While promoting his fireman-takes-on-terrorists actioner COLLATERAL DAMAGE, Arnold Schwarzenegger was unusually forthcoming with details regarding the third installment of the TERMINATOR franchise.
"TERMINATOR 3 is terrific," said Schwarzenegger enthusiastically. "It's coming along and we start shooting it on April 15."
When asked to comment on the status of casting, in particular why Linda Hamilton's character would not be returning, the actor revealed that audiences would indeed see Sarah Conner in the form of flashback footage from the previous two films.
"She is [in the movie], but she is coming back as the past experiences of Linda Hamilton not driving the current story forward," revealed Schwarzenegger. "She is in the movie as flashbacks and stuff like that. But I think [the filmmakers] felt like they did not want to have the exact same cast and have them be limited by the story. But instead, they've taken certain people out and are [of the mindset that], 'Let's assume that [Sarah] has died already and [John Conner] is on his own rather than having still the mother there whining away saying, 'Get it straight. Remember you have to be the savior. And you can't do this and you can't take that drug. What if she is the Terminator?' [Director] Jonathon Mostow was very adamant he wanted the kid now to be 22 or 23, the mother's died and let's move on. Let's have him be on his own. Let's let him have a girlfriend. And let's go to the next level, so that was the idea."
And speaking of the film's director, Schwarzenegger candidly addressed his previous comments about not participating in another TERMINATOR project unless director James Cameron were onboard.
"First of all, Cameron was not interested in doing the movie because he felt like he did not want to tie himself down to any time schedule on any movie," said Schwarzenegger. "He just, as you know, finished shooting the Imax movie and he will be finished this summer editing it. Then he will be thinking about the next thing... whatever that is. He does not know probably nor does anyone else. So when you buy a movie like that, I think you have to move on it because the amount of money you put out is extraordinary. So he said right away, 'No. I don't want to get into that situation.' So the next thing became, 'Let's find someone that is young and that has this young spirit of new ideas and all of that.' And when you saw, U-571 we all felt that Jonathan had the kind of talent and patience and know-how to work with special effects, visual effects and all of that. Then when we met him, it became more and more clear that he has the right personality and calmness to do the film. And he has since then proven that by hiring the best of the best people around him from ILM to stunt coordinators to cameramen. He's been extremely good at prepping the movie and reworking the script and all of that stuff."
Lastly, as for the rumor floating around the Internet stating that Shaquille O'Neal would be participating in the film, Schwarzenegger just laughed it off.
"He is the only one that's saying [he'll be in the movie], right? Shaq. Sheesh."