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Fight the Future
An Interview with the cast of Terminator Salvation
By Rob Vaux
May 18, 2009
Bryce Dallas Howard made her name in M. Night Shyamalan films such as The Village and Lady in the Water. Moon Bloodgood has appeared in the recent Street Fighter sequel, Eight Below and Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! Common is a Chicago-based rap star who has found great success as an actor, with prominent roles in American Gangster, Street Kings and Wanted. And Anton Yelchin--the baby of the crowd--is just 19, but has already appeared in Taken, Alpha Dog and Star Trek, where he played Pavel Chekov. Together, the quartet forms most of the supporting cast for Terminator Salvation: Howard plays John Connor's wife Kate, Bloodgood plays the love interest of Sam Worthington's conflicted Marcus Wright, Common plays Connor's second-in-command Barnes, and Yelchin plays a (very) young Kyle Reese. All four of them sat down for a light and fun-filled Q&A with the press during the Terminator junket.
Question: What was the attraction of the film for all of you? What drew you to the project?
Bryce Dallas Howard: This is a defining franchise. We're all huge fans of it and all this is really unique. It really captured a certain fear that people were going through twenty years ago. Technology going insane and seeing what the potential consequences of that might be. This story expressed that in a really articulate and compelling way. It's incredible to be a part of something like that.
Anton Yelchin: I've just been a huge fan of the first two films. They had a profound impact on me when I was younger, when I was a small boy. [Smiles.] I'm so much older now. But it was huge. Arnold Schwarzenegger was kind of the archetypal 90s hero. If you're growing up, and you see his films, it has a profound effect on you. To be a part of that, to play someone like Kyle Reese, it was an honor. I was actually touched by the chance to be there. To cock a shotgun one-handed. To say, "come with me if you want to live." It's kind of crazy to go from movies that cost, like, 3 or 4 million dollars to movies that cost 100 million dollars.
Moon Bloodgood: I love sci-fi movies and the first Terminator is kind of like a horror movie as well. To me a great sci-fi movie has elements of horror and suspense. I love anything about the future, about artificial intelligence. I see you guys here typing away on your computers, and I wonder where we're going to be in a few years. Will it be like Blade Runner, with signs in Japanese and all that? I've always felt compelled by those kinds of movies.
Common: To me, this is a part of American film history. To be a part of that legacy, to align yourself with something people might still be watching years from now, that's what I wanted to be associated with. It's great to just go back home and tell my friends, "yeah I'm in The Terminator." For them to see a dude from the south side of Chicago fighting to help save the world on the movie screen, that's unfathomable for them.
Q: What was working with Christian Bale like?
BH: It was an extraordinary experience. He's an incredibly focused, lovely gentlemanly artist.
MB: Hot, funny…
BH: Yeah, unbelievably attractive. That was tough. [Laughs.]
Q: Anton, you've got both Star Trek and Terminator coming out this month. How have you approached those two characters--Reese and Pavel Chekov--who have previously been so closely associated with other actors?
AY: I've been very lucky to play two very compelling characters in two very different films, even though they're both sci-fi. I've been able to find things about these characters that I both admire and find challenging. The process of reinterpreting a character isn't something I've ever done before. It's very surreal. It was really important that I study the earlier performances from Michael Biehn and Walter Koenig. I'd seen T1 a bunch of times, and I re-watched it before we started shooting. I'd come home before specific scenes, and look at certain scenes from the film, and say, "use this for this, use that for this," and so on. You can't imitate, but you do have to draw from the source if you want to evoke the character properly.
Q: Did you have to learn any special skills, training for the action scenes?
MB: We got to go the gun range. [To Yelchin.] Tell them that other story, where I kicked your ass.
AY: Yeah, we were practicing and had a little paintball style game…
MB: And I got you twice.
AY: Yeah. Twice.
Q: Moon, McG mentioned that you had a topless scene which was cut, and that you fought to keep it in on feminist grounds.
MB: [Smiles.] Let me clarify. I wasn't fighting for it. I just don't like to feel that, as a woman, I should be apologetic about my sexuality or that I made a choice because I was forced into it. I thought the scene was appropriate, I thought it was beautiful, and I have a very European attitude towards nudity. As a woman, I just don't ever want to feel like I have to confine myself and be a certain way. Sexuality's a part of me. So I didn't fight for it, but I didn't fight against it. If it's right for the scene, it should go in.
Q: What are your thoughts on nudity, Bryce? Can you talk about it?
BH: About showing my boobs? [Laughs.]
MB: You showed your boobs?
BH: Oh yeah. In a Lars von Trier film. [Manderlay.] I mean, if it's appropriate in a scene. That's what my body is for, to inhabit a character and tell a story. It's a tool. And like Moon said, it's nothing to be ashamed of or fight aggressively for or against. It's a very simple question: does this advance the narrative of the story? If the answer is yes, then sure.
Q: Anton, have you shown your boobs?
AY: All the time.
Stay tuned all week for more Terminator Salvation interviews. Tomorrow's coverage is our sit down with co-star Sam Worthington.