Common, Yelchin, Howard and Bloodgood on Terminator

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In addition to talking with Christian Bale and Sam Worthington about their roles in Warner Bros.’ Terminator Salvation, ComingSoon.net also chatted with Common, Anton Yelchin, Bryce Dallas Howard and Moon Bloodgood about the anticipated film.

Q: Anton, how did this compare to being on the bridge of the Enterprise?

Anton Yelchin: It’s very different. They’re both kind of really incredible to be a part of and experience and to be on the sets is just insane. They’re both iconic franchises but two totally different moods and philosophies, really. So, it was pretty wonderful to go from one universe into a totally different universe. Even though they’re both science fiction, the two of these couldn’t be more different in tone, in understanding of the world they describe.

Q: Moon, McG has said that if L.A. were nuked, you’d be the last woman standing. So what did he see in you to merit that?

Moon Bloodgood: I think he’s implying that there’s a toughness, a confrontational side? Right guys?

Bryce Dallas Howard: She’s a survivor.

Bloodgood: There you go. I’m a survivor. I didn’t know he said that. I think there’s a tomboy side.

Howard: I’d be the first to go. [laughter]

Bloodgood: You would talk them down. “Are you sure you wanna to do that?” [laughter]

Q: Were you all fans of the franchise?

Common: I was a fan. I wasn’t a fanatic to the point where I knew everything in and out about the Terminator. I thought they were good movies. The first and the second one I really enjoyed those. I went back and watched them and appreciated them seeing them recently. I wasn’t the guy wearing the “I’ll Be Back” T-shirt but I was into it. I thought it was cool.

Yelchin: I wasn’t around in ’84 when the first one came out. I was actually a huge fan. I think I saw them way too early. I saw “T2.” It came out in ’91 or ’92. I probably saw it on TV a couple of years after that so I was four or five when I saw it and I was so into it. I was obsessed with it and I saw “T1” shortly after. I made my parents rent it. I was obsessed. I even re-enacted the final scene from “T1” in elementary school. I tried to get this girl to say “die, f*ckin” robot’ or whatever [Linda Hamilton] said. [laughter] And she was like, “No, I’m not saying that.” “It’s Terminator. You’ve gotta do it. You can’t mess around with the movie.” So, I was obsessed. I didn’t have a T-shirt either but I had all the action figures. I had a Terminator factory that made gelatin Terminators. They put one out and I had it. At some point I had a model that I got at Universal CityWalk. That was a big deal. So, yeah, I loved it.

Howard: No action figures or models or goo factories but I also always watched this franchise and like Common was saying, I’m sure we all thought that this is such an incredible moment to appreciate the franchise and be a fan of it and then to know that you’re going to be a part of the next film and sit down and watch it all again. It was a defining, awesome, exhilarating moment for sure.

Bloodgood: I love sci-fi. I like “Star Trek.” I’ve never been somebody that liked romantic comedies. I always wanted to see things that were about the future, movies like “Bladerunner.” I liked Arnold but my favorite was always the story of John Connor and Sarah Connor; a female with those bad-ass biceps. She was so tough.

Q: When you sign on for a movie like this, you’re probably prepared for a lot of green screen and effects like that. Were you surprised at how many things were done practically on set?

Yelchin: We did some green screen but very little.

Howard: I think you feel it. Cinematically, I think audiences are really thoroughly adept at realizing if something is being technologically manipulated. I think McG has a good sense of that and made a really wise choice in trying to build as many things as possible. For me, there was just unbelievable stuff on set. I’m just going “oh, it’s just all here! Oh God. Look there! It’s the apocalypse! [laughter] which is fantastic.

Q: Bryce, you were in the scene where Christian says “Ill be back.” Did he have to be persuaded or was he up for that?
Howard: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s a great moment for sure. Christian was so committed to making sure that the script was always being fully realized and that every single plot point was hit perfectly and he and McG together formed an incredible dynamic and partnership. So, yeah, that’s a potentially iconic moment if played correctly so, of course.

Q: What about the action sequences, the stunt work. Were there any mishaps?

Yelchin: The guy from “Tropic Thunder” that blows everything up – his leg almost got sliced off. You were there.

Bloodgood: Yeah, me and Sam were doing a scene and in between, I guess somebody pulled one of the strings just on accident. It was only the second day of shooting and all of a sudden, I hear all this commotion and it had basically gone into his shin and we had to stop shooting. I didn’t look but they were holding him down because he went flying in the air and they were pulling him down and he was in a lot of pain. It was just really gruesome so I just kind of walked away. And that’s the scene that Sam and I are in and I’m trying to be not freaked out. But, he was okay.

Yelchin: He was there every day on crutches. I’m pretty sure everyone got hurt don’t you think?[to others]. I fell off of a truck we were shooting on. I was latched onto the truck and there was this part where I’d start to pull off and I kept pulling farther and farther and farther and then one time I just didn’t come back. I fell off and was hanging upside down. I dropped the gun and my nails got f*cked. I was just hanging there and I’m like “sh*t, I need to get back on… now!” I got back on and everyone stopped and was screaming and the best part was that Sam was laughing. I’m like, “why are you laughing?” But it was pretty painful because I slammed my shin into the truck. I still have a scar and stuff but it’s a lame story to tell after Mark’s leg getting almost sliced off but everyone got hurt. You think it’s safe but it’s not safe to run around with things exploding around you or run around on a moving vehicle. It’s just not safe. They’d leave the more dangerous stuff for the stunt guys. Logan Holiday, who was my stunt double, he got on the back of the truck and the cable got caught on a car or something and it snapped and hit him in the arm and he had this huge scar on his arm. We got a call on set, “Logan’s in the hospital along with the 2nd Unit DP.” You know, it’s a “Terminator” movie.

