Entertainment Fact or Fiction: The Terminator
Each day, we bring you Entertainment Fact or Fiction, cool movie trivia and facts to pass the time. I mean, who wants to work? Not me. Here is 38 Facts about The Terminator that you were dying to know. Why? Because it's an awesome movie!
Arnold Schwarzenegger worked with guns everyday for a month to prepare for the role; the first two weeks of filming he practiced weapons stripping and reassembly blindfolded until the motions were automatic, like a machine. He spent hours at the shooting range, practicing with different weapons without blinking or looking at them when reloading or cocking; he also had to be ambidextrous. He practiced different moves up to 50 times.
The beginning of production was postponed for nine months, due to Arnold Schwarzenegger's commitment to Conan the Destroyer (1984). During this time, James Cameron wanted to be working but didn't have the time to do a whole other film so he took on a writing assignment; this turned out to be Aliens (1986).
One afternoon during a break in filming, Arnold Schwarzenegger went into a restaurant in downtown L.A. to get some lunch and realized all too late that he was still in Terminator makeup - with a missing eye, exposed jawbone and burned flesh.
O.J. Simpson was considered for the Terminator, but the producers feared he was "too nice" to be taken seriously as a cold-blooded killer. In 1990 (before Simpson's first trial) Dark Horse Comics printed issues using his likeness.
Arnold Schwarzenegger originally wanted to play Kyle Reese. But James Cameron had a different idea and saw Schwarzenegger in the title role of The Terminator and Cameron said to Schwarzenegger "This movie is not about the hero. It's about The Terminator".
Near the beginning of the movie, when Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) receives a message on her answering machine breaking her date, the voice on the machine is James Cameron's. Years later, Hamilton and Cameron got married and subsequently divorced.
Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to avoid Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn as much as possible since the Terminator was trying to kill them, not form connections.
The future terminator who infiltrates the human camp in the dream sequence is played by Franco Columbu, who is a multiple Mr. Olympia title winner like Arnold Schwarzenegger and is a close friend of his.
The initial draft for the movie was sold to James Cameron's wife, Gale Anne Hurd for the price of $1 only.
Mel Gibson turned down the role of the Terminator.
James Cameron's original idea was that Skynet would send two Terminators at once: one would be a cyborg, while the other would consist of liquid metal and was able to shape-shift. Cameron realized early on that this latter effect could not be realized with the special effects at the time, so he abandoned it early on. When a completely computer-generated special effect proved to be a success in Cameron's The Abyss (1989), he revived the idea of the liquid Terminator for the sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991).
Shots through the Terminator's vision shows a dump of the ROM assembler code for the Apple II operating system. If you own an Apple II, enter at the basic prompt: ] call -151 * p This will give you the terminator view. Other code visible is written in COBOL.
The revolver Reese carries after the police station massacre and gives to Sarah at the motel is Lt. Traxler's. In a deleted scene, Reese and Sarah are trying to escape the police station when they come across the wounded Traxler. He now believes their story and gives Reese his sidearm, telling him to protect Sarah.
The relationship between James Cameron and executive producer / Hemdale head John Daly deteriorated during post-production. According to Cameron, Daly and Orion executive Mike Medavoy (who recommended Arnold Schwarzenegger to Cameron) wanted the film to end right after tanker explosion, removing the climax at the robot factory and epilogue. Orion Pictures, which co-financed the movie, wanted to be known for its quality drama movies (like Amadeus (1984) and Platoon (1986)), and perceived The Terminator as little more than a low budget vehicle to make some quick money. Quoting from Cameron: "Daly said 'The film has to end right after the tanker explosion'. I told him straight, 'F**k you! The film isn't over yet.'" Daly would ultimately back down, a decision that led to the sudden success of the film. However, the studio refused to do advertisement for the movie. Three weeks after the film was released, Medavoy still ignored Cameron's request to beef up the film's ad-campaign: "They told me, when you have a dirty-down action thriller, the film can last in the box-office for about three weeks plus or so. They are treating the film like dog-s**t!" Reportedly, Schwarzenegger still holds a grudge towards Orion Pictures due to their lack of support.
The TechNoir set was actually a downtown L.A. restaurant, redressed to look like a nightclub.
Sarah Connor is 19 years old in the movie. This is proved in the sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) where Dr. Silberman says Sarah is 29 years old and T-1000 checks Sarah son's, John Connor's, profile which states he's 10 years old.
The laser sight on the .45 Longslide was specially built by Laser Products Corporation (now Sure-Fire). This was in the early days of laser-aimed weapons and what was seen was actually not a complete assembly. Only the laser was mounted but the required battery pack was hidden from view. In those days the battery packs were very large, about the size of a TV remote control. A wire was hidden underneath Arnold Schwarzenegger's sleeve.
According to a 2008 interview with Lance Henriksen, James Cameron had no agent and was living in his car when he wrote the script for the film. Cameron had actually fired his agent because he didn't like the story idea Cameron had conceived for The Terminator (1984).
Science fiction author Harlan Ellison sued James Cameron, claiming that the film was plagiarized from the two The Outer Limits (1963) episodes that Ellison wrote, namely The Outer Limits: Soldier (1964) and The Outer Limits: Demon with a Glass Hand (1964). The concept of "Skynet" could also have been borrowed from an Ellison short story called "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream." The suit was settled out of court and newer prints of the film acknowledge Ellison. Cameron has claimed that this settlement was forced upon him by the producers, which he has always resented.
Tom Selleck was rumored to be cast as The Terminator, but was forced to turn the role down due to his commitment to the TV series Magnum, P.I. (1980). Kevin Kline and Michael Douglas were also considered.
The film takes place from May 13 to November 10, 1984 and in 2029.
Bruce Willis and Sting were considered for the role of Kyle Reese.
