Is Christian Bale the new ''Terminator''? -- The ''Batman'' actor is in final talks for McG's directed ''Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins''

By Missy Schwartz
Updated December 07, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST

Producers for Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins have confirmed to EW that Christian Bale is in final negotiations to star in a McG-directed reboot of the franchise that made Arnie famous. The first film in a new trilogy will take place in the postapocalyptic future, but Bale will not be playing the titular killing machine. Instead, he’ll star as John Connor, the robot-fighting rebel leader last played by Nick Stahl in 2003’s T3.

Signing Bale is probably the best move producers Derek Anderson, Victor Kubicek, and Moritz Borman could have made. Bale’s already helped revive a beloved property — his brooding, sexy Batman is among the best of the Caped Crusaders. And he’s an actor who conveys intense, complex emotion in every role. Even in 2002’s unintentionally hilarious Reign of Fire, he brought pathos to a character haunted by the death of his mother by a dragon. As for potentially distracting moviegoers by headlining two popular series distributed by Warner Bros., there’s no need for alarm: Those who saw this year’s Rescue Dawn were too awed by Bale’s Vietnam War POW fighting for his life to think, Ewww! Batman is eating worms!

If anything is provoking debate, it’s that when Salvation begins shooting on March 15, the man best known for the vacuous Charlie’s Angels movies will be in charge. But let’s give McG a chance. ”Christian doesn’t choose roles lightly,” says Kubicek, who adds that Schwarzenegger may be baaahhhck in a cameo. ”He wouldn’t have signed on if he didn’t feel he was in great hands with his director.”