Comic-Con 08: Awesome Terminator Salvation Updates - Rated R?!
by Alex Billington
July 26, 2008
"This is not the future my mother told me about."
The one and only big and exciting panel today was for McG's Terminator Salvation. Walking in, I was looking forward to something great, but I definitely wasn't expecting what they showed. McG took control of the crowd and in turn I'm certain this is probably going to be the most buzzed about movie coming out of Comic-Con this year. Not only didn't they show us an extended trailer with lots of awesome footage, but McG told the fans everything they wanted to hear and so much more. The biggest news of the day was that McG apparently convinced the Warner Brothers execs to let them shoot it how they want and thus it could end up being rated R in the end! Additionally, McG hinted that Arnold Schwarzenegger's T-800 model Terminator might make an appearance. I must say, this movie is really starting to look great.
McG started off by explaining that they're shooting the film with the "picture first" at all times. And there are two people, two Warner execs, who really care about the rating but he's been given their blessing to make a rated R movie if they shoot it that way. After making that announcement, McG went on to talk more about some details of the film before showing an extended trailer. When asked if we might see Arnold return in it, McG did say that "the 101 model is very much a part of the Terminator mythology" without specifically stating that he wouldn't return. A good sign? Who knows, but it definitely is a strong hint that Arnold (or at least a CGI Terminator based on his apperance) might show up in the movie.
Since Christian Bale couldn't be in attendance, McG called him in Japan (where he is still promoting The Dark Knight) because he promised that the crowd cheer loud enough to convince them to show the clip. McG said that if they crowd didn't cheer loud enough, he wouldn't show it at all. Unfortunately it went straight to voicemail, but he did leave a message and the crowd went wild. All of the footage we saw really didn't have any finished CGI - but that wasn't a problem. Since so much of the movie was shot practically, a lot of it already looked incredible and there was a lot of action (and explosions) anyway. It had sort of a Mad Max feel during some fight scenes in the post-apocalyptic world and around the destroyed 7-Eleven (that we've seen before), but overall it looked amazing. It won't feel like the first three Terminator movies at all, but it will definitely be an awesome movie on its own.
"If you saved us once in another future, you can save us in this one."
If you've seen the teaser trailer, you'll notice that it already has a distinct dull look - as in, it's not overly colorful by any means. McG says they've even shot it with that silver look to make it feel like it's set in that post-apocalyptic time. Terminator Salvation takes place in 2018 in the middle of the on-going war, which is years before anything we've seen in previous years. He confirmed that they've designed vehicles like harvesters, transports, hydrobots, and numerous others. "It's not a clean, comfortable future, it's a different future filled with duress. Machines stop through these landscapes harvesting people for different purposes." That claw that you see come down and grab someone during the trailer is actually one of the harvesters - which, as McG explains, "should speak to the size of the machine."
As for casting, McG explained that they hired Sam Worthington because they "needed someone who could be tough and could stand up to Christian Bale." And Anton Yelchin's role is to take on the character of Kyle Reese as we see him grow and become the character that Michael Biehn played in the first Terminator. Additionally, McG says about other cast that "it's a balanced world and they didn't want a bunch of white people running around calling the shots" - which is why they hired Common and Moon Bloodgood and it's why they play such formidable characters. Moon plays a pilot and her storyline is primaryily with Worthington, involving a relationship, but not that's not the focus by any means. All-in-all, the cast seems diverse and fantastic and one of the stronger points of this production.
I really didn't like the first teaser trailer that much, but the footage I saw today completely turned me around - this is going to be amazing (or so I hope). If you're still concerned, I leave you with this bit of wisdom. As McG explains, they're going to honor the mythology, but they can take a license to tell the most compelling story possible. So throughout the production they've met with everyone, from Arnold to James Cameron and so on, but haven't got too caught up in the timeline of the other movies or even the TV show because they'd rather just tell a good story. Even Sam Worthington chimed in to say that they wanted to take what Cameron's movies said about fate and humanity and increase and expand it in Terminator Salvation. And if that doesn't instill any more confidence in anyone, then there's no hope. However, I know I'm both confident and incredibly excited for this!