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16 Things You Might Not Know About The Terminator

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The Terminator was released with little promotion on October 26, 1984. James Cameron, its little-known writer and director,  had recently been living in his car, fresh off of getting caught breaking into the editing room of his only other directorial effort, Piranha II: The Spawning. With a production budget of just $6.4 million, it eventually earned over $78.3 million, making it one of the highest grossing movies of the year. On its 30th anniversary, here are some things you might not have known about the movie.

1.THE IDEA FOR "THE TERMINATOR" ALL STARTED WITH A FEVER DREAM

James Cameron had a tumultuous experience making his directorial debut in 1981's Piranha II: The Spawning, but as he once put it, sometimes "nightmares are a business asset." While in Rome for the horror movie's release, Cameron had a fever dream of a "metal death figure coming out of a fire."

2. BUT HARLAN ELLISON LATER SUCCESSFULLY WON AN OUT-OF-COURT SETTLEMENT OVER THE CONCEPT

According to Ellison, The Terminator was a "ripoff" of an episode of The Outer Limits he had written in 1964 titled "Soldier," itself an adaptation of his 1957 short story "Soldier From Tomorrow." Orion Pictures and the outspoken author settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money. Cameron later referred to Ellison as a "parasite who can kiss my ass."

3. JAMES CAMERON SOLD THE SCRIPT TO "THE TERMINATOR" FOR $1

There would never have been any lawsuits if James Cameron didn't take a lot of risks to get the movie made in the first place. As the legend goes, Cameron's agent hated the idea of the film, so Cameron, who was living in his car at the time, fired him. An even more courageous move was Cameron's insistence that he direct The Terminator, despite only having Piranha II: The Spawning on his resume. Instead of simply selling the script that had gotten some production studios' interest for a decent sum, Cameron sold the script to producer Gale Anne Hurd for one dollar, with the stipulation that he be allowed to direct his vision. The gamble paid off in every respect, and when the North American rights to the franchise revert back to him in 2019, that car/apartment will be even more distant of a memory.

4. LANCE HENRIKSEN WAS THE FIRST ACTOR TO DRESS AS A TERMINATOR

Before James Cameron arrived at a pitch meeting with Hemdale Film Corporation producers, actor Lance Henriksen made an impression by kicking open the door and acting as the title character while wearing a leather jacket with gold foil smothered on his teeth. The performance was so believable that the secretary dropped her typewriter onto her lap. Henriksen would play Detective Hal Vukovich for his trouble.

5. THE STUDIO WANTED THE HERO TO HAVE A CYBORG DOG SIDEKICK

Because of the paltry $6.4 million budget, Cameron was mostly left alone by his financiers, Hemdale and Orion Pictures. Mostly. Hemdale's John Daly one request was for Cameron to cut out the striking final images of the movie in the factory, which earned him a '"F*** you! The film isn't over yet" in response. Cameron was a little more receptive to Orion's two suggestions, and supposedly less colorful in his responses. The first was to "strengthen the relationship" between Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor, which was a note that Cameron took. The other was for Reese to have a cyborg canine companion. That sadly did not happen.

6. THE STUDIO ALSO WANTED O.J. SIMPSON TO PLAY THE TERMINATOR

It's been bouncing around the Internet for so long that you probably think it's an urban legend, but Orion co-founder Mike Medavoy even admitted a few months ago that he had strongly suggested O.J. Simpson for the part of the title role, and Cameron dismissed the thought because Simpson came off as too nice of a guy.

6. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER WAS INITIALLY GOING TO PLAY KYLE REESE

When James Cameron went to have lunch with Schwarzenegger to discuss this, he had a change of heart and asked if he would consider playing The Terminator instead, after Schwarzenegger kept telling him how he thought the T-800 should act. Even though he had a lot of opinions on the character, Arnold initially didn't like the idea of playing the villain, having just found success playing the heroic Conan in Conan the Barbarian, but eventually agreed. The awkwardness returned at the end of the meal, when Cameron realized that he had forgotten his wallet.

7. STING WAS OFFERED $350,000 TO PLAY KYLE REESE

At the time, Sting was still playing bass and writing songs for The Police, and was committed to star in Dune. Another musician, Bruce Springsteen, was considered, even though he had no movie acting experience, as well as Matt Dillon, Kurt Russell, Tommy Lee Jones, Mickey Rourke, Michael O'Keefe, Scott Glenn, Treat Williams, Christopher Reeve, and Mel Gibson. Bruce Willis was another young actor viewed as the potential good guy cyborg that didn't get the part. Jai Courtney, the actor who played Willis' son in A Good Day to Die Hard, will play Kyle Reese in The Terminator reboot Terminator: Genisys.

