It's Not Easy Being John Connor

Illustration for article titled It's Not Easy Being John Connor

Terminator 3 ended with John Connor surviving Judgement Day and stepping up to the plate to offer the other survivors a voice of (semi) authority. So he's all set to take on the mantle of leader of the resistance, right? Er... no. Turns out it's not quite that simple. Premiere magazine visited the set of next May's Terminator Salvation and witnessed some gritty action sequences... and director McG let slip some details about the tough road that John Connor faces trying to be a leader, plus how the movie begins. Spoilers ahead. McG explains:

"The interesting thing about this movie is that Connor comes to be under suspicion. Command will look at him and say, 'How come you keep coming through these things alive? And you know so much about the machines? What is that all about?' And they point a finger at him while the audience is realizing..." and here McG's voice is raised to an indignant shout: "... that is fucking John Connor! If anybody is on the side of humanity, it is this guy!' One thing I learned from Amy Pascal at Sony," he muses, "is make sure your hero deserves all the credit in the world and gets none. And that is John Connor."

Illustration for article titled It's Not Easy Being John Connor

I sort of like that tack, which makes sense after everything Connor's been through. It also reminds me of one of the better Terminator comics, Dynamite's Terminator: Infinity, where Connor is trying to rally the humans after Judgement Day, and he has a Terminator protecting him. Connor can't let the other human survivors realize his "buddy" is a machine, or they'll start mistrusting him. Also, McG told the magazine how his movie begins. John Connor runs up and jumps in his helicopter. He thinks there's a pilot in there, but the pilot is dead with a gunshot wound to the head, thanks to a Terminator. Connor takes the controls of the helicopter and takes off, just as the communication outpost explodes below. It implodes before it explodes, like in a 1960s nuclear test film. The shock wave hits the helicopter, which goes into a flat spin. But Connor finally manages to land it. The camera stays on Connor in his cockpit, and follows him as he crawls out of the crashed bird. "We shift to a steadicam and go with him, arch around until we see the body of the cloud of the explosion behind him, and we register his grief. But before he can do anything about it, he is interrupted by the hand of the Terminator which he landed on on the way in." And then Connor fights the Terminator, in a scene that mirrors his mom's fight against a Terminator at the end of the first movie. He finally destroys the Terminator with a machine gun. Premiere watched the filming of some action sequences, including John Connor jumping off the edge of a destroyed freeway overpass, complete with mangled steel reinforcement rods and exposed water ducts. In another sequence, Connor is joined on the overpass by his resistance fighters, well-built humans wearing "leather chaps, leggings, kneepads, bulletproof vests, sunglasses or goggles, and all toting heavy-fire guns." Terminator 4 sounds very similar to I Am Legend (the good parts) in that McG's team actually painstakingly created the destroyed landscape and post-apocalyptic scenery. It doesn't sound too reliant on CG or fakery, which is promising.

Illustration for article titled It's Not Easy Being John Connor

The magazine also managed to confirm that Marcus Wright, the character played by Sam Worthington, is a member of the resistance who befriends Connor but turns out to be a "decommissioned Terminator." As we've reported before, Wright's last memory is of being on Death Row, and Connor isn't sure whether to trust him. And there's this great quote from McG about why he chose Worthington: "Just wanted a guy who you could hit with a shovel and it would look like he could shake it off. I find that a great many of today's young male actors are pussies. They are waify, and they are all sort of heroin chic." Other tidbits: It's still possible Arnold Schwarzenegger may make a "special appearance" in the film. And Worthington says he wouldn't have done the movie if his main benefactor, James Cameron, hadn't given it his blessing. Also, Worthington says he and the other actors "hound McG all the time" to make the movie's story right, because there's already a Terminator TV show. So why should there be a new movie, unless it's saying something profound? [Premiere]



This actually sounds better than I thought it would.