think that if I have a chance to go back, why not just go back all the way in history to the times of the pyramids or the Roman days? I think there are so many great historic times until now that I would like to get a little peek of those periods, rather than just 1984. Why limit yourself? If I have the chance to time travel, might as well go all out.

Q: What was it like to see yourself fighting your younger self?

AS: First of all, I think that the bodybuilder that they picked for me to fight with was really an extraordinary champion bodybuilder. He had terrific muscles but even after three or four days of doing this fight scene, I was always wondering: How are you going to do this technological head replacement and how do you make the body exactly like my body? Because his body was extraordinary but it was not exactly like my body was, right? Every body is different.

Then, when I saw it just three weeks ago, the finished movie for the first time, I just thought it was so seamless and technology has advanced so much that it was really extraordinary. It totally worked so I was really impressed. I thought it was smart that from a scheduling point of view, they did that scene pretty much at the beginning of the movie because I did not realize that it would take one year. One year, that many people working on it but with the technology that is available now, the CGI and all this, it can be done. You just have to have the money for it, obviously, and you have to have the time and really pace yourself and do the prepping in such a way that you start early enough with the scene so that you do have the time that you can finish the scenes. So that was the extraordinary thing.

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Jingle All the Way,'Giphy

Q: Sending you back to Sarah's childhood, and then have you wait for the future, is a really great way to explain how you're still the Terminator at your current age. What are your feelings about aging?

AS: I thought that concept and the way it was written was really terrific because this way we don't pretend that I'm the 40-year-old guy. I am what I am "” which is I have aged. That worked really well. I myself don't feel any older. I think because I've stayed in shape and I exercise every day, so when I started the movie I did the prepping two months before. I was delighted to be able to do the movie without getting exhausted or feeling old or tired or anything like this. I felt I was in great shape and I felt really young.  In fact, Alan asked me to gain 10 pounds in order to have the same size as the skeleton always had in 1984. So I gained that weight, trained twice as hard, trained heavier to get more muscle size and so on to keep that same frame and wear the same size clothing and all this stuff. But other than that, I aged.

Q: What is your relationship with machines and technology?

AS: I embrace technology and I just think that in 1984 when James Cameron wrote about the technology, everyone thought he was totally way out there and it was science fiction. Now it's almost reality what he talked about. The machines have taken over, except they have not become self-aware, like in Terminator. So this is really one thing that we have to watch out for, but I think technology is good. It can be abused as everything else but I think it is good and I hope that we will continue getting smarter and getting more interesting intelligence. We are going in the direction of artificial intelligence or hybrid intelligence where a part of our brain will get information from the cloud and the other half is from you, so all this stuff will happen in the future.

Q: What are your thoughts on the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage?

AS: I'm very happy that they made the right decision on that because we in California, of course, we're always a step ahead. We made that decision already a long time ago, our Supreme Court of California, that it is unconstitutional to deny people, gay or lesbian couples, the right to marriage. Everyone has equal rights so this is the right way to go. I think it's a great celebration for America. So sometimes I have to say that the judges and our judiciary system makes better decisions than the politicians. Sadly, they sometimes don't have the balls to lead and work together on those issues.

Terminator: Genisys opens July 1.

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