It’s true. The Terminator will be baaaahck. As reported last weekend on EW.com’s Hollywood Insider blog, Christian Bale has all but finalized a deal to star in the McG-directed Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, part 1 of a brand-new trilogy envisioned by producers Derek Anderson, Victor Kubicek, and Moritz Borman. Bale will play John Connor, leader of the fight against the evil, human-hunting machines. According to Anderson and Kubicek, the movie is set to begin shooting in either Australia or Budapest on March 15, with a budget ”north of $150 million.” What other secrets did they spill? Read on.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: There’s been a lot of conflicting information about Bale’s role in Salvation — including reports that he’ll be playing the Terminator himself. Was this just the rumor mill spinning out of control yet again?
DEREK ANDERSON: There’s a hugely engaged fan base for this mythology. There are over a million fan sites out there. And they’ve been really waiting for this next installment, so as soon as word got out [that Bale was being considered], everybody started speculating: Is he the Terminator? Is he John Connor? Is it a new role that we haven’t seen in the franchise in the past? Where that came from, we’re not really sure. But he was always being considered for Connor.
The other rumor was that Connor was only going to be a supporting role.
ANDERSON: John Connor is an ongoing, very central character throughout the next trilogy.
VICTOR KUBICEK: Exactly. The mythology, really at the root of it, is the birth of the hero. John Connor is this modern-day, messianic figure that is going to lead our franchise forward.
ANDERSON: He’s leading the fight for the salvation of humanity against the machines. So he’s very important.
So he’s the star?
ANDERSON: There’s gonna be another major costar with kind of equal presence in this installment.
And that costar would play the Terminator character?
ANDERSON: Yes…. Well, it’s hard to say. It is a new character introduced in the mythology that’s not replacing Arnold [Schwarzenegger]. It’s not like he’s stepping into Arnold’s shoes. It’s a completely new character.
Okay, but is it a Terminator — a killing machine?
ANDERSON: No, not really. That’s one of the big twists that if we told you —
You’d have to kill me?
KUBICEK: [Laughs] Yes.
ANDERSON: It would ruin the story for you. But there’s an element of humanity to it. It’s a bit different.
Not to beat a dead horse, but is the new figure Connor’s enemy?
KUBICEK: The other lead character is a new figure. [Anderson laughs] And it’s questionable if he’s an enemy or not. That’s not necessarily resolved.
ANDERSON: It’s a really interesting time in the franchise because it’s where all the fans have always wanted the franchise to go, and it hasn’t to date, which is the post-apocalyptic world. It’s after judgment day. So because we’re in a different time in the mythology, it introduces a whole new set of circumstances and characters.
NEXT PAGE: Will the Governator be back after all?
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: All right, easier question: Why Christian Bale for John Connor?
DEREK ANDERSON: Well, he’s a brilliant actor, clearly.
VICTOR KUBICEK: Absolutely, and I think even more, like I said, this is kind of a messianic figure, somebody who’s really complex and unlike a robot. There’s this intense humanity. We feel like he really possesses that.
ANDERSON: He does have that incredible range. He can be that physical active guy that also has a lot of heart. The audience needs to empathize with him. There’s probably not any better actor for that role.
Will Schwarzenegger be returning in any form?
KUBICEK: He may make a cameo.
ANDERSON: It still hasn’t been determined, but if he does, it would be a very small cameo.
That’s a tricky thing, because at this point, you don’t want his presence to be a distraction, right?
KUBICEK: That’s sort of how we feel, though you can’t divorce him from this franchise. He’s a huge supporter of it, and he’s very excited about what we’re doing. It’s for no lack of enthusiasm that we wouldn’t bring him back. But I think we agree with you. This is about the future of the franchise, and we’re really excited to bring in all new elements, while still maintaining the core mythology.
Terminator fans seem to be pretty supportive of the casting of Bale. They’re a little more skeptical about McG.
ANDERSON: People can only speak to the body of work that they’ve seen of his [including Charlie’s Angels and We Are Marshall]. Some people love it and some people don’t. I think one of the things that we’re certain of is, this is gonna be the next step in his career as a filmmaker. He’s bringing all of his past experience and his amazing vision.
KUBICEK: McG is a huge Terminator fan. He is as excited as we are about bringing the franchise into the future. And again, Christian is such a committed, incredible actor. He doesn’t choose the roles he takes lightly. So I think that’s an endorsement of the script and certainly of McG. Somebody like Christian wouldn’t have signed on for a project if he didn’t feel he was in great hands with his director.
Is it odd that Bale will be starring in two iconic, tentpole movies for Warner Bros.?
KUBICEK: No, we’re not really daunted by that because they’re such different movies. This character is unlike anything anyone will see in a Batman picture.
ANDERSON: I don’t think there’s going to be anyone watching Salvation, saying, ”Oh, there’s Batman!” Because Christian does so inhabit the role. And, if you think, Harrison Ford was part of two huge, iconic franchises: Star Wars and Indiana Jones.
KUBICEK: Nobody was too confused about that.