The role of Kyle Reese went to Michael Biehn, despite disappointing producers by using a Southern accent in his initial audition. Once his agent explained to the producers that the accent came from practicing for a part on a Cat on a Hot Tin Roof stage production which he didn't even get, Biehn got another shot and won the part.

8. THE PRINCIPAL ACTORS HAD DOUBTS ABOUT THE MOVIE

According to Nigel Andrews' book, True Myths of Arnold Schwarzenegger: The Life and Times of Arnold Schwarzenegger, from Pumping Iron to Governor of California, while being interviewed on the set of Conan the Destroyer, Schwarzenegger referred to The Terminator as "some shit movie" he was doing. Linda Hamilton admitted that she was "a little snobby" and had Shakespearean aspirations for her career, and had doubts about the movie she was about to do. When Michael Biehn told his actor friends he was doing a movie with Schwarzenegger, they sarcastically told him, "Well, good luck with that."

9. SCHWARZENEGGER TRIED TO CHANGE THE LINE "I'LL BE BACK"

Thinking he had trouble pronouncing "I'll" properly, Schwarzenegger asked James Cameron if he could say, "I will be back" instead, with the reasoning being that The Terminator would not speak in contractions. After Cameron shot back with, "I don't tell you how to act, don't tell me how to write," he assured his star that they will shoot ten takes and pick the one that sounded best. In Shawn Huston's novelization of the film script, the line is "I'll come back."

10. SCHWARZENEGGER ONLY HAS 58 SPOKEN WORDS IN THE MOVIE

Technically, The Terminator says more than Arnold's 17 sentences, but one is an overdubbed voice of a cop, and the other is in Sarah Connor's mother's voice, when the Terminator was trying to trick her.

11. LINDA HAMILTON BROKE HER ANKLE BEFORE SHOOTING

To work around this, all of the scenes where Sarah Connor runs from The Terminator were shot at the tail end of the shooting schedule. In one draft of the screenplay, Cameron wrote that Connor had an old figure skating injury that required surgical pins in her tibia. When the T-800 kills the first two Sarah Connors, he cut their legs open to look for the surgical mark. This was taken out of the final cut.

12. YOU CAN ACCESS THE TERMINATOR'S POINT OF VIEW IF YOU STILL HAVE AN APPLE II

If you own an Apple II, and you enter "] call -151 *" p at the basic prompt, you get The Terminator's view.

13. IN POLAND, THE FILM WAS RELEASED AS "THE ELECTRONIC MURDERER"

The Polish word for "terminator" loosely translates to "apprentice," which doesn't really capture the essence of what James Cameron and company were going for. When the movie became popular in Poland, the subsequent films stuck with the original titles.

14. THE LOW BUDGET CAUSED A LOT OF PHYSICAL PAIN FOR THE CREW

When The Terminator's hand is getting pummeled by a lead pipe by Kyle Reese, it was Tom Woodruff Jr., who worked special effects, allowing his hand to get the beating of a lifetime. Naturally, he lost feeling in his fingers. As a reward, James Cameron sent him a Christmas card that read, "Merry Christmas. Hope the feeling comes back to your fingers someday.”

15. DAVID HYDE PIERCE HAS REPEATEDLY DENIED THAT HE IS IN THE MOVIE

IMDb still lists David Hyde Pierce's first role as the co-driver of the tanker truck hijacked by The Terminator, even though the actor has gone out of his way to point out that it was a different actor with the name David Pierce.

16. THE TEASER TRAILER WAS NARRATED BY THE VOICE OF OPTIMUS PRIME

Peter Cullen was the original voice of Optimus Prime, and reprised his role for the new Transformers movies. Cullen has range—he also was the voice of Eeyore from 1988-2010.

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10 Badass Facts About Jason Statham
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Jason Statham is one of the preeminent action heroes of a generation—some would say he’s our last action hero. On the screen, he's been a hitman, a transporter, a con man, a veteran, and a whole host of other unsavory, but oddly endearing, tough guys. Before he stepped foot on his first movie set, though, Statham had a past life that would rival any of the colorful characters he’s brought to the screen. To celebrate his 50th birthday, we’re digging into what makes this English bruiser tick with these 10 fascinating facts about Jason Statham.

