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An oral history of Terminator 2.

July 2, 2021 - 09:18 -- Admin


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The other great link I’m stealing from JVL is this oral history, from The Ringer, of the first Termie sequel. It’s worth a lazy, lockdown read.

Cameron: I talked to Dennis Muren at ILM. I said, “I’ve got an idea. If we took the water character from The Abyss, but it was metallic so you didn’t have the translucency issues, but you had all the surface reflectivity issues and you made it a complete human figure that could run and do stuff, and it could morph back into a human, and then turn into the liquid metal version of itself, and we sprinkled it through the movie, can we do it?” He said, “I’ll call you back tomorrow.” . . .

Cameron: Tom Sherak ran all distribution for Fox for years, and he said, “Who would have known that we made a $60 million movie that was just a test run for Terminator 2?” They were still stinging a little bit from the fact that The Abyss broke even, just barely. . . .

Cameron: We used the CG very sparingly. We had 14 CG shots in The Abyss and we had only 42 two years later in T2. There were probably another 50 or 60 shots that were practical prosthetic effects done by Stan Winston Studio, which today would have been done as CG. . . .

Cameron: When I first conceived the story idea, it was in two parts. In the first part, Skynet sent a cyborg with a metal endoskeleton and the good guys sent the protector. The protector crushes him under a truck or throws him through some big gear structure or machine. And then, up in the future, they realize the ripples of time are progressing toward them. They still haven’t won the battle.

[Skynet would] think long and hard about pulling the trigger on sending the experimental, one-off super weapon that they’ve created, that even they’re terrified to use. I didn’t call it the T-1000—it was just a liquid metal robot. And so now the thing that’s coming at you is much, much scarier than that other metal endoskeleton guy with his skin hanging off. I took that guy out of the story, but then I thought, “Let’s bring that guy back. Let’s make him the adversary.” I merged the two ideas. Instead of Arnold versus Arnold, it was Arnold versus the scary liquid metal weapon.