Arnold Schwarzenegger On Terminator Genisys: "We Have To Outdo T2" [Set Interview]

In July of last year, I visited the set of Terminator: Genisys. You can hear what I learned while on set here. While on set, we talked to the cast and crew of the new film. Over the next few days we'll be running transcripts of these on set interviews. Today we begin with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who reprises his role as a T-800. But this is a T-800 like we've never seen before, in this new film set within a divergent timeline. Read the full Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator Genisys interview after the jump.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator Genisys Interview

Note: The following interview was conducted on the set of Terminator: Genisys on July 11th 2014 in a roundtable with other journalists. The full interview transcript follows.How long does it take to put on those prosthetics?

I think it was two and a half hours. But it's not every day. It depends which stage we're in the story. So this is getting now towards the end. It gets more and more severe.

What's it like getting back into this character? You've got the classic face damage going on and the old outfit. How's it feel to be back?

It's like you've been doing it your whole life, because I'm very passionate about the character. I think it's a great, interesting character. I think it's a great story. The whole concept that Cameron had way back in the early '80s, of creating a world where machines take over and things becoming a reality that no one could even think of in those days. It's really been great, because the whole team is really into going all out. It is fun to be in a movie like that. The studio is very enthusiastic about the Terminator movie — the producers, the director, they're very talented and great visionaries. You can tell, the stages — everything is really big and exciting. It's been a great experience.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator GenisysYou've played the villain Terminator, the father Terminator. What sort of Terminator are we going to see from you in this film?

It's a character that has been programmed to protect them, to protect Sarah Connor, but I'm basically the same Terminator. I will destroy anything that's in front of me in order to save her.

Looking at the makeup and the jacket, it looks like something tried to destroy you. What kind of threat are you facing as a Terminator in this one?

The world is coming to an end. The machines are taking over, so that's the overall threat. We're trying to change that.

What was it about this take on the Terminator franchise that made you say, "Hey, this is the one that I need to do"?

Well, I always said that I would do another Terminator if the story was great, and I really enjoyed this story when I read it. I think that the people who were involved made me feel like this was going to be a good movie and that they were going to go all out with the project. It's not just "Let's exploit this franchise and live off of some of the great ones that we'd done in the past." They really took it seriously. They really figured out a way to continue the story and kind of ignore the last one, basically.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator GenisysDo you think the series has changed a lot over the past 30 years?

I think that the people are really enthusiastic about it. It's still today one of the top franchises that people are looking forward to seeing. The key thing is to give the people more than they can even anticipate. That's why it's very important that this movie — I think everyone recognizes it — that this movie delivers.

Is that in terms of scale and action?

Everything. The story, the creativity, the twists, all that stuff. On every level, it has to deliver. The right team has been assembled I think to do that. So that would make me feel good, to be proud to be part of this project.

A core part of every Terminator movie is you in an amazing action scene. Are you going to have a long action scene in this, and will it top T2's action scene, which is my favorite?

I know that we have to outdo T2. The director knows that. The producers know it. The studio knows it. I think everyone is in sync with that, that, visual effects-wise, we have to outdo the second one, because it was so far ahead of its time. So that's the idea, to come out with a movie with a big bang and to entertain audiences all around the world.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator GenisysAnother part of these movies is also the humor and the quotable one-liners that usually come from your character. Will we get some of that in this one?

Yes, absolutely. There actually some very funny scenes in this movies — not trying to be funny, just the circumstances make it very funny.

At what point in this whole process of being a part of the franchise did you realize how long it was going to go, for how many movies you'd get to do it?

I think after second one we realized that this was a really big franchise. If you remember, the second one was the biggest movie of the year. It made $500 million, which in today's dollars I don't even know what they would be — probably a billion dollars; who knows? But it was a huge movie, and Cameron really did an extraordinary job with the writing. So the trick really is, okay, how do you continue on with that kind of big bang.

young sarah connor terminator GenisysI think people really loved your Terminator movies, and some fans felt a little burnt by the last one. So how do you win them back with this one? How do you convince them to see it?

I think that action speaks louder than words. You can do all the hyping you want; it doesn't mean anything. I think that when the movie's trailer comes out, right away, it will set the record straight. I remember when we came out with the trailer for True Lies, and people knew right away what it was and how big it was. So I think you see it. The key thing is that they cut a great trailer, they promote it the right way and then, when you see the first screenings out there, the buzz will take care of the rest. I don't think that it is difficult to win the people over, because the people are really excited about another Terminator. They're ready to see another one. It just has to deliver.

Do you feel protective of this franchise? When they first sent you the script, how did you feel? Were there certain things like, "I'd like to change this or not"?

Oh, no, we had very open discussions. After I got the first script, I had a lot of questions. Some of the things didn't make sense. They were tweaked; they didn't make sense to other people either. So it was fine-tuned. It was a process. There was a period of I think a few months. There were very talented people who went off and — and the great thing is that everyone was in sync. It wasn't like I was going off in one direction and David Ellison was thinking differently and then Alan was thinking differently. There was none of that. I think this is a very unique project because I think everyone is very protective — not just because of the art's sake, but I think also because of the business' sake. The studio sees this as, "If we do well here, we can go with another few. We can entertain people. We can make money. We've done a good job bringing back the franchise." So everyone is in sync with that. That's why everyone is working around the clock here to make this a great movie.

Terminator Genisys poster