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The Terminator – Other Voices (Documentary).
Part 1 – Beginning.
(From "Terminator" Ultimate Edition. Disc 2)
English subtitles.


J.C. - James Cameron (Movie’s director).
B.W. – Bill Wisher (Add’l dialogue / Cameron collaboration).
S.W. – Stan Winston (Terminator makeup effects creator).
G.W.J – Gene Warren, Jr (Fantasy II VFX Supervisor).
A.S. - Arnold Schwarzenegger (Actor).
L.H. – Linda Hamilton (Actress).
M.B. – Micheal Biehn (Actor).
G.A.H. – Gale Anne Hurd (Producer).
J.V. – Joe Viskocil (Visual effects pyrotechnicial).
M.G. – Mark Goldblatt (Film edition).
B.F. – Brand Fiedel (Composer).

J.C.: Belief in the film is a critical factor, certainly for the actors but also for everyone at a creative level. People love the energy of guerrilla filmmaking. They love to have a film that they do believe in and can throw themselves into.

B.W.: I always thought that Terminator 1 was it's a Wonderful Life with guns.

S.W.: Meeting Jim, seeing his artwork, seeing the endoskeleton, reading the script, slam dunk, not a question, this was gonna be a memorable movie.

G.W.J: This is gonna be a great movie with this script. We gotta get this movie.

A.S.: Everyone else around me said, "Maybe you should not play a villain." "That is not good for your career."

L.H.: I think the love story is what really made it work for the audiences.

G.A.H.: We did everything in terms of guerrilla filmmaking to pull the movie off.

M.B.: Nights, rats, alleys, fast-moving cars.

J.V: I set off the rest of the charges. We put it out, and there was a collective groan amongst everybody on the set.

M.G.: I felt a sense of fear. "Can I do this?" "Can I cut a picture that's this complex?"

B.F.: It's the feeling of Terminator. Keep going. He's after us. The schedule and deadline are after us.

("OTHER VOICES: BACK THOUGH TIME. CREATING THE TERMINATOR. CAST & CREW RECOLLECTIONS. BEGINNINGS").

B.W.: Jim and I met in '73, I think. And there weren't that many people in the town who were interested in science fiction and all that kind of stuff. There was a third friend of ours, we're all still friends, a guy named Randy Frakes. Randy's worked with Jim as well over the years. I learned a lot about writing from Randy. I think Jim did, too. And we met in this tiny little town, and we all wanted to be in show business. We all wanted to make movies. He had met Gale Hurd on a Corman picture. She was a budding young producer.

G.A.H.: It started when I first met Jim, when he was working as a model-builder on Battle Beyond the Stars. I was assistant production manager. I assumed he was head of the model shop, but he was a model-builder. But he acted like he was the head. He had that kind of authority.

M.G.: We were all doing work. I was doing postproduction work in Venice, on Main Street. I knew there was a model shop in the same building.

J.C.: We came through the Roger Corman school together. We worked on Battle Beyond the Stars. We knew each other.

G.A.H.: Making Battle Beyond the Stars, we needed someone as art director. Overnight, Jim went from model-builder to art director.

J.C.: It was all or nothing. You just go for it.

B.W.: As things progressed, it just seemed quite natural, we knew each other, that we would help each other write things and work on projects.

G.A.H.: We worked really closely together and decided that, in the future, we wanted to collaborate. He'd direct and I would produce.

B.W.: Jim has said over the years that he always loved nightmares because they gave him great imagery and happy dreams were a waste of time.

G.A.H.: When he was in postproduction, in Rome, on Piranha II, he called me one morning and said in a fevered dream he had this vision.

J.C.: I had this kind of recurrent image of this machine figure.

B.W.: He said that he'd had this dream about the Terminator coming out of the fire.

J.C.: I began doing some drawings of it. I saw that it was a robot design that could be split in half and still pursue its victims in classic sort of '70s slasher style. I thought a knife-wielding robot cut in half crawling over the ground after some poor female victim. That was the nucleus for the story. I came back from Piranha II from which I got fired not once but twice.

B.W.: He came back without a nickel in his pocket.

J.C.: My car had been repossessed. I was totally out of cash. I wound up sleeping on the floor of Randy Frakes's house. During that time, I was cooking the story.

B.W.: That's where the whole thing came from. We thought "A thing like that doesn't exist today, so it has to come from the future." I remember, very specifically, he wanted to make the hero of the piece a woman.

J.C.: I was probably influenced by Allen which was one of the first science-fiction films that really had a female protagonist who was a warrior in her own right. I liked that idea. It appealed to me. It also fit with my view of the female half of the species in general.

B.W.: And what he was looking to do was to write something that would be so irresistible that no one would not let him direct it.

J.C.: I just wrote a treatment longhand, maybe 40 pages. Now I had a treatment, this was a film I wanted to make I needed a producer, a producer that I could trust to protect it, and to protect me in the mix. I knew Gale. It was the type of material that she understood and she knew low-budget effects. She was a natural choice.

