8:00am PT by Graeme McMillan
'Terminator': How James Cameron Convinced Linda Hamilton to Return
So, how does one approach one of the leading lights of 1980s action movies and ask them to come back and save the world one more time? If that leading light is Terminator's Linda Hamilton, as well as your ex-wife, the answer is apparently "very sensitively."
Hamilton was married to Terminator creator James Cameron from 1997 to 1999, and in this week's Hollywood Reporter cover story, the director admits he was nervous about asking the actress to return to the franchise.
"Jim was fucking terrified," incoming Terminator director Tim Miller joked about Cameron's first call to Hamilton about returning as cyborg-fighting badass Sarah Connor.
"I was," Cameron responded. "It took me a week just to get up the nerve. No, that's not true. Linda and I have a great relationship."
The reality, Cameron revealed, was that he presented the idea to Hamilton as an opportunity to remind audiences what they were missing. "I called her up, and I said: 'Look, we could rest on our laurels. It’s ours to lose, in a sense. We created this thing several decades ago. But, here’s what can be really cool. You can come back and show everybody how it’s done,'" he said. "Because in my mind, it hasn’t been done a whole lot since the way she did it back in ’91."
Hamilton played Connor in 1984's The Terminator and 1991's Terminator 2: Judgment Day, but like Cameron, did not return for three subsequent films.
That Hamilton is now 61 years old only adds to the appeal of reviving the character for Cameron and Miller. The latter said that it's going to "make a huge fucking statement to have her be the really seasoned warrior that she's become," which Cameron agreed with. "There are certainly plenty of 50-, 60-, 70-something guys out there that just keep cranking along doing action movies and killing bad guys left and right. But there isn’t an example of that for women, and I think there should be," he said.
(For those wondering, Carrie Fisher was 59 years old when she returned in 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens.)
Watch the full conversation with Cameron and Miller here: