Age is just a number, as the, erm, old adage goes. And 72-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger and 63-year-old Linda Hamilton are living proof you are only as old as you feel.
The two stars have reunited for the first time in 28 years on Terminator: Dark Fate, and film critics are saying that Hamilton’s Sarah Connor coming back on screen alongside Schwarzenegger’s Terminator T-800 is the reason why this is the best Terminator film since 1991’s T2: Judgment Day.
OLD IS THE NEW GOLD
“I’ll take it!” Hamilton told CNA Lifestyle with a laugh. “I was really not sure whether I wanted to come back. It was really sort of me coming to terms with the fact that I love Sarah Connor and that I might have something new to say all these years later.”
She added: “As a woman of a certain age, I guess we’re trying to make old the new black, or as you said, old is the new gold! Things are changing.”
Hamilton shared that it took six weeks for her to decide on whether to reprise her iconic role, after ex-husband James Cameron (who directed both the original 1984 Terminator and T2) called her with the offer.
Cameron served as producer and co-writer on Dark Fate.
Indeed a pair with a combined age of 135 years headlining a Hollywood blockbuster is a refreshing change in what many perceive as an ageist industry.
WOMEN AS ACTION HEROES
Schwarzenegger told CNA Lifestyle it’s simply because of Hamilton “setting the standard for what not only women, but also 63-year-old women can do on the screen".
“As you know, Hollywood has always been an interesting combination of a bunch of copycats, as well as people who are very creative and are out there exploring new territory. I think that someone like Linda has really set the bar very high in Terminator 2 and after that, Hollywood has accepted the fact that ‘Yes, women can be action heroes!’”, he said.
“And the trick is just how do you find and cast the right person that is believable. Because it’s easy to just cast a woman that is a big star, but is she really believable?’
“Linda is totally believable and everyone buys into it because she prepares and is prepared for this role,” he added. “She trained every day for one year. And she’s 63 years old! I don’t think there was a woman that ever was such a badass, as Linda Hamilton was!”
Hamilton confessed that while she usually doesn’t have any attachment to the result of her work or films, she “felt a responsibility to the character of Sarah Connor” in Dark Fate.
“I usually just do it to the best of my ability and let it all go. However, I’m lying, because in this film, I actually felt such a responsibility to the character, not so much the fan base,” she revealed. “I didn’t want to show up and let her down. So you know, I don’t particularly care if the film performs, I just want it to be a good film and I think we got that. But there is that pressure of how am I going to be able to do this convincingly and in a way that still has the same impact of our first two films?”
Expectations and pressure aside, Hamilton will be the first to acknowledge she enjoys being where she is at this certain age.
“I have to say that there is the pride of ownership of being a 63-year-old woman,” she said. “I’m pretty unflappable, and it is wonderful to be able to stand my ground, to say no if things don’t feel right and that it’s about absolutely owning myself and standing my ground. And that is inarguably a great equation for being a strong woman in today’s world.”
"I REALLY DON'T FEEL LIKE I'M 72"
Schwarzenegger, too, admits that he doesn’t see himself as a septuagenarian.
“You know I don’t think of myself at that age. I don’t look at it when I work out in the morning, I don’t think I’m 72 when I go skiing and I really don’t feel like I’m 72 when I’m doing a movie. I really don’t pay that much attention to the numbers in the past or in my driver’s licence,” he explained.
For Arnie, it’s all about the age he feels.
“I feel like I’m in my fifties, to be honest with you,” he shared. “I feel great, and as long as the fans want to see me, I will continue to do movies.”
For Dark Fate director Tim Miller, putting two legends together was a no-brainer, regardless of their age. And that’s simply because he’s a self-proclaimed Terminator fan boy.
AN OVERCONFIDENT IDIOT
For Miller, who achieved unexpected success helming the R-rated Deadpool for his directorial debut, taking on the Terminator franchise as his sophomore effort was, in his own words, the decision of an “overconfident idiot”.
He admitted to CNA Lifestyle that he did poke around the fan forums of the beloved 35-year-old franchise, while trying to make a movie with both Arnie and Hamilton on his own terms. But make no mistakes, Miller was very clear about the film he was going to make.
“I cruised fan forums as a fan when I’m interested, but I didn’t cruise them to go ‘What should I do?’”, he shared. “Because I feel like as a real fan, I can avoid the really stupid mistakes that Hollywood makes whether it’s about either trying too hard to service the fans or that you become that director who doesn’t understand the fans or the franchise. Like, if you’re doing it just because it’s a gig? It’s the wrong f***ing choice because you have to love this thing that you’re doing.”
But can a fanboy director love a franchise too much and become too close to the material? Miller says he did have a few of those moments.
“I knew I didn’t want to do any of the ‘Hasta la vista, baby’, or the catchphrases, because they’ve been so overused. And then I thought, well, ‘I’ll be back’ because I love that one!" he revealed.
But Miller knew he had to do it “different” and give it to someone else to say the line. Which is why he gave it to Hamilton’s Sarah Connor in Dark Fate.
“But I didn’t want to do the other ones because I don’t think the fans want that anymore,” he continued. “Maybe there’s a small group that wants that but it feels kind of ‘been there done that’. And so I think I feel like, again as a fan, I have an idea of where that line is between you want to do it because you’re honouring the franchise and not doing it because they want something new. And I felt I could bring something new that those fans would like.”
As expected from any fanboy director worth his salt, Miller had one last revelation. “And yes, there’s also a lot of homages and Easter eggs!”