|“Terminator Salvation” opens May 22|
McG isn’t starring in “Terminator Salvation,” but you wouldn’t know it based on his showmanship at the New York Comic Con spotlighting the new installment of the Terminator franchise. The chatty director showed all-new footage from “Salvation” and interacted with the fans on a wide variety of topics.
McG acknowledged that a fourth Terminator film could conceivably be a disaster, which is precisely why he assembled a collective of geek-friendly talent to lend credibility to the project. McG name-dropped star Christian Bale, writer Jonathan Nolan, composer Danny Elfman and special effects guru Stan Winston. McG plans to dedicate “Terminator Salvation” to Winston, who died last year.
At around the four-minute mark, McG experienced a few sound problems that provoked one audience member to evoke Christian Bale’s now infamous tantrum, yelling, “That’s fucking unprofessional!” McG rolled his eyes and chuckled a little, knowing the topic was going to come up again later. He then decided to rally up the Bale sympathizers by giving a call to Christian’s home phone number. Though the actor was unavailable, Christian’s wife answered the phone and thanked the audience for their uproarious support.
About 10 minutes into the panel, McG premiered exclusive, never-before-seen footage from “Terminator Salvation.” The clips provided the first good look at Anton Yelchin’s performance as Kyle Reese, a role that is shaping up to be very substantial. Some other highlights included the revelation of Terminator-run human internment camps, a photograph of Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor and, perhaps best of all, the inclusion of actor Michael Ironside (“Starship Troopers”) as the leader of the resistance. The action-heavy montage indicated the film’s focus on the creation of the T-800 model that could potentially end humanity once and for all.
Following the footage, McG turned his sights on the audience for questions. Regarding the recent controversy over Christian Bale’s vulgar assault on director of photography Shane Hurlbut, McG said, “Christian’s taken responsibility for the way he acted. As a matter of fact, he and Shane are buddies and they finished the movie together.”
|Scene from “Terminator Salvation”|
“I think I can speak on all of our behalves that we all got a little fired up,” McG continued. “For anybody to take that moment and take it out of context, it would seem very strange … but it really wasn’t as big of a deal as you [the public] want.”
As to whether the film will deal with the continuity from “Terminator 3” or just the first two movies, McG said, “We do honor Judgment Day as articulated in ‘T3.'”
McG acknowledged what he called his own “bullshit,” specifically the baggage of his past work on the “Charlie’s Angels” franchise. “Listen, I hate McG too,” he said to laughs. “I got started making ‘Charlie’s Angels’ movies, which is not in keeping with the Terminator idea. But we all look for a break. As a filmmaker, you do what you gotta do. And all I wanted to with those movies was to go up there on the ceiling of ‘Hey, you can’t have a successful female action franchise,’ and in that respect I stand by those movies completely.
“Now I’m here, I’m hoping as a filmmaker who has grown, in a genre that I’m frankly most comfortable being in, and a genre I grew up worshipping.”
Regarding a potential appearance by series veteran Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, McG stayed mum. “Perhaps in my not answering the question, there’s a small answer hidden within,” he said with a smile. “Who likes Sarah Connor out there?” After hollers of approval, he said, “This whole movie is about the fundamental triangle of Terminator. Kyle Reese must go back [in time], ultimately impregnate Sarah Connor to give birth to the one, John Connor, from the brink. Naturally, [Sarah’s] a leg in that triangle. One can imagine she plays an important role in this picture.”
On whether the movie will acknowledge Fox’s television series “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” McG said, “Chasing those storylines would be counter-productive.”
|Scene from “Terminator Salvation”|
About Kyle Reese, McG hopes to answer some of the finer details, such as Reese’s handiness with a shotgun and his famous line that “pain can be controlled – you just disconnect it” from the first “Terminator.”
“You see the genesis of all these things in this film,” said McG. “Hopefully there’s enough in here for the hardcore [fans] that they’ll feel honored.”
As to the role of the T-800, the Terminator model portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, McG likened the threat to finding nuclear tipped rockets in Nazi Germany. “It’s a game changer,” he said.
Teasing the appearance of Schwarzenegger, McG said, “The T-800s as we know them look like Arnold. The T-800s play a huge role in this movie. I can’t quite tell you how we express that.”
McG then discussed how the Terminator franchise is always pushing the lexicon of visual effects, citing Robert Patrick’s exploding head in “Terminator 2” as an example. For his film, McG and his visual effects department are trying to utilize new technology with respect to the T-800, implying strongly that he’s trying to capture Schwarzenegger’s likeness. “I will hint at this: I don’t want today’s Arnold Schwarzenegger,” McG announced to the delight of the crowd. “We’ll see what we can do about that.”
“Terminator Salvation” hits theaters May 22, 2009.