Music and a mood-altering substance played a key role in the development of the John Connor character in the Terminator movies, according to franchise mastermind James Cameron.

In an oral history of Cameron's sci-fi blockbuster Terminator 2: Judgment Day published by the Ringer this week, the filmmaker revealed that he got the idea to feature a teenage John Connor — memorably played by Edward Furlong — while listening to a Sting song under the influence of ecstasy.

"I remember sitting there once, high on E, writing notes for Terminator, and I was struck by Sting's song, that [has the lyrics] 'I hope the Russians love their children too,'" Cameron recalled. "And I thought, 'You know what? The idea of a nuclear war is just so antithetical to life itself.' That's where the kid came from."

James Cameron
James Cameron
| Credit: Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images

The song in question, "Russians," hails from Sting's debut solo LP, The Dream of the Blue Turtles. In the 1985 track, Sting addresses the Cold War with lyrics like "In Europe and America, there's a growing feeling of hysteria/Permission to respond to all the threats and the rhetorical speeches of the Soviets."

The specter of total war and nuclear annihilation of course looms large over the Terminator series, which centers on a battle between a ruthless artificial intelligence network and a ragtag human resistance.

A representative for Cameron didn't immediately respond to request for further comment about his remarks.

Related content:

Terminator 2: Judgment Day
  • Movie
  • 137 minutes

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