Recently, we had the tremendous opportunity to have a rather lengthy and incredibly in-depth one-on-one chat to screen legend, Michael Biehn, spanning his entire career from The Fan, back in 1981, to his forthcoming directorial debut, The Victim (which I hasten to add he’s very excited about).
During the course of the interview, the topic of the Terminator films inevitably arose, with Biehn being kind enough to humour us with his audition story through to his scepticism about initially becoming part of the first film. He was extremely frank in conversation, and as you’ll see below, has taken no involvement in the last two Terminator films at all, through a sheer lack of interest.
Biehn has always maintained the same stance over the years towards the sequels, though, that, if it’s not James Cameron, it’s not Terminator. It’s a stance that has proved justified twice now, despite the very different beasts that Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines and Terminator Salvation are. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who’d champion them as the same, timeless classics that Cameron made.
Michael Biehn talked about how fortunate it was that everyone working on the first Terminator turned out to be immensely talented, back in a time when Arnold Schwarzenegger was mostly known as a bodybuilder and James Cameron only had Piranha 2 to his name. He also mentioned Linda Hamilton’s name in the process, which led to the following conversation:
Talking of Linda Hamilton, I interviewed her about this time last year and she’d obviously had to revisit Sarah Connor for Terminator Salvation. Did you find it strange when … (and I was about to ask how he felt watching Anton Yelchin’s take on his own performance as Kyle Reese, before I thought to ask) … did you see Salvation?
[After a few beats] No.
Oh! [I laugh]
I watched – Salvation was the last one they did?
Okay, well, I was in a hotel room, so I didn’t give it, really, probably a fair chance, because I didn’t see it at the cinema, but first of all, I didn’t see three. Then this is the fourth one with Christian Bale? I watched about twenty-five minutes of it and everything was blowing up, there was all that CGI stuff, I didn’t know who was who, Sam Worthington was walking around the desert and things were blowing up and people were running and the sound was so loud – explosions just everywhere.
I had been watching it for twenty-five minutes and I’d seen nothing but bombs trying to blow people up, and they finally made it to some caves and there were some weird people in caves and I was like, “You know what? I can’t even watch it, man.” And I’m usually a person that can sit through almost any movie. I sat and watched RED the other night all the way through, I watched The American all the way through, just to give you an indication of a guy that will stick with a movie that is not necessarily turning him on. But Salvation, I just couldn’t do it. I just wasn’t interested in it, you know?
And I don’t have any … Christian Bale is a brilliant actor. A lot of great people were involved with it. I don’t have any bitterness towards it. I just wasn’t interested in it.
We’ll have the rest of the interview in full in due course.
Personally, I’m not surprised that, as always follows in the wake of any big movie announcement, the rumour mill has started to spin faster than fact. But I’d be incredibly surprised if years of disinterest from Michael Biehn could suddenly be brushed away, especially when new director, Justin Lin, is no more or less distinguished than McG or Jonathan Mostow were in Lin’s position.
So, if you’re a Biehn fan like myself, I’d most likely not get my hopes up, as ‘inside source’ or not, I’d wager that any involvement offered to him will be turned down, and if that turns out not to be the case, I’ll eat my copy of Timebomb.