Introducing us to a franchise that has lasted until the present day, The Terminator hit screens in 1984, and it’s still as brilliant today as it was the first time we saw it. Made on a tight budget and making a household name of its Austrian star, James Cameron’s breakthrough movie may have been bettered by its blockbusting 1991 sequel, but the original remains a sci-fi action masterpiece in its own right. Did you know the following 20 facts about The Terminator?
Arnold Schwarzenegger originally auditioned for Kyle Reese
He’s been synonymous with the role ever since the 80s, to such an extent that he was popularly known as ‘the Governator’ whilst serving as Governor of California. However, it wasn’t the title role of The Terminator which Arnold Schwarzenegger was originally up for, but that of hero Kyle Reese.
Sting was also considered for Kyle Reese
Naturally, they wanted a cast that would draw audiences in to see The Terminator – so who better to play the hero than the frontman of The Police, one of the biggest bands in the world at the time? Nor was Sting any stranger to film, having taken a key role in the 1979 cult classic Quadrophenia.
Rosanna Arquette and Bridget Fonda were considered for Sarah Connor
The casting process for the leading lady of The Terminator inevitably brought a few notable performers into the frame, the biggest names among them being Rosanna Arquette and Bridget Fonda. Arquette was in the running shortly before she broke big alongside Madonna in 1985’s Desperately Seeking Susan.
James Cameron sold the project to Gale Anne Hurd for $1
When James Cameron was pitching The Terminator around Hollywood, studios generally liked the script but didn’t like Cameron as director. This is hardly surprising, as all Cameron had done as a director was Piranha II: The Spawning, an ultra-low-budget exploitation sequel he’s long since disowned.
A B-movie legend makes a cameo appearance
Everyone remembers the scene when Schwarzenegger’s cyborg casually enters a strip mall gun store and picks up a lethal arsenal with which to hunt down Sarah Connor. Additionally, a great many of us have thought, “where do I know that guy from?” when we see the gun store owner.
Linda Hamilton broke her ankle before the shooting began
In what might have been a disaster for the low-budget production, Sarah Connor actress Linda Hamilton suffered a broken ankle not long before The Terminator started rolling. Rather than recast the role, Cameron made a slew of eleventh-hour script re-writes to incorporate his leading lady’s condition.
The film was sued for plagiarism
In 1957, science fiction writer Harlan Ellison published a short story entitled Soldier From Tomorrow, which was later adapted into an episode of the TV series The Outer Limits (the episode simply entitled Soldier). The story centres on a warrior from the distant future who is transported back to what was then present-day America.
The studio suggested adding the love story
An integral part of The Terminator is the bond that forms between the distraught Sarah Connor and her guardian from the future, Kyle Reese. It might surprise you, then, to learn that this love story wasn’t part of James Cameron’s original story.
The studio also wanted Reese to have a cyber-dog
Not all the studio suggestions were of quite so much value as the Sarah-Reese romance. Another suggestion made by Orion was that Reese shouldn’t come back from the future alone, but should have a companion – in the form of a cyborg dog.
James Cameron makes an uncredited cameo appearance
Sarah Connor’s night from hell begins as she prepares herself for a night on the tiles in a double date with her best friend and roommate Ginger (Bess Motta) and Ginger’s dim-witted boyfriend Matt (Rick Rosovich). However, this plan goes out the window when Sarah’s boyfriend stands her up with a semi-apologetic message on her answering machine.