Billy Idol was supposed to play the T-1000 in Terminator 2

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Aug 17, 2017, 2:54 PM EDT

He’s gone on to sci-fi roles in everything from The X-Files, to Last Resort, to True Blood — but for most fans — Robert Patrick will always be the iconic T-1000.

As Terminator 2: Judgment Day roars back into theaters for a 3D rerelease, Patrick chatted with The Hollywood Reporter about his tenure as the liquid metal killing machine in James Cameron’s 1992 classic. Turns out, Patrick was a late addition to the project, and his villainous role was originally supposed to go to Billy Idol.

Yeah, the legendary punk rocker Billy Idol, known for singles like “Rebel Yell” and “Dancing With Myself.” The only reason he didn’t wind up in the film was that he injured his leg in a motorcycle crash before filming, which opened the door for Patrick.


Here’s an excerpt from Patrick’s comments:

"Billy Idol was set to do the role of the T-1000, as I understand. I can tell you that I saw Billy's image when I went to Stan Winston after I got the role. Unfortunately, he got into a motorcycle accident and busted up his leg, so he wasn't able to physically do what the role demanded. My agent sold me to the T2 casting director (Mali Finn) as a cross between David Bowie and James Dean, so, I was trying to create an intense presence while I was sitting with Mali. I had this intense stare, which she liked…

I trained four times a day and physically got myself into it. I did it like a sprinter would: I locked eyes on a target and focused so there was no wasted energy," he said. "When done, I would clench my jaw, no mouth breathing, only through the nose and no expression because the character would not be straining.”

Turns out, Patrick was a bit too fast. All that work meant he was able to sprint like a pro, and he actually messed up one take of that iconic with John Connor on his dirt bike. John took off, and Patrick’s T-1000 was actually faster than the bike:

"The first big chase sequence we did at the mall before I take the semi, I caught John! And I was like, 'What the fuck do I do know?' And Jim was like, 'Jesus Christ! How fast can you run?!' And I said I didn't know. So they had to crank up the speed of John's dirt bike.”

As anyone who has seen Terminator 2 can attest, Patrick’s dedication paid off. His T-1000 is one of the scariest, most-unstoppable figures in science fiction history. But man, we still would’ve loved to see what Idol might’ve done in the role.

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)