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The big stars are back for ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’: Latest installment in the franchise puts Sarah Conner front and center

Oct 22,2019
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From left, actors Natalia Reyes, Mackenzie Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Gabriel Luna and director Tim Miller pose for photos at a press event held on Monday to promote their film, “Terminator: Dark Fate,” which is scheduled to be released in local theaters on Oct. 30. [NEWS1]

When it was announced that Arnold Schwarzeneggar and Linda Hamilton would be reprising their roles in “Terminator: Dark Fate,” the latest installment in the hit movie series, fans knew that the film would be worth checking out. The bar was raised even higher when they heard that director James Cameron would be a producer of the movie, marking his first time being involved in the franchise since the release of the second “Terminator” film.

At a press junket held at the Four Seasons Hotel in central Seoul on Monday, the cast and director Tim Miller reassured fans that Hamilton and Schwarzeneggar - despite their decade-long vacancy in the main roles - still got it.

“When Linda walked out in her costume and there is the visual of her looking like a badass, I could tell in her eyes that she felt like a badass and she enjoyed looking like a badass,” the director reminisced. “I knew that this was going to work - she just owned that character in such a way. She put the sunglasses on, she checks her weapons in this way that makes me feel like she’s very comfortable and just own this character throughout the whole movie.”

The new additions to the group - Mackenzie Davis and Natalia Reyes, who portray cyborg-human Grace and Dani Ramos, who become a new beacon of hope for humans after Sarah Connor - also gushed over Hamilton’s performance on set and for her role in the first two films.

“Sarah Connor feels like she was ahead of her time then [in the second film],” Davis commented. “She still feels like a really urgent, necessary character who doesn’t feel like a throwback to another time. She’s a whole human woman with a whole wealth of experiences - she just feels very contemporary.”

Millers has repeatedly emphasized that he considers the film to be a sequel to the first two films - “The Terminator” (1984) and “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” (1991) - and considers rest of the films closer to “alternate realities.” However, unlike the two original movies, the director includes an array of female characters to save human civilization from destruction, including Ramos.

When asked why, Miller replied that he had always thought the crucial heroes of the films were women, with Sarah Connor leading the way.

“I think the prominence of women was there from the beginning,” he said. “And then this film really continues that focus on Sarah. This story […] was really about continuing her journey. I think it’s natural that what she did in Terminator 2 changed the future and she has to deal with that future, which means additional characters that come into the franchise that weren’t there before.”

The director also shared how he made his decision to cast Davis and Reyes. Miller thought Davis possessed both the physical and mental strength of a super soldier, but it was Davis who wanted the role in the first place. “Mackenzie sought the role. She really wanted to be in the movie. She really liked the character for some crazy reason - she really believed in the film, maybe from the start.”

For the role of Ramos, Hamilton was directly involved in the auditions, even doing lines with the potential actors. The director confessed that it was Hamilton who had made the decision of casting Reyes, a Colombian actor making her Hollywood debut in this film.

“Even if she [Hamilton] hadn’t picked her, I would have,” the director noted. “[For the audition] we did this scene about her brother in which she was talking about her brother, and it’s a very emotional scene. As I’m describing the scene to her [Reyes] she began crying […] She was so brilliant.”

The more the cast talked about their film, it was obvious that they were all completely devoted to the film.

“I really don’t feel my age,” said Schwarzenegger when asked about returning to the action blockbuster film after so many years.

“I think it’s because I train all the time, so I’m kind of ready for a movie like that. So I don’t really feel the age in that sense that is old or obsolete. Maybe I’m older, but not obsolete.”

BY LEE JAE-LIM [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr]