McG has given a revealing interview to Film Journal in which he discusses the involvement of James Cameron in Terminator: Salvation, his own chops as a director and what lies ahead for the franchise under his control.
Commenting on his relationship with James Cameron over the making of the film, he describes a meeting between the two during which mutual ground was established, noting a joke between the two that Cameron would reserve the right to dislike Terminator: Salvation and that McG would reserve the same right to hate Avatar.
Further to that, McG compares himself to Cameron in terms of the lack of films the latter had under his belt when he took on Aliens after Ridley Scott’s classic original. He says Cameron “went on to talk about how when he was making Aliens, everyone thought he was full of shit. Like ‘Who does this guy think he is, following Ridley Scott?’ Remember, he had only made a few films by that time”.
Encouragingly for the Terminator film though, McG acknowledged the view of him in the wider film world and goes on to talk about his desire to use practical effects in the new film.
On the perception of him:
“…if you look at my body of work, I fit into a box that’s not conducive to a great take on Terminator. So I can’t expect people to cut me any slack. But I know in my heart these are the films that are closest to me. I was raised on films like Terminator, Die Hard and The Road Warrior. I think intelligent action films represent the magic of movies at a very high level and I’m thrilled to throw my hat in the ring and be part of it. By now, I feel like I’ve pushed enough film through the camera to take this one responsibly and deliver. And with the help of Christian, Jonah and Stan, I think we’ve done it.”
On his use of practical special effects for the action in Terminator:
“I wanted all of the action based in reality with a respect for physics and I wanted it to have a tactile reality for the audience. That’s why we did so much practically, to really convey the difficulty of a world under duress. I didn’t want clean, shiny Logan’s Run Terminators. I wanted Children of Men/Mad Max Terminators.”
What has set things alight online however is his discussion of plans for future instalments in the series if he gets his way. On this, McG says:
“I strongly suspect the next movie is going to take place in a [pre-Judgment Day] 2011,” McG reveals. “John Connor is going to travel back in time and he’s going to have to galvanize the militaries of the world for an impending Skynet invasion. They’ve figured out time travel to the degree where they can send more than one naked entity. So you’re going to have hunter killers and transports and harvesters and everything arriving in our time and Connor fighting back with conventional military warfare, which I think is going to be fucking awesome. I also think he’s going to meet a scientist that’s going to look a lot like present-day Robert Patrick [who famously played the T-1000 in Terminator 2], talking about stem-cell research and how we can all live as idealized, younger versions of ourselves.”
Everything still sounds pretty encouraging for this at the moment and, after his warming desire to use practical effects over CGI and blue-screen, I can’t help but want this to succeed. The ideas all seem right, let’s just hope his execution is spot-on too.