Q: When that happens right at the beginning of the movie and they say “you’ll be fine,” are you questioning that a little bit more?

Yelchin: All the time. I don’t believe any of them. Lies.

Q: Bryce, were you really pregnant when you shot this?

Howard: No. I had just had my baby.

Q: Is there a scene missing where you talk about the baby? Because it’s not mentioned.
Howard:
Yeah. I think that was the choice behind making her like eight months pregnant instead of like three months pregnant because [McG] wanted it to be obvious. But I like that it was dealt with in a subtle manner and you weren’t seeing her toting guns and stuff like that. That was more Connor’s [responsibility]. Like she would rest it on [demonstrates balancing the butt of a gun on a pregnant tummy and firing… laughter].

Q: The previous films are now being called “the first trilogy.” Are you guys all signed for more films?

[they all say they hope so].

Yelchin: I think it’s getting ahead of ourselves to talk about future films.

Q: But you would like to?

Yelchin: Yeah, sure.

Howard: Oh God, we really want to! [laughter]

Bloodgood: Yeah, we do.

Howard: I think the reason why it hasn’t come up for us is because we don’t want to have hubris because the movie hasn’t come out yet and we don’t know what the response is going to be like.

Q: But are you signed for three? Like didn’t everyone sign for three on “Star Trek”?

Yelchin: Yeah, I think “Star Trek” was three but none of us have talked about it.

Q: What was it like working with Christian? He’s such an intense actor.

Bloodgood: So am I. I’m very intense.

Howard: I understand the word intense but I’ve thought a little bit about it and intense usually implies intimidation and he’s not an intimidating guy. He’s just incredibly focused and methodical and dedicated.

Bloodgood: I had nothing but a great experience with him. He was light, he was warm, he was funny. All actors are intense to me in some way. How do you get there without having some kind of intensity. It doesn’t have to be negative.

Howard: Yeah, there’s no standoffishness.

Bloodgood: He’s quite funny and he made us laugh. He’s just not like that guy. He’s just very focused.

Howard: He reminds me of my grandfather actually [laughter]. No, but just like a very grounded, a very genuine gentleman, yeah.

Q: Anton, how did you and Christian get your heads around the fact that you are his future father? Your character doesn’t know that but you, as an actor do. Did you just have to shove that knowledge aside?

Yelchin: McG and I talked about it before we started shooting. Obviously, Kyle Reese doesn’t know so it’s not essential to his understanding of the universe he inhabits. It was an interesting moment to play when Kyle Reese sees Connor and Connor sees Kyle Reese. Obviously, Connor’s going “Oh my God, this is my father” and Kyle is going “I don’t know who the hell this guy is.” But there has to be some kind of emotional/spiritual connection between these two people so that was a kind of fascinating, interesting moment to play because you didn’t want to play it like “oh, Kyle knows he’s his father” because he doesn’t but it was interesting to find that beat of some sort of vague recognition of something. Also, Kyle has heard his voice on the radio and he knows about John Connor but he doesn’t know he is John Connor at that moment so I just kind of put it out of my mind to just focus on other things.

Bloodgood: I love that scene where you go “what’s your name?”

Yelchin: That’s before that when they first see each other but that scene is also a connection to the next scene; a building of the father/son, son/father thing [laughter]

Q: Common, what was it like to kick butt beside John Connor? Did you feel you needed to build some back story for your character in your own head?

Common: Yeah, I definitely needed to put a back story to my character because there wasn’t a lot written about Barnes and when McG first talked to me about working on the film he was like “man, we’ve got to give you some more stuff.” I just started working and thinking about what it would be like to be a human being living in a time where the world has been destroyed pretty much and just thinking about surviving and where I’ve come from and what you may have learned during these times of just being around in a desolate world and you’re looking at humanity in a different way because the enemy is different from what we think it to be now. And to be beside John Connor was definitely an inspiration. When you think of John Connor, he represents so many great people in the world that have brought people together to save humanity, whether it be a Ghandi or Martin Luther King or Malcolm X for that matter; revolutionaries that use their minds and souls and everything to help save the world and that’s what I looked at John Connor as. John Connor could be Barack Obama at this point. The fight comes on different levels. So, for me to have that dynamic with someone so great and so powerful was great for me to play against and play with and develop my character to see who he was.

Q: Anton is it a different process for you to be playing a character who has been played before versus creating a new character?

Yelchin: Yeah. For me at least, there’s a whole other set of guidelines in my mind that I want to follow and I take those guidelines from the character that was created by the original actor. You start off with like a,b,c and d that you want to have and you see “how can I incorporate those things into this idea?” And then, for me, it was like I had to adjust certain scenes to those guidelines as opposed to adjust those guidelines to the script because I felt like this is something people would want to see in that character and that was just who that character was and it was just essential to capture that. In a way, it’s a lot of fun. You’re given something to work with and you’re told, “you need to take this toothpick and this piece of clay and these marbles and make something out of it” then you do that and you have a toothpick, clay and marbles [laughter]. I don’t know but you do something with it. It’s that kind of a thing.

Q: Did you watch Michael Biehn’s performance?

Yelchin: Yeah. A lot. Every day.

Terminator Salvation hits theaters on Thursday, May 21st.