G.A.H.: We decided to collaborate on the film and bring it to the screen. We were turned down by every major studio. However, we did have one connection to Orion Pictures.Barbara Boyle and Francis Dole, who had worked for Roger Corman at New World Pictures, were both employed by Mike Metavoy. And we slipped the script to them, and they loved it.

("TERMINATOR PROTOPTYPE").

G.A.H.: Jim Cameron had worked with Lance Henriksen on Piranha II. He wanted Lance to play the Terminator. He saw the Terminator initially as someone who would blend in.

J.C.: The Terminator I always saw as this cipher, this anonymous guy. Lance had the suitable acting chops to do a really interesting characterisation.

B.W.: That would have been really interesting, because Lance saw the Terminator as a kind of a praying mantis. And he'd worked on his moves and this whole attitude. He put foil in his teeth, and went around climbing up fire escapes in Venice and probably scared his neighbours.

J.C.: I did a painting of Lance in the character with the leather jacket, the gun and the one red eye.

G.A.H.: I remember Lance actually came in in full make-up to meet with John Daly.

B.W.: Lance showed up early. And so, you have to imagine, there's this waiting room and this very nice, young, female secretary. And Lance walks in as the Terminator. He just kept sitting there, not moving the entire time or doing... Some bizarre behaviour. Spooky stuff. And he had everybody in that office scared to death. They had no clue who this guy was. Because Jim was gonna show up. Jim had the meeting, and he was just bringing Lance along, and saying "This is a great guy. I worked with him on another movie." So he just kinda showed up, and they weren't expecting him. They certainly weren't expecting him with metal teeth and in character. I think they were about ten seconds away from calling the police when Jim walked through the door and said, "Lance." Everybody calmed down, but he put the fear of God into those people. Which is always a good thing to do to executives, don't you think?

G.A.H.: When we went with someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger, that was very different. We had Lance in the film, and instead he played a police detective as opposed to the Terminator.

Since from movie: I hate these press cases. Especially the weird press cases.

G.A.H.: Believe it or not, OJ Simpson was at one point brought up to star as the Terminator.

("CASTING MODEL 101").

A.S.: Basically, they were looking for someone to play the heroic character in the film, in the first Terminator, and they asked me to play that character. And I asked them to send me the script, did they have a slot open for spring, and I wanted to see the script first. And I read the script, and I immediately could relate much more to the character of Terminator than the heroic character.

J.C.: Mike Metavoy said I had to talk to Arnold to play Reese. I thought, "That's fine." "That's a lame idea, frankly, but I'll talk to him," because you have to be political, especially when you're starting out. You're on very thin ice. You can crash through.

B.W.: He was a thing to be dealt with. Jim couldn't just say no. The only way he could get out of it was to pick a fight with him. I remember, you know, in the house, and Jim says,"Well, wish me luck." "I'm gonna meet Arnold. I have to pick a fight with Arnold." The only way to get him out of the movie was to not get along with him. Nobody would wanna have them work together. So he said, "If it doesn't go well, you can have the chair and the stereo."

J.C.: I went to meet with Arnold and found him to be charming. The entire time that I was talking to him during that lunch, I was thinking, "You'd make a great Terminator." He had such a strength of presence that I knew it would translate to the screen.

B.W.: Arnold didn't wanna play Reese at all. Arnold had read the script and said, "I wanna play this Terminator guy." So Jim went from just about ready to pick a fight with him to, "That's a good idea."

J.C.: So, I came back to John Daly and said, "It's not going to work as Reese, but I think he'd make a great Terminator." John said, "Let's give it a try." Picked up the phone, called his agent. I only heard John's side of the conversation. All I remember him saying is, "Yes, Lou, that's right." "But he is the title character. After all, he's the title character." What can you say? I knew Lou Pitt's side of the conversation was, "He's only got six lines. He's only in a few scenes." But, you know, to his credit, Lou made the deal. At that point, the floodgates opened. We were making a film.

B.W.: The way the Terminator was initially written, five ten, six feet tall, nondescript, and the whole idea was that he was supposed to be invisible in plain sight. It can be argued that a 6ft 3in, 220lb, ripped Austrian guy is not your best under-the-radar infiltration unit, but you know what? It's Los Angeles.

G.A.H.: It created the idea of this unstoppable Terminator, and you didn't need to believe, initially, that there was metal under that body. The body was enough to convince people that he was lethal. It didn't hurt the credibility of the Terminator. We weren't sure whether going in that direction would be successful. As it turned out, it was really the right choice.

J.C.: Arnold always struck me as having a larger sense of the movie. He signed on because he liked the movie, not necessarily just the character, and saw its potential. So we clicked from the beginning.

G.A.H.: Arnold was cast first. With Arnold, we essentially had a "go" picture. And then we could concentrate on filling the other parts with the best people for the roles and not necessarily star names.

("KYLE REESE AND SARAH CONNOR").

