The newest entry in the sci-fi action franchise, Terminator: Dark Fate, is a return to the tone of the first films, Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. It draws on many of the same elements from those older movies, including one of their more consistent settings.
Speaking with CBR, Gabriel Luna, who plays new Terminator Rev-9, spoke about the role Mexico has always played in the series, and what it's like to have the film spend so much time there.
Dark Fate opens -- and spends most of the first half of the film -- in Mexico City. Dani (Natalia Reyes) and her brother, Diego (Diego Boneta), are living their lives, working in an auto plant and talking about the possibility of moving to the United States. But then the Rev-9 lands in the city and targets Dani for her future role as a leader of the human resistance against the Terminators.
This section of the film makes Mexico City feel like a lived-in setting. But for Luna, the presence of Mexican settings is an element from the franchise's past that he was happy to see continue.
"It's always been the case with Terminator movies," Luna explained. "I say this all the time, Mexico is a very important place for Sarah Connor. It's where she goes at the end of the first film. After having this crazy ordeal and falling in love, and having her love taken away and having to fight this thing.... The storm is coming and she's driving down to Mexico. Then in the second film, when it came time to regroup and rally to come back to Cyberdine and destroy Skynet, they go down to Baja, they go to T.J. and that's where Sarah carves 'NO FATE' into the table."
Although the franchise has gone to Mexico in the past, none of the movies have spent nearly as much time in the country. "We never spent as much time there as we do in this film," Luna admitted, "which is really awesome. It's also really awesome that they send a Terminator to Mexico City, so he has to look like he can come from there, and that's how I ended up in the movie. It's a nice little benefit."
The film plainly addresses immigration and detention centers, but it doesn't spend much time on the politics of the situation. "They reincorporate a lot of the preexisting condition, but we don't try to harp on it too much. We don't try to take our stance on it, but just show it as it is. People will receive as they may. I think all across the board, we tick a lot of boxes, but not really intentionally. More just because it makes sense in the story."
"A woman of a certain age being the hero, Arnold being 72 and still being able to be a big action hero. And I and Natalia [Reyes] and Diego [Boneta], Latin-American actors... we're there because the film takes part in Mexico City and that is a big part of the film," Luna added. "And also Mackenzie [Davis], all these really great women who are all different. They fit the bill as these great heroes, and Sarah Connor set the mold. It's all there for everyone, and everyone can see an example of themselves on screen, but we didn't try to do it. It was just very natural."
Directed by Tim Miller and produced by James Cameron, Terminator: Dark Fate stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Mackenzie Davis, Gabriel Luna, Natalia Reyes and Diego Boneta. The film is in theaters now.
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