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Feature: Terminator 4

The Terminator Footage

Concept artwork

We join director McG for a first look at one of the biggest films of 2009…

Another Terminator movie? With Christian Bale as the lead? Are you sure? We certainly had that reaction when we heard there was to be a fourth movie in the Sci-Fi franchise that began way back in 1984, and we know we’re not the only ones who were dubious. In fact, director McG (Charlie’s Angels) admits he was also sceptical, when we join him for a screening of footage from the movie.

“I was puzzled by the notion of a fourth Terminator,” says McG, obviously excited to be showing his footage for the first time anywhere in the world. “Why flog a dead horse? James Cameron always maintained he’d told the story after the second movie and I didn’t think it had potential for growth – until I started thinking about what the story could be.”

And the new film does boast an interesting concept. Set post-judgement day – but a decade before the Future visions seen in the first three films – a grown up John Connor (Christian Bale) attempts to motivate groups of survivors into waging war against Skynet, whose Terminators have destroyed most of Humanity. But what of the casting of Christian Bale, which was such a surprise choice for many? McG admits that it wasn’t all that easy to get the Batman star to sign on the dotted line, saying the actor told him in no uncertain terms he wasn’t interested in taking on another big-budget franchise. After McG had pitched his ideas, however, he says that Bale told him that, ‘If you can get the script to a place where it can be read cold on stage and be engaging with no effects, I’ll consider it’.

So McG employed screenwriter Jonathan Nolan (brother of film-maker Chris and writer of The Dark Knight) to turn his ideas into a story, and it worked – immediately after reading the script Bale got on board. The film-maker then collaborated closely with production designer Martin Laing and Special Effects experts the Stan Winston Studio to bring his vision of “a dirty, difficult Future of duress” to life.

And, judging by the footage we’ve seen, these combined efforts look set to breathe life back into the Terminator franchise. Although we can’t give you any specifics, we can tell you that it’s awesome – there’s action, there’s terrifying machinery and, of course, there’s Christian Bale. Based just on the few sequences we were shown, we can safely say that he is no longer Bruce Wayne, he is absolutely John Connor. Equally as impressive are the Terminators; not yet as sophisticated as Arnie’s T800 but devastating nevertheless.

You’ll have to wait until June 5, 2009 to see just what McG’s vision looks like, but rest assured it’s going to be one of the biggest events of the summer. “We’d better kick the shit out of Star Trek,” jokes McG – and it will certainly be a clash of the blockbuster titans that you won’t want to miss.

by Nikki Baughan

Photo © Warner Bros
Feature © Visual Imagination 2008. Not for reproduction

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