Wolfie, James Cameron's German Shepherd dog, can be seen at the Tiki Motel.
The teaser trailer for this film was narrated by Peter Cullen, best known to fans as the voice of the robotic hero Optimus Prime from Transformers.
The immortal line: "I'll be back!" as written by James Cameron, could have ended up being - "I will be back" - if Arnold Schwarzenegger had had his way. Because English was relatively new to him then, Schwarzenegger had felt that his unabbreviated sentence would have been the more formal and correct usage, but Cameron insisted on his script as written and the line remained.
During the final chase, as 'Reese' tosses pipe bombs at the 'Terminator', there is a single white frame spliced in just before some of the explosions, which is a trick employed by editor Mark Goldblatt. Director James Cameron would later use this trick to heighten the visual impact of gunshots in Aliens (1986). The pyrotechnic charges can be seen on the street, each with a pressure-sensitive strip for triggering the explosion when run over by either the Terminator's motorcycle or the heroes' truck.
The original treatment by James Cameron included the detail that the Terminator needed to eat periodically in order for his human flesh to survive. A scene is included where the Terminator eats a candy bar, wrapper and all. This detail was incorporated into the script for Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), with the Terminator selecting Arnold Schwarzenegger's favorite Austrian chocolate wafer. When fans learned that a scene had been shot where the Terminator ate chocolate, the reaction was overwhelmingly negative and the scene was omitted.
Geena Davis auditioned for the role of Sarah Connor.
There was minimal interference from the film's financial backer, Orion, partly due to the budget offered. However, they suggested two things. The first was a cyborg canine that accompanies Reese - an idea turned down by James Cameron; the second was strengthening the relationship between Kyle and Sarah, which Cameron decided to accept.
Debra Winger was James Cameron's preferred choice after he watched her in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982). Michelle Pfeiffer, Diane Lane and Carrie Fisher were all considered to play the part, and both Sharon Stone and Kelly McGillis auditioned for the role.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was considered so indispensable to the film that when he went off to do Conan the Destroyer (1984) first, they were prepared to wait, rather than recast him in the interim.
The tanker truck that explodes at the end is a model, not a real truck. It was filmed twice because the wire pulling the truck tugged too hard initially, pulling the front axle off and ruining the shot.
Daryl Hannah auditioned for the role of Sarah Connor, but turned it down in order to play Madison in Splash (1984).
Randy Quaid was considered for the lead role.Mickey Rourke was considered for the role of Kyle Reese.
According to the original treatment (accessible on the DVD version), there were supposed to be two protectors sent back to save Sarah Connor. However, this partner of Reese's would have received very little screen time, as he rematerialized right into a fire escape. It is interesting to note that this contradicts the sequel's logic in regards to the Temporal Displacement Field (matter in an orb-shaped space is replaced by its counterpart from the future).
Most of the car chase scenes were shot at normal speed and sped up slightly. To add more of a sense of speed, other cars rode along with them out of frame with revolving lights attached to them that made it seem like the car was passing other light sources faster.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus was rumored to be cast as Sarah Connor but was forced to turn the role down due to her commitment as a regular player on NBC's Saturday Night Live (1975).
Jürgen Prochnow was also considered to play the title role.
9 Bonus Facts, because The Terminator is an awesome movie!
The "screaming" sound at the end of the movie is Brad Fiedel and friends screaming in a microphone and Fiedel playing synth over it.
James Cameron revealed that Glenn Close was originally chosen to play Sarah Connor, but Close wasn't available prior to the project began.
Gilda Radner, Susan Sarandon, Glenn Close, Rhea Perlman, Sigourney Weaver, Cybill Shepherd, Jane Seymour, Anjelica Huston, Lori Loughlin, Kim Basinger, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Christie Brinkley, Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ally Sheedy, Jessica Lange, Sissy Spacek, Kay Lenz, Liza Minnelli, Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey, Miranda Richardson, Rosanna Arquette, Meg Ryan, Heather Locklear, Jennifer Grey, Madonna, Amy Irving, Teri Garr, Margot Kidder and Tatum O'Neal were all considered for the role of Sarah Connor before it was offered to Debra Winger. However, Winger declined before filming began.
Edward James Olmos and Louis Gossett Jr. were considered for the role of Lt. Traxler.
The role of Sarah Connor was originally written by James Cameron for Bridget Fonda, who passed on the project. He later replaced Bridget Fonda with Tatum O'Neal. However, it was decision of James Cameron to make the character of Sarah Connor older. He suggested Kate Capshaw for the role of Sarah, but Capshaw was filming Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). He later suggested Kathleen Turner for the part, but Turner was filming Romancing the Stone (1984).
The Alamo Sport Shop was a real gun store, at 14329 Victory Blvd. in Van Nuys, California. It is no longer there. The Artkraft Taxidermy shop visible behind Alamo has moved to North Hollywood, California.
The phone number for the payphone in TechNoir is 555-9175.
In the beginning of the movie, The Terminator drives over a toy semi truck..towards the end of the movie, The Terminator is run over by the same model of semi truck.
The Terminator uses the following weapons during the movie:
An AMT 1911 .45 Long Slide with Laser Pointer (to kill the first two Sarah Connors and Ginger)
An S&W classic type 2.5-inch barrel revolver, caliber .357Mag (during the tunnel chase)
An Uzi .9mm Submachine Gun (in the Tech Noir nightclub)
A SPAS-12 Automatic Shotgun (during the police station shootout)
An AR-18 Assault Rifle (during the police station shootout and the tunnel chase)
The phone number given by Sarah Conner to the Terminator (impersonating her mother) for Tiki Motel Room 9 is 555-1439. The phone number for the Tiki Motel (when the Terminator dials it) is 555-1639. Sarah Conner's mother's phone number is 555-9861.