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Saturday, 31 January 2009

Terminator Salvation concept art and McG speaks about the film

McG has been chatting to Wired magazing (who also posted these lovely pieces of concept art).

Getting the Robots Right: "The first film shows Schwarzenegger's T-800 coming from 2029 back in time," McG said. "Salvation takes place in 2018, so you see the R&D that went into the T-800. It's like the polio vaccine: You've got to go through a lot of lab rats to get to vaccine. In this film, humans are the lab rats. Skynet is testing on us to figure out how to make a photorealistic, leaner, smaller, more capable machine -- the T-800."
Post-Apocalyptic Cinematography: "We talked to the people who monitored Chernobyl about what the world would sound and look and taste and feel like after the bombs have gone off," said McG. "Then we got a dead Kodak stock. We baked it in the sun a little bit too long to damage the film, and then we shot on uncorrected Panavision lenses that flare more easily and aren't quite as sharp as Primo lenses but have an interesting patina. Most importantly we added three times as much silver in the processing than one traditionally would to a color stock. Add it all up and you get this otherworldly, desolate feeling."
Calming James Cameron's Skepticism: "I didn't want to feel like the guy who gave birth to the Terminator is against what we're doing, so I go to see James Cameron to kiss the ring and tell him what I was trying to do," McG said. "He's cordial but says, 'I'm not going to endorse your movie. I reserve the right to hate it. But I wish you well, and if you're going to make a Terminator I'd prefer you make a good one to a bad one.'"

The Quest for Credibility: "To get some credibility back into the Terminator mythology, we had to show the fans we really mean business by getting a great John Connor," McG said. "To me the choice was very simple: Christian Bale."

Bale Just Says No: "I met Bale at a pub in England while he was shooting Dark Knight," McG said. "He said, "I'm not interested in action, I'm not interested in pyrotechnics, I'm interested in story. If you can get the script to a place where actors on stage could just read it, naked, and it would be compelling for two hours because the characters change and evolve, then we'd have something to talk about." We had a respectful conversation, I gave him Cormac McCarthy's The Road, Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? to read but his answer was: "Until it's on the page, I'm not doing it."


Connor's Story: "John Connor doesn't come into the picture saying, 'Follow me and everything's going to be cool,'" said McG. "He's just one of many soldiers when we meet him. It's like [Spider-Man] where you're Peter Parker: 'Hey I'm just a lowly high school photographer,' and he learns with great power comes great responsibility. Or the hacker [in The Matrix]: 'They call me Neo, who cares?' 'quot;No man, you're the one, you're going to lead us!' Of course Luke Skywalker, on and on, all those Joseph Campbell archetypes. So this is the story of how John Connor becomes leader of the resistance. He has to earn it."

Machine Music: "I wanted the sound of the resistance to be very delicate, reminiscent of Gustavo Santaolalla's analog guitar, so I thought of putting Gustavo together with Thom Yorke of Radiohead for the machine sound," said McG. "But their schedules were too tough, so then Danny Elfman articulated his sonic vision for the picture. He's a huge Terminator fan. I wish I could show you his house. Elfman lives in a haunted house that has strange prosthetic limbs from the turn of the century hanging on the wall."
Flesh-and-Blood Robots: "A lot of people make CG movies where actors are emoting to poles with tennis balls on top of them," said McG. "That's the last thing I wanted to do. I don't like dealing with cartoons, so to speak. I wanted real robots for the actors to interface with so you could get that grittiness and realism. There's an archetype shape to the T-800. We needed body types to suggest the robot that would combat John Connor, and Roland Kickinger is a good body type. His shoulders are huge, his waist is narrow. The [Industrial Light & Magic] guys used their calipers to measure shoulder spatial differences and said he'd make a good body double. Roland as an individual is not in the movie."

The Third Act: "Is Skynet smart enough to use the best parts of ourselves against ourselves? Can we trust the machine?" Mc G asked. "Therein lies the rub and that's what act three is all about. The ending of this film is elliptical. It's going to make a lot of people mad and you'll see lot of people scratching their heads. It's not disposable, where you forget about it before you even get to the parking lot. It's going to make you think."
Discuss in the Forum

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