Tim Miller On Working With Arnold and the Toughest Scene In TDF
Tim Miller, the man behind Deadpool, returns with what’s probably the most important Terminator film since James Cameron’s last outing with the series in 1991. Terminator: Dark Fate brings back Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and James Cameron (as co-producer and co-writer) after 28 years. I spoke to the filmmaker about the magic of the earlier Terminator sequel and working with Schwarzenegger among other things. Listen in.
Hi Tim, welcome to The Quint. You told me that you saw Terminator 2 when you were 27 and that it completely blew your mind, what was that one element in that film which really blew your mind?
Tim Miller: I think it would probably be the same for everyone, it's the shot where the Terminator crashes the big truck and then walks out of the fire in his chrome form, pretty amazing first shot. And as someone from the visual effects industry, I realise just how hard that was to do back then. Now, it's trivial but back then, it was a major feat in visual effects.
There’s some amount of political commentary in your film especially the sequence at the Mexican Detention Centre when the detainees are set free. I think it’s quite powerful when you put political commentary however subtle in popular culture, especially films, what is your view on that? Do you agree?
Tim Miller: This is not a movie where you are supposed to make personal or political statements right? And I didn't feel the need to make one, personally I am pretty far left of centre and I feel those social issues keenly even though I am a lazy f*cker and I don't do anything about it. But in the case of the border crossing I really tried to sort of keep a centre ground where, I think, on the ground what's happening, is rough for everybody. I don't think, I feel for the immigrants crossing the border, and I feel for the guards and the people of law enforcement who are just trying to do their job. They are not cruel people, they just have a job to do. And that is sort of the centre line that I was trying to walk, as f*cked up as this is politics and we luckily didn't have to deal with that part.
You spoke about that action sequence in Terminator 2, we’ve advanced so much in VFX but still that action sequence with that bike and truck chase is almost unbeatable. As a filmmaker looking back what do you think about the choreography of that whole scene is that really makes it so timeless?
Tim Miller: I think the way Jim (James Cameron) manages to focus on characters in the middle of an action scene is pretty amazing. It's not just explosions happening, it's explosions about to engulf the characters that you care about, and that's what keeps you invested in it more than the action itself.
What was the most memorable aspect of working with somebody as legendary as Arnold Schwarzenegger, as a director to actor relationship.
Tim Miller: Arnold is the most user-friendly actor imaginable. He says, 'just tell me what to say and where to stand and what to do and I will do it'. He has his opinions and he gives them to you but, Arnold is amazing, he'll offer advice like if I say, 'let's do that with a bit of attitude' and he would say, 'mmm Terminator Tim, they don't have attitude' or things like this but he's really willing to engage and hold a conversation but ultimately he's just, 'direct me' and it's great, you know even though it's Linda Hamilton and she knows this character, and all of our cast were super accomplished I never felt like it was a negotiation, it was a conversation, about what was best for the character or the scene or whatever and that's the way it should be, I think.
Is he a man of many moods? Did you have to deal with that?
Tim Miller: No, Arnold was almost always in a good mood. When we did reshoot, he had had an injury to his leg and he was actually in a lot of pain and the most I ever got was, 'Tim I may not be at a 100% because I am in a lot of pain right now' but he still focussed, on it, totally there.
What was the most tough scene to shoot in Terminator Dark Fate, tough for you as a director, it could be getting a certain emotion out or an action sequence.
Tim Miller: It is always the emotional scenes I think that are the toughest. There's a scene in the motel room where there are a lot of emotional beats to it, particularly with Linda. It wasn't tough because I knew, because Linda nailed it and I knew that she would. It was tough because going in you knew that if you don't hit the right tone it could hurt the movie in a substantial way, it's a critical sort of emotional point that has to be handled very delicately and you never know, going in if you are going to be able to do it or everybody else around the actor is going to do it and Linda just crushed it.
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