4 Things We Learned at Last Night's 'Terminator' Celebration

James Cameron Gale Anne Hurd The Terminator 30th anniversary
James Cameron Gale Anne Hurd The Terminator 30th anniversary

He always said he’d be back — but at Wednesday night’s 30th anniversary celebration for The Terminator in Los Angeles, titular robot Arnold Schwarzenegger was a last-minute no-show. Ahnold called in sick with the flu. “Machines aren’t supposed to get sick,” he said in a short, apologetic video message, played ahead of a screening of the 1984 film (released on Oct. 26). Fans made due with a crisp, digitally remastered version of the classic sci-fi action movie, followed up with a chat from director-writer James Cameron and writer-producer Gale Anne Hurd. Cameron later jokingly accused the 67-year-old actor, former bodybuilder, and Governator of faking, calling him a “little bitch,” adding, “Terminators don’t get sick. You don’t feel pity or remorse. Or fear. And you absolutely do not stop!”

In addition to Schwarzenegger’s flu, here are three more things we learned at The Terminator fan fête:

1. A lunch bill sealed the deal.

We knew O.J. Simpson was originally considered to play the film’s cyborg killing machine — a turn of events that, according to Cameron, would have left the director “on [his] knees, retching.” Ahnuld was also in the Terminator mix, but for a different part, as he was eyed to play Kyle Reese, the plucky protagonist from the future. Cameron didn’t like that idea, either, but granted Schwarzenegger a lunch meeting with the intention of letting him down kindly. The Avatar director forgot his wallet, so Schwarzenegger — who’d impressed Cameron with his enthusiasm for the script — picked up the bill. “He paid,” said the Oscar-winning director. “That’s how he got the part.”

2. Linda Hamilton powered through like a football player.

Hamilton — who played Sarah Connor, the movie’s ultimate kill target — sprained her ankle days before filming began. Hurd recalled how she took the young actress to a sports doctor who also worked with the Los Angeles Rams. As Hurd remembered, he coached Hamilton as he would any pro player: “I’d just tape her up and send her out there!” Cameron chimed in with a laugh: “That’s what we did. ‘Get out there, Linda. Start runnin’. Here comes the Terminator!’”

3. Cameron finds the sci-fi movie’s darker turns more disturbing these days.

Though Terminator was a huge hit, the director said he wouldn’t make it today: “There was something about the Terminator character… that really struck a chord, which is a dark wish fulfillment for everybody that’s disgruntled and would just like to walk into the room with a flamethrower,” Cameron said. “Unfortunately people actually do that [today]. It wasn’t happening that much… back when we made the film, or I probably wouldn’t have done it.”

The Terminator is available on Blu-ray now.

Photo credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images