1. DIVING WAS HIS FIRST CALLING.

Before becoming a big-screen tough guy, Jason Statham exuded grace and fluidity as one of the world’s top competitive divers in the early 1990s. He spent 12 years as part of the British National Diving Squad, highlighted by competing in the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand.

Though he was an elite diver, Statham never qualified for the Olympics, which he admits is still a “sore point” for him. "I started too late," he has said of his diving career. "It probably wasn't my thing. I should have done a different sport."

2. HE DABBLED IN MODELING.

With his diving career over, Statham entered the world of modeling for the fashion company French Connection. If his rugged image doesn’t seem to naturally lend itself to the world of male modeling, that was exactly what the company was going for.

“We chose Jason because we wanted our model to look like a normal guy," Lilly Anderson, a spokesperson for French Connection, said in a 1995 interview with the Independent. "His look is just right for now—very masculine and not too male-modelly."

3. HE DANCED HALF-NAKED IN A COUPLE OF MUSIC VIDEOS.

A word of warning: The internet never forgets. Back in 2015, two ‘90s music videos went viral—“Comin’ On” by The Shamen and “Run to the Sun” by Erasure—and it’s not because the songs were just that good. It’s because both videos featured a half-naked, and quite oily, Jason Statham curiously dancing away in the background.

Both make liberal use of Statham’s lack of modesty, which is a far cry from the slick suits and commando gear we’d later see him sporting in The Transporter and Expendables series. So which one is your favorite? Leopard-print Speedo Statham from “Comin’ On” or his Silver Surfer look from “Run to the Sun”? And no, “both” isn’t an option. (Though “neither” is acceptable.)

4. GUY RITCHIE CAST HIM BECAUSE HE WAS SELLING KNOCKOFF JEWELRY AND PERFUME ON THE STREET.

After years of high dives, modeling, and pelvic gyrations, Statham was still looking to make a real living in the late ‘90s. His next odd job? Selling knockoff perfume and jewelry on London street corners. Luckily, that type of real-world hoodlum was exactly what director Guy Ritchie needed for 1998's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Ritchie was introduced to Statham through his modeling gig at French Connection and saw the potential this real-world con man had for the movie. He wrote the role of Bacon specifically for Statham, which would end up being the movie that propelled him to Hollywood stardom.

5. JOHN CARPENTER WANTED HIM AS THE LEAD IN GHOSTS OF MARS.

Though Statham gained acclaim for his role in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, he wasn’t quite a leading man yet. Director John Carpenter wanted to change that by casting him as James “Desolation” Williams, the main character in Ghosts of Mars.

While Carpenter was convinced that Statham was ready for the role, the producers weren’t. They pushed the director to cast someone with more name value, eventually settling on Ice Cube. Statham stayed in the movie in a smaller role as Sgt. Jericho Butler.

6. HE REGULARLY DOES HIS OWN STUNTS.

Jason Statham in Wild Card (2015).
Lionsgate

In addition to being in impeccable shape, Statham also takes pride in doing many of his own stunts in his movies, from hand-to-hand combat to dangling from a helicopter 3000 feet above downtown Los Angeles. In fact, he’s almost dogmatic in his belief that actors should be doing their own stunts.

“I'm inspired by the people who could do their own work,” the actor said. “Bruce Lee never had stunt doubles and fight doubles, or Jackie Chan or Jet Li. I've been in action movies where there is a face replacement and I'm fighting with a double, and it's embarrassing.”

The worst offenders? Superhero movies. And Statham isn't shy about sharing his thoughts on those:

"You slip on a cape and you put on the tights and you become a superhero? They're not doing anything! They're just sitting in their trailer. It's absolutely, 100 percent created by stunt doubles and green screen. How can I get excited about that?"

7. FILMING EXPENDABLES 3 ALMOST KILLED HIM.

For all the authenticity that Statham likes to bring to the screen by doing his own stunts, sometimes things don’t go according to plan. While filming an action scene for Expendables 3, the brakes failed on a three-ton stunt truck Statham was driving, sending it off a cliff and into the Black Sea.

If you've ever wondered if the real Statham was anything like the movie version, his underwater escape from a mammoth truck should answer that.

