Last July I got to go to the set of “Terminator Salvation”. While there, I not only got to watch Christian Bale fight a Terminator up close, I got to see director McG prove to a lot of skeptical people that he could handle the “Terminator” franchise and return it to greatness. While I haven’t seen the final product, everything I saw in New Mexico looked fantastic, and the scope of the film seemed perfect.
But rather than have me go on and on about the film and what I saw, I suggest watching me say it, as I just posted a new video blog about my adventures on the set of “Terminator Salvation”.
Now let’s get to the reason you’re here.
While on set, I was able to participate in interviews with some of the cast and the one below is with Sam Worthington and Moon Bloodgood.
In the movie, Sam plays a new character named Marcus Wright, and Moon plays Blair Williams – a pilot for the resistance. While Warner Bros. has revealed a lot about Sam’s character in the trailers and TV spots, I won’t say anything except he plays a huge role in the film, and everything rides on his shoulders. It’s also the kind of part that can make a career, if done right.
Anyway, during our short time with Sam and Moon, they talked about their character’s, what it’s like working for McG, how filming has been going, how they prepared for the physicality of the roles, and a lot more. Take a look:
We just saw some footage in McG’s trailer and it’s quite raw. When you first heard about the project and what was told to you about what he wanted to accomplish, what attracted you to being in the film?
SW: He wanted it to be gritty and have a lot of grunt to it as if the post apocalypse had actually happened. And I thought if you can pull that off and that separates it from the others. So he said he wanted it to be like a Mad Max kind of thing. The realism of Mad Max, especially the second one. Which I think is coming across that way. It looks dirty and rough and we’re all covered in blood and shit and that’s a good thing. It’s not fancy and clean, it’s just not. That’s what appealed to me.
Even though we’re dealing with some of the iconic characters from the Terminator series: Kyle Reese and John Connor, it looks like your relationship (Worthington/Bloodgood) is a major component of the film and your identity and searching for who you are and what you are is a big piece of the film. It’s a shift in terms of focus.
SW: I look at it that Marcus’ journey and John Connor’s are running parallel. And if anything I’m a bridge between how Kyle Reese became Kyle Reese and how John—John’s not the leader, he’s learning how to be a leader. So I kind of bridge them. That’s how I look at my character, more of a missing piece of the puzzle that when you go back and watch the first one, you can go “we learned that f*cking shit from Marcus.” Plus it’s a lot less pressure because we’re not living up to anything.
Moon can you talk a little bit about your character?
MB: Yeah, I play Blair Williams, I’m a pilot. And me and Marcus Wright have this really close relationship. I bring him into the resistance. I’m part of the outpost with Kate Connor and John Connor and you see these stories running parallel with each other but then you see these lines and come in together and there’s a little bit of labyrinth. There’s a lot of different focuses and I think it is trying to be different from the first series of Terminators. I think it has its own standout look about it, feel about it. I think its way grittier but I’m such a fan and I don’t think you can ever try to remake what they did in the first three.
Cameron’s films are giant action films but they’ve always been so character driven and he’s always so clear that his people are the focus of the movie and is that still the case with this?
MB: I feel that’s the most important thing with McG and with all of us as actors is that the story, the plot and the characters are really developed and the technology and all that is secondary. It’s really about the human component. How people connect, how people deal with the world. Humanity, that’s a big word we use a lot. What’s Marcus’ humanity? What’s Blair’s humanity? Where does the Resistance stand? Who’s John Connor and what I love about it is that he’s sort of a reluctant hero and he’s not fully devolved. You watch how he has his insecurities and he doesn’t know if his mother was right and doubts are there. That makes it more compelling than “he’s the hero and let’s watch John Connor kick ass.”
We’ve seen some the action set pieces you’ve done, can you talk about the most challenging one you’ve done thus far?
SW: Every single day. I’m getting shot up, blown up, napalmed, maimed, shoot myself, drown. Every single day. This wasn’t in the script I read. (Laughs)
MB: Sam had to do a scene one day where he’s chained up and we all had to watch him. It was so brutal. Just the emotions you saw running in his face, he was vulnerable, he was angry, he was chained up, it was not comfortable. And it was a really long scene and he was a champ about it.
SW: You just dig in and do it, yeah.
How do you prepare yourself physically to do something like this?
SW: You just do it, I suppose. They tell you to run and they blow shit up around you and you run faster.
MB: There were a couple of times were Sam and I were like “You said we can see!”
SW: Yeah, and you can’t see. It is physical but it is a Terminator movie. Even the first two are physical.
MB: Yeah and I work with a trainer and he works with a trainer. Yeah, you can never be prepared. You just sort of show up and go, “What? Okay.” And things are blowing up around you and you’re thinking “God, these shoes just don’t feel like Nikes. I’m having a really hard time running.” But what’re you gonna do, you don’t want to look like a punk and not look like you don’t have it together.
SW: I think because we’re in the age of Bourne Identities where you see Matt Damon doing all this stuff. So as far as I’m concerned if I see a movie and it gets close to seeing a real guy doing it, it’s possible. You know, that’s why they hire a damn Aussie, we’re willing to do anything for a bag of bananas.
