Terminator co-stars reunite after 28 years
Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger share a genuine affection for each other
After 28 years, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton are reunited in Terminator: Dark Fate.
And this time, it is Hamilton who gets to say "I'll be back".
The sixth film in the franchise, this one has James Cameron returning to produce - his third in the series since 1984's The Terminator and 1991's Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and a direct sequel to those movies.
Cameron and Hamilton's involvement ended with T2, even though there were three more Terminator movies and a TV series after that film.
In Terminator: Dark Fate, which opens here on Oct 24, more than two decades have passed since Sarah Connor (Hamilton) prevented Judgment Day and changed the future, saving humanity.
Now, a new Terminator - a Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna) - has arrived on the scene from the future to target Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes), a girl who lives quietly in Mexico City and whose survival depends on her joining forces with two warriors: Connor and Grace (Mackenzie Davis), an enhanced super soldier from the future.
Connor leads them to the old model T-800 (Schwarzenegger) to help save Dani and, of course, the human race.
It has to be said that what is truly groundbreaking about this movie is bringing back the 63-year-old Hamilton as a kickass action heroine, something hardly ever seen in mainstream action films.
At our interview on the 20th Century Fox studio lot in Los Angeles, the US actress said: "Absolutely no apologies to be this person with this face and with this huge (life) experience behind me.
"I spent the first few months in training thinking if you work just as hard, you are going to get the same results. Doesn't happen. You need hormones to put muscle on so I was like okay, scrap that. And basically I just woke up one day and I said I am not what I was, I am so much more than I was the last time I played her, and I hope that that shows on screen."
There was no slacking off as Terminator: Dark Fate had to be bigger and better than all the others, and Hamilton felt the pace every day.
"Our film is just huge and there were so many huge demands placed on us every day.
"Physically, we are in the air, we are on earth and we are in the water. I mean, we are fighting. It was physically much more demanding, and I really don't think it is because I am 63. It was just like non-stop, everything has grown so large and our job as actors is to try to keep it intact, you know?"
The last time Hamilton had been in touch with Schwarzenegger before this movie was at the Austrian-American actor's inauguration as governor of California in 2003.
"I was amazed when I saw him again how much genuine affection there is between us because of our shared history and because we are still standing all these years later, so it was a joy to work with Arnold again."
STILL THE TOUGHEST
Schwarzenegger, 72, was equally complimentary about their reunion.
"She is still the toughest broad on screen and she is totally believable. She was willing to jump right in there. I've seen her do crazy stuff in this movie.
"She started the movie before I did, and the trainer was telling me, this girl is really tough. He said, 'I had her running for hours on the beach in the sand, I had her train with the weapons, I had her carry the heavy weapons, we went on hikes for two hours at a time with heavy 50-pound (23kg) bags, and she does not give up.'
"And so it was wonderful to see that, and at the same time, she is a sweetheart of a person. I just love her, she is really terrific."
Schwarzenegger has almost 10 years on Hamilton, so the training was harder for the former Mr Universe.
"I am happy that she feels better at 62 than she did at 32, because I am not. It definitely sucks when you get older. I was someone who at any given time bench-pressed 500 pounds, and then all of a sudden, you get to an age where you see your body not be in that shape any more - I get affected by that. I once was at the pinnacle and now I am not.
"So you work with the stunt guys and you do cardiovascular training and weapons training."
He credits director Tim Miller (Deadpool) for the action scenes in the latest instalment that he says breaks new ground yet again.
But he wants everyone to know that what will wow the audience this time is also the emotion of the film.
He said: "I just saw a screening of it a month ago, I had tears in my eyes. And I said, 'Wait a minute, this is the weirdest thing, I know the story', but it was just done so well."
The writer is the chair of the board of directors of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a non-profit organisation of entertainment journalists that also organises the annual Golden Globe Awards.
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