"It's the closest I've ever been to drowning,” Statham said on Today. “I've done a lot of scuba diving; I've done a lot of free diving ... No matter how much of that you've done, it doesn't teach you to breathe underwater ... I came very close to drowning. It was a very harrowing experience."

8. HE PRACTICES A RANGE OF MARTIAL ARTS.

Statham’s fitness routine is about more than just weights and core work. The actor is also involved in a variety of different fighting disciplines like boxing, judo, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Out of everything he does to stay in shape, it’s the martial arts that have the been most helpful for Statham’s onscreen presence. “That’s what I have to give most of my time to these days: training for what I have to do in terms of providing action in an authentic manner," he told Men's Health

Statham is not alone in his passion for martial arts; director Guy Ritchie is also a black belt in jiu-jitsu and a brown belt in karate. When Men’s Health asked Statham if the two ever sparred, he responded, “I remember when we started out, we’d go on a press tour for Lock, Stock… and we’d be moving all the furniture out of the way in the hotel room, trying to choke each other out.”

After all, what are collaborators for?

9. HE’S WELL AWARE SOME OF HIS MOVIES HAVE BEEN DUDS.

When asked by Esquire if he ever watched one of his movies during the premiere and thought "Oh, no ...," his response was a very self-aware: "Yeah, I think I've said that more often than not. Yeah."

He went on to rattle off his Guy Ritchie movies, The Bank Job, Transporter 1 and 2 (not 3), and Crank as being among his favorite films. As for the others, the actor joked, “And the rest is sh*t."

He clarified that remark as a joke and said, “I mean, you do a lot of films. You're always aiming for something and trying to push yourself to do something good.”

He then compared his work to the inner workings of a watch, saying, “A movie, it's like a very complicated timepiece. There's a lot of wheels in a watch. And some of those wheels, if they don't turn right, then, you know, the watch ain't gonna tell the time."

10. HIS MOVIES HAVE MADE MORE THAN $1.5 BILLION IN THE U.S. ALONE.

Statham's films may have a tough time impressing critics, but audiences and studio executives can’t get enough. Taken as a whole, Statham’s filmography has raked in just a touch more than $1.5 billion in the United States, with the worldwide total standing at $5.1 billion.

A lot of this is due to his more recent entry into the Fast and Furious franchise, but he’s also had seven movies cross the $100 million mark worldwide outside of that series. This isn’t an accident; Statham knows exactly what type of movie keeps the lights on, as he explained in an interview with The Guardian.

“So if you've got a story about a depressed doctor whose estranged wife doesn't wanna be with him no more, and you put me in it, people aren't gonna put money on the table. Whereas if you go, 'All he does is get in the car, hit someone on the head, shoot someone in the f*cking feet,' then, yep, they'll give you $20 million. You can't fault these people for wanting to make money.”

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The 5 Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix Right Now
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Nicolas Cage stars in Knowing (2009).
Vince Valitutti/Summit Entertainment

If you’re in the mood for some speculative fiction and your pile of Arthur C. Clarke books has been exhausted, you could do worse than to tune in to Netflix. The streaming service is constantly acquiring new films in the sci-fi and fantasy genres that should satisfy most fans of alternative futures. Here are five of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix right now.

1. THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951)

If any film stands as a proper influence on The Twilight Zone and its use of science-fiction and fantasy to mask political and civil issues, it’s The Day the Earth Stood Still, a Cold War-era parable about an alien named Klaatu who arrives on Earth carrying a warning about warfare. Naturally, all humans want to do is shoot him.

2. METROPOLIS (1927)

Inspiring everything from Star Wars to Lady Gaga, Fritz Lang’s silent epic about a revolt among the oppressed people who help power an upper-class city remains just as visually impressive today as it did nearly 100 years ago.

3. TROLL HUNTER (2010)

A Norwegian fairy tale with bite, Troll Hunter follows college-aged filmmakers who convince a bear trapper to take them along on his exploits. But the trapper fails to disclose one crucial detail: He hunts towering, aggressive trolls.

4. KNOWING (2009)

The histrionics of Nicolas Cage: You either like them or you don’t. Knowing is Cage at half-caf: While he enjoys a few meltdown scenes, he’s largely reserved here as an astrophysics professor who stumbles onto information that could herald the end of the world.

5. THE HOST (2006)

A slow-burn monster movie from South Korea, The Host has plenty of tense scenes coupled with a message about environmental action: The river-dwelling beast who stalks a waterfront town is the product of chemical dumping.  

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