CBR’s Jonah Weiland welcomed producer Gale Anne Hurd to the world famous CBR Yacht at Comic-Con International to talk about what’s next for AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” thirty years of “The Terminator” and more. Hurd discusses the uphill battle she and director James Cameron faced when trying to get “The Terminator” made, why some people still don’t believe a female lead can work in an action movie and why there aren’t more women working in Hollywood. She also talks about the upcoming fifth season of “Walking Dead,” why it should make readers of the comic book very happy and teases another upcoming TV adaptation with acclaimed writer Warren Ellis.
On the perception that action movies with female leads don’t work and the many rejections “The Terminator” faced along the way: I wonder, the people who were competing against “The Hunger Games,” what they felt their box office might have been if they had actually starred a woman in theirs.
We got ninety-nine rejections [on “The Terminator”] and then the hundredth person said yes. … When we pitched “The Terminator,” obviously we didn’t call it “The Sarah Connor.” It was important for us to get a box office name to star in the film, and it was great to be able to say “Arnold Schwarzenegger in ‘The Terminator'” since he had been huge in “Conan the Barbarian.” But truly, as you said, the story of the character in the film that we’re following is the character of Sarah Connor.
On whether “Terminator” would be as tough a sell today as it was thirty years ago: Well, if Jim Cameron were directing it, probably not. [Laughs] But back then, Jim Cameron wasn’t Jim Cameron, he was the director of “Piranha 2: The Spawning.” … Salt water piranha that fly.
On why men still outnumber women in the film industry: There’s always been an old boy’s club in film, even when there are studios that are run by women. I think it’s because the feature film business is not an expanding business, it’s a contracting business. Fewer studios, fewer movies getting distributed. And when there’s fear the last people in, which are women, are the first people to be kicked out.
On her favorite moment from making “The Terminator”: I’d have to say the moment when Sarah Connor realizes she can do it on her own; that Kyle Reese is dead, he’s not gonna save her. She’s not the girlfriend, she’s not the victim. She has to be the heroine. So she’s being pursued by that torso of the Terminator in the canning factory and she gets to say — “You’re terminated, fucker.” And she’d earned the right to say that and to do it on her own.
On why comic readers can look forward to “The Walking Dead” Season 5: The great thing is that our showrunner, Scott Gimple, was a fan of the comic book and then a fan of the TV series, but first he looked at the comic book as the holy grail. We’re able to come back and follow certain of the paths and introduce some of the characters [from the comics] including Father Gabriel, so he’s going to be a fairly significant presence. Once again, we went to our favorite well to hire from, “The Wire,” Seth Gilliam.
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