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SYFY WIRE Terminator: Dark Fate

Arnold Schwarzenegger spent a month shooting guns on his ranch dressed as the Terminator for Dark Fate

By Jacob Oller
Terminator: Dark Fate T-800 IMDb

One of the biggest pulls of Terminator: Dark Fate, Deadpool director Tim Miller’s sequel-erasing follow-up to Terminator 2: Judgment Day, is the return of original star Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800. He and Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor link back up in the new film in order to save a new human from a new killing machine. But preparing to get back into that world after 35 years took some serious preparation.

Speaking to TotalFilm, the former Governor of California explained that in order to “be back,” as the Terminator puts it, in character, he had to walk a mile in his character’s shoes. Or, more accurately, shoot guns for a month on a ranch...while in his shoes. 

“I always spend a lot of time before I get on set with my wardrobe, practicing shooting on my ranch, so I've felt ready for the last month really,” the actor said. “I like to take my costume home and hang out in it, too, doing everything in it for a month. When I come to the set I don’t want to waste anyone’s time.”

So Schwarzenegger’s T-800 (in the film going by the name Carl and running a drapery business on an airbase) doesn’t just look lived-in—he really has some wear and tear on him. Even though it’s unclear how the T-800 survived his molten steel bath, the actor’s reunion with original director James Cameron (back as a producer) should be a blast. “The upside of having him there is that he’s very smart and he totally knows science fiction and action and storytelling,” Schwarzenegger says of Cameron’s involvement. “The bad side is that he’s too much of a control freak, y’know?” Some things never change. At least Miller is “not as intense.”

The stunts Miller put his actors through, on the other hand, are incredibly intense. Taking a page from Inception’s book, the film uses a massive rig described by special effects supervisor Neil Corbould as the one from Inception’s hallway-flipping sequence...only bigger. He should know: his brother Chris Corbould won a special effects Oscar for creating it. Now Neil has a chance to one-up his kin, this time for a scene briefly glimpsed in Dark Fate’s trailers: a massive battle onboard a Lockheed C-5 Galaxy transport plane.

It took five months to build and is the heaviest gimbal ever built. “It can rotate 360 degrees and it can tilt backwards and forwards 10 degrees each way,” Corbould told TotalFilm. Everyone got flung around to simulate zero-G, resulting in a “f**king insane" scene (Hamilton’s words) involving an in-air plane crash, robot fistfight, and more.

Fans can check it all out when Terminator: Dark Fate hits theaters on Nov. 1, giving them a full month to start wearing their Terminator outfits if they start today.