McG's "Terminator Salvation" may be opening in under three months, but several key elements remain in limbo. There are the little details, like visual effects, sound and editing, but then there are pressing issues like potential roles for franchise icons Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton.
Addressing a packed Saturday (Feb. 28) afternoon panel at WonderCon, McG teased that one of the central conflicts in "Terminator Salvation" is the development if the T-800 Terminator, a flesh covered robot so realistic that the remaining humans can't tell the difference between man and machine sometimes. McG kidded, of course, that the most famous representation of the T-800 is a certain bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned politician.
After the panel, a group of reporters addressed the issue more directly.
[McG's responses after the bump...]
So is Schwarzenegger going to be in the movie, or not?
"Truthfully, it's not clear. It's not clear. We'll see where we land. He's a very powerful guy, he's got to do what's right for him. You know what would be helpful, is if all of us collectively put a little pressure, a couple e-mails saying, 'Hey, I think it would be a good idea,'" McG joked.
He continued, "I mean, we're not getting any blowback or resistance. You've just gotta respect that the guy's the governor of the State of California and he's gotta go back to his advisors and ask them, 'Hey, is this a good idea?' And you never know if they're gonna go, 'No, we've done the numbers and it seems seems to suggest the people would be uncomfortable if the governor is dabbling...' No, who knows? Who are we to guess?"
The sides are making progress, though.
"He saw the film two days ago and I'm scheduled to see him this week," McG said. "We'll see where we land."
Would the "Terminator Salvation" cameo be a meaningful appearance for Schwarzenegger? Or would it just be a one-shot wink at the fans, a chance for a chuckle?
"There's no chuckle," McG insisted. "There's very few chuckles in this movie. Talk to the hand? Elton John glasses? That's no place in this movie. [Christian] Bale would have lit the set on fire."
And what would Hamilton, who starred in the franchise's first two movies, but was written out of the rarely mentioned third film?
"It was always secret bits and pieces and we wanted to wait until we had a cut of the film to see how we wanted to pepper in the role of Sarah Connor," McG promised. "We want to dance that delicate line between honoring the first two pictures, but by the same token not just getting obsessed with recreating the ideas that were established there, so you've gotta find that balance. So I just think it would be appropriate. If the first movie's about saving Sarah Connor and the second movie's about saving John Connor, our movie's about saving Kyle Reese. Therefore that's sort of the trinity of the Connors. It seems appropriate to have her in the picture in some capacity. We're talking about it right now. Literally. At this minute."
"Terminator Salvation" opens on May 22.