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Terminator: Dark Fate actor Arnold Schwarzenegger discusses working with James Cameron again and returning to the franchise

(Image credit: Fox)

“Honestly, you can’t fucking keep Arnold Schwarzenegger away from a Terminator movie!” says Tim Miller, the director of the upcoming Terminator movie, Dark Fate. 

Yet, this Terminator movie's a bit different. Dark Fate rewrites the Terminator franchise, ignoring every movie following Terminator 2: Judgment Day, rendering them somewhat obsolete. So, how did Arnie – the franchise's stalwart figure – feel about making a film that deliberately overwrites the other sequels that he’s already made?

“I really didn’t care about any of that,” Schwarzenegger tells our sister publication Total Film magazine, intimidatingly dressed as the T-800 on the set of Dark Fate, half of his face covered in grey paint to provide the canvas for ILM’s digital robot make-up. “I didn’t look at it as a continuation of the second film because, to me, it’s a standalone thing. If someone has never seen Terminator, they’ll still enjoy this.”

Back working with James Cameron, who acts as Dark Fate's producer, again for the first time since 1994’s True Lies, a lot has changed for them both since they first made a name for themselves with the original Terminator, but the old, occasionally frosty working partnership seems to be pretty much the same.

“The upside of having him there is that he’s very smart and he totally knows science fiction and action and storytelling,” muses Schwarzenegger. “The bad side is that he’s too much of a control freak, y’know? He just sees it all as his way or nothing. But then, he’s not just anybody, he’s the top director in the world, so I don’t mind listening to him. Tim is… not as intense.”

Now sporting a grizzly beard and a stockier frame, the T-800’s living tissue has aged, even if the metal endoskeleton underneath hasn’t. When we first meet him, he’s “Carl”, a guy who runs a drapery business on an airbase – just waiting for the moment that he might be needed to help stave off another robot apocalypse. (Exactly how the T-800 has survived the ending of T2 remains to be seen.)

“I always spend a lot of time before I get on set with my wardrobe, practising shooting on my ranch, so I’ve felt ready for the last month really,” he says, shrugging off any idea that it was tough getting back into the character he first played 35 years ago. “I like to take my costume home and hang out in it, too, doing everything in it for a month. When I come to the set I don’t want to waste anyone’s time.”

Ignoring the surreal image of Schwarzenegger walking around his ranch dressed as the Terminator, shooting guns, it’s not hard to see how little seems to have changed for him and Linda Hamilton, who plays Sarah Connor, now they’re back in character.

“That took me by surprise,” says Hamilton. “I don’t know if I can qualify it, but I know we’re both still standing and there was just a comradeship and a deep affection I felt this time. Half of our lives have passed since we last worked together… It feels nice to be back.”

(Image credit: Fox)

Schwarzenegger and Hamilton both spoke at length with Total Film magazine about working on Dark Fate, which you can read all about in the latest issue. See more exclusive images here. The new issue reaches store shelves on September 20. Meanwhile, Terminator: Dark Fate lands in cinemas on October 23.

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