G.A.H.: Michael Biehn, when he came to audition, had just finished playing Saint Sebastian in a film, and he was much more internal and much less of the kind of action icon that you would expect for someone auditioning for the role of Reese, who is the action hero in the picture.

M.B.: I had just come from an audition of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof down at the Mark Taper. And it was a Jose Quintero production. It was a big deal, so I worked hard on the character and the accent. And I went down there and I spent two or three hours auditioning for Jose Quintero for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and didn't get that role, but when I showed for the Terminator audition and the Kyle audition, I guess I still had some of that Southern accent going.

G.A.H.: It was not the audition that you would think we would respond to.

M.B.: I did the reading, and the feedback from my agent was that they liked me a lot, they thought I was right for the role, but they thought I was too regional. They didn't want somebody that was Southern. Myself and my agents were, like, "What are you talkin' about?" "I'm not Southern. I'm from Nebraska. That's Middle America. See me again." I realised what had happened. And so they saw me again.

J.C.: I saw in Michael the intensity and intelligence that I needed and the physicality.

G.A.H.: There was something vulnerable about him, and that was incredibly important, that he not only be an action star, but he have the vulnerability. That's why we went with Michael. He combined those two skills. The skill to be incredibly physical and believable in that part, as well as the emotional connection that he had with Sarah.

M.B.: The thing that's interesting about that character is that all the exposition in the piece, who the Terminator was, where he came from, what happened in the past, what'll happen in the future, who she was, who I was, who the Terminator was, I had to tell that story. Reese told the story from beginning to end about what's happening. Cos he's the only person who knew. That's exposition, and that usually is a show stopper. That usually stops movies dead in their tracks. But what Jim did, and the brilliance, I think, of The Terminator is that that story was told on the move. It was always told while car chases were going on, while we were running, hiding. While we were being shot at, I was telling the story. The Terminator's this, he's that. And we're screeching around corners. He mixed the action and the exposition, and it made it much easier for me to not become boring by sitting around telling the story.

G.A.H.: When we met Linda, she also had the ability to transcend the genre and not be someone who simply screams really well, but someone who was believable as the girl next door, who could ultimately become the mother who saves humanity. That's not an easy transition.

J.C.: With Linda, I saw the combination of the strength and the innocence that she needed. She goes between two poles in that film. You don't see the strength until the end.

L.H.: She's a woman that grew and transformed on screen. And that's always a wonderful thing to get to play. A challenge. She's not someone that starts here and ends there. She went from a vulnerable, normal kind of a girl to someone who found all of her deep reservoirs of strength and came through, and that was good.

M.B.: We had a great working relationship. We both worked extremely hard on it. I think it was more difficult for her because a lot of that stuff was very, very gruelling. Running and jumping and fighting. But she was game, and she was good. I think Jim played off that a little bit. There were times that she got frustrated, tired, angry and dirty, pissed off. And I think it absolutely worked for the character.

("GATHERING THE TROOPS").

G.A.H.: One of the other essential people that we were told we had to get in order for the film to be greenlit was someone who ultimately didn't work on the movie at all. We were told we had to get Dick Smith, who was the character make-up star at the time. And he was the one who agreed to talk with us, read the script and then said, "I'm not the right guy for this.
The right guy for this is Stan Winston." And he went to bat for Stan, as well as for the movie, to make sure that Stan was approved to come on board to head up special effects.

S.W.: I was very haughty because I was the guy. And I saw this painting that he had done of the endoskeleton. I went, "Oh, my God. This guy is awesome." And then I read the script. And suddenly I went from a guy who was sitting on a high horse to a guy who really wanted to work on this film.

J.C.: Stan signed on and did a lot of work early on even when the film wasn't greenlit. He was a true believer.

G.A.H.: With Fantasy II, they also came on board early enough on that they could contribute tremendously to how we planned to bring each effect to the screen.

G.W.J.: I read that script in 45 minutes. As fast as I've ever read a script. Went right through and I put it down on Leslie's desk and said, "This is great." "This is gonna be a great movie with this script. We gotta get this movie."

J.V.: I was called into the office of Gene Warren Jr and Fantasy II Film Effects at Burbank to do the miniature pyrotechnics, and there on his desk were the storyboards and a lot of paintings of this new film called The Terminator. When I saw these things I just flipped out. I thought, "This is as close as one of my favourite movies as I'm gonna come, and that's The War of the Worlds."

G.W.J.: Jim wanted to use those techniques of hanging wires on models, doing a lot of high-speed photography, in-camera effects, particularly.

J.C.: Gene Warren and those guys did effects the way I like to. Big models, blow stuff up, work without a lot of motion control, shoot from the hip and have a painterly eye. That kind of thing.

M.G.: So basically, Fantasy II was doing the special visual effects, Stan Winston was doing the Terminator makeup, prosthetics and so forth. Heads... puppets.

G.A.H.: They were able to use the storyboards to say, "We'll do this live on the set." "We are gonna do this following frame through stop-motion animation." That's part of the reason why the shots are so seamless, regardless of the technique that we used.


Text by Shman.


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