McG on ‘Terminator Salvation’

May 22nd is no longer that far away. In fact, at the pace the first month of 2009 just whipped by it feels as though Terminator Salvation is just around the corner. I must admit that I had my doubts about this picture, I’m sure, along with every other Terminator fan once McG was announced as director.

Terminator Salvation Models

Thankfully, a very passionate McG swayed me to the positive side of things at Comic-Con during the T4 press conference. Now, he’s showing off more of the movie to press, which I missed his Toronto stop, and more recently to a combo of fans and press at the Director’s Guild of America screening room.

Wired was there and provided a very interesting write up which serves a nice making-of / pre-prod view, if you will, of how McG approached the franchise including securing Bale, the look, and more. The article also contains several piece of concept art and film stills some of which we’ve included below.


Post-Apocalyptic Cinematography: “We talked to the people who monitored Chernobyl about what the world would sound and look and taste and feel like after the bombs have gone off,” said McG. “Then we got a dead Kodak stock. We baked it in the sun a little bit too long to damage the film, and then we shot on uncorrected Panavision lenses that flare more easily and aren’t quite as sharp as Primo lenses but have an interesting patina. Most importantly we added three times as much silver in the processing than one traditionally would to a color stock. Add it all up and you get this otherworldly, desolate feeling.”

Terminator Factory

The Quest for Credibility: “To get some credibility back into the Terminator mythology, we had to show the fans we really mean business by getting a great John Connor,” McG said. “To me the choice was very simple: Christian Bale.”

Bale Just Says No: “I met Bale at a pub in England while he was shooting Dark Knight,” McG said. “He said, “I’m not interested in action, I’m not interested in pyrotechnics, I’m interested in story. If you can get the script to a place where actors on stage could just read it, naked, and it would be compelling for two hours because the characters change and evolve, then we’d have something to talk about.” We had a respectful conversation, I gave him Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? to read but his answer was: “Until it’s on the page, I’m not doing it.”

Bale Stares Down Worthington

Connor’s Story: “John Connor doesn’t come into the picture saying, ‘Follow me and everything’s going to be cool,'” said McG. “He’s just one of many soldiers when we meet him. It’s like [Spider-Man] where you’re Peter Parker: ‘Hey I’m just a lowly high school photographer,’ and he learns with great power comes great responsibility. Or the hacker [in The Matrix]: ‘They call me Neo, who cares?’ ‘quot;No man, you’re the one, you’re going to lead us!’ Of course Luke Skywalker, on and on, all those Joseph Campbell archetypes. So this is the story of how John Connor becomes leader of the resistance. He has to earn it.”

Read the rest over at Wired.

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