We talked about how you were a really big fan of the first two films, did you fight to get this part? How did you get this part?
MB: It was sort of like I came on—not one of the lasts because we just casted Serena—but I sent a tape in, I was doing a movie in Thailand and they were looking for an ethnic, strong character and I think they were having a hard time with it. And I think by the time I came along, I think they’d been through a lot of different people. I couldn’t believe it was off the tape, I was so afraid I was going to get fired. I showed up for rehearsal here and then went back to Thailand and then I came back. They wanted an ethnic, strong—someone who can hold their own with a Sam/Marcus…
SW: This is a world that was created by Jim Cameron with the first two Terminators, these are strong women. He likes all his women strong in his movies so you gotta have someone who can go toe to toe with [anyone] when most women can’t. You know, Moon looks like she can kick ass.
MB: I like to think so.
You have the unique stamp of approval, you just worked with James Cameron on Avatar.
SW: Not only is it a stamp of approval but I better not f*ck up. Otherwise he’ll kill me.
But did he recommend you to McG or bring you to McG’s attention?
SW: McG had heard about us and then I flew to meet McG and we got on. I liked the energy. And I said “If I’m gonna do this I would like Jim’s approval.” So I think McG phoned him up and said “is he a pain in the ass?” Jim said “yes.” (laughs) You know if I’m gonna do it—because it’s a part of Jim’s family, you want to do it with his blessing.
Next year  this will be coming out in May and you have Avatar coming out in December, are you prepared for…
SW: I don’t think anyone can be prepared for that. You just gotta see what happens, won’t we?
What is this film about to you, when you read the script?
SW: Hope. That there’s some kind of hope, even though we can blow the shit out of ourselves. That no matter if you’re black, white, Asian, Caucasian, young, old you can band together and take on a common bully. I like that idea. Don’t really like bullies that much. Machines are big bullies. And I think that’s what its about, for me. You can find the humanity in someone and band together and take on a great evil.
You’re about halfway done shooting now, what’s still the biggest thing you have to accomplish? You have water training don’t you?
SW: Yeah, I did scuba yesterday. Cause they go and drown me. So I get drowned like a big rock. So they want to know that I can at least kind of get through it.
MB: You’re just McG’s little bitch.(laughs)
SW: I said, “yeah, well, I’ll give it a try.” So, I put the scuba in my mouth and figure that out. And some stuff with Serena which should be interesting. I think there’s a lot more. I’m trying to take each day as it comes.
We see some marks on your right ear.
SW: Because I get blown to shit—halfway through you can see half my head’s been blown away—then he gets remade and I wanted something unique, just a small thing. You know, like Roy Batty in Blade Runner has the tattoos on? Something like that. It’s almost like an imprint, like a “Made in Serena’s lab” “Made in Taiwan” kind of thing. So they designed some tattoos and put them strategically in different places around the body and they’re never mentioned. Just something that I wanted. Some kind of detail.
You worked on Avatar and there was probably a lot of looking at green screens. In this film, are you working a lot more with practical effects?
SW: Yeah, it’s a lot more hands on. Any kind of green screen—there’s bits of it obviously but you’re not acting with a tennis ball or anything like that. Occasionally, once or twice, McG has a 30 foot f*cking machine coming after you, but you use your imagination. But McG likes it to be more hands on. And if there’s things blowing up around you, you react, you’re in the moment. So you don’t act, and it’s perfect. You just run and shoot. It’s a lot easier. But Avatar has its own circumstances.
You can both talk a little bit about the benefits and challenges shooting on location here in New Mexico?
MB: I love that it’s the desert and that it gives you this barren feeling when you’re shooting. You look around and it’s dry and it feels like—not post apocalyptic but it feels kind of dead around here. And I suppose we can’t get in trouble because it’s Albuquerque and there’s not much to do. (Laughs) Right Sam?
Some getting in trouble off set?
MB: No, we’re all so tired and like “what’re you doing?” “Oh, I’m gonna go see a movie.” It’s like, what’s there to do in Albuquerque.
Are you filming today?
SW: I’m filming a fight with a T800
Can you tell us what the scene we’ll be watching later will be?
SW: From what I know, I think it’s the end of the fight. I think I’ve been smashed the shit out of, it was a big UFC thing because the fights, I didn’t want them—when you have machine versus machine—I didn’t want it to be all hands and fists, I wanted it to be like you see them in the alleyway where they’re banging each other against the walls and things like that. You got a lot of metal girders there so a lot of girders get smashed and once the T800 pummels the hell out of me, he goes after Connor of course. So I think what you’re seeing is Connor shooting stuff and trying to stop it and then trying to get me going again.
You mentioned in a lot of the film you’re in half makeup, can you talk a little bit about how much time you have to spend in the makeup chair?
SW: The longest is six hours. Which is what we did the other day.
How would you compare you work in Avatar to this as far as challenging and what you’re taking away from each project?
SW: Two different beasts. Two different worlds.
Here you can see stuff pretty quickly, have you seen anything from Avatar?
It must be exciting to see come together then.