“The new film, which in my mind I think of as the third film, we see Arnold take the character even farther.” “I feel like the franchise has been reinvigorated. Like this is a renaissance.”
-James Cameron on TERMINATOR GENISYS
The world wide web can be a wonderful, endless source of information. Unfortunately, it also can be a great cancerous swell of of misinformation as well. It can be a place where someone can form an opinion that defies reality yet still preach it as gospel, with total disregard to any facts that are presented (simply because the said person disagrees with the results of those facts).
So when a ill-informed Terminator fan (who simply hated Skydance’s new film) challenged us last week regarding James Cameron’s involvement with.. appreciation towards.. and financial compensation from Skydance’s “Terminator Genisys”, we felt it was time to set the record straight. In doing so, we hope fellow Genisys fans who are challenged in the same way in the future can use this article to easily rebut them.
This is what the ill-informed Terminator fan argued:
- Other than creating the character 30 years ago, James Cameron had absolutely NO involvement with the development of “Terminator Genisys”.
- James Cameron was paid financial compensation to speak about “Terminator Genisys” in promotional advertisements.
- Upon receiving payment, James Cameron comprimised his integrity and LIED about enjoying “Terminator Genisys” and about his feelings that ‘Genisys’ is the true third film in the franchise.
Now we’ll address these false claims one by one:
TRUE OR FALSE : Other than creating the character 30 years ago, James Cameron had absolutely NO involvement with the development of “Terminator Genisys”.
ANSWER : FALSE
Here is a direct quote from James Cameron hilmself, addressing an audience during the Q&A of the 2014 Hero Complex Film Festival, reported by Slashfilm:
“…when Megan Ellison bought the rights, she asked me if I wanted to be involved. I said “Well look. I don’t mind standing behind the curtain and whispering like some court advisory in 15th century Italy or something.” My goal in that was not to insinuate myself artistically but to try to make sure they stayed true to the Terminator character and the idea of Arnold being in it. Because he’s a friend of mine and we’ve been through all the wars together and everything. And I wanted them to see the possibilities I saw for what they could do with this character. And then David Ellison took the project over from Megan and he and I met a couple times. And so Arnold is very much front and center in the new Terminator films. So I might have had some tiny effect on it — but obviously they had to make the right financial and creative decisions themselves so I’m not trying to take credit for the film that they’re making but that was my goal in being loosely attached to the film but I won’t have any credit on it.”
– James Cameron
James Cameron did not only meet with David Ellison more than once, but also sat down with “Terminator Genisys” writer Laeta Kalogridis as well, as detailed on page 17 of the hardcover companion book “Terminator Genisys: Resetting the Future”. Apparently Laeta had reservations about taking the job, detailed in the following excerpt:
“I said no a few times,” says Laeta, “out of respect for James Cameron, the universe he created.” She also admits to being afraid she wouldn’t live up to Cameron’s storytelling abilities. But she relented after Cameron reassured her that he was comfortable with where Skydance meant to take the story.
-Page 17, Terminator Genisys: Resetting the Future
And what key advice did James Cameron give to the production team? According to Deadline , Cameron had this to say about it during “The Terminator” 30th Anniversary celebration in Los Angeles’ Egyptian Theater:
“I pointed out that the outer covering (of the Terminator) was actually not synthetic, that it was organic and therefore could age. You could theoretically have a Terminator that was sent back in time, missed his target, and ended up just kind of living on in society. Because he is a learning computer and has a brain as a central processor he could actually become more human as he went along without getting discovered.”
So with James Cameron acknowledging that his goal was “being loosely attached to the film” without credit, and the subsequent meetings between him and Skydance C.E.O. David Ellison (as well as writer Laeta Kalogridis) and confirming his story contribution, it is factual to say that Cameron did indeed help shape what ultimately became “Terminator Genisys”.
TRUE OR FALSE : James Cameron was paid financial compensation to speak about “Terminator Genisys” in promotional advertisements.
ANSWER : FALSE
Reported on June 26th, 2015 for Slashfilm, interviewer Peter Sciretta asked Skydance Productions CEO David Ellison and Chief Creative Officer Dana Goldberg just that question… did Skydance pay Cameron to say positive things about “Terminator Genisys”. This is what they had to say:
GOLDBERG: Can I answer bluntly and then you’re gonna talk longer?
GOLDBERG: Seriously, if we’re gonna have this conversation, what amount of money does anybody think somebody can offer James Cameron that is going to make a damn bit of difference or to get him to stand up and give an opinion that he doesn’t believe in? It actually just boggles my mind, really, like what is that amount? Absolutely not, that is so not the case, the man is not making a dollar off of this movie or because of the comments he’s made in support.
ELLISON: [Laughs] First, everything she said is 100% true. I mean I’m done talking about it
So James Cameron did not receive compensation to speak about “Terminator Genisys”, let alone a positive commentary.
TRUE OR FALSE : Upon receiving payment, James Cameron comprimised his integrity and LIED about enjoying “Terminator Genisys” and about his feelings that ‘Genisys’ is the true third film in the franchise.
In the same interview on June 26th, 2015 for Slashfilm, Skydance Productions CEO David Ellison addressed this:
James Cameron is my favorite filmmaker of all time, so when we got the rights to the franchise, I absolutely reached out to Jim out of respect and the dream was to make a movie that he felt belonged in the universe that he created because personally that’s what meant everything to me, so I screened the movie for him at his house and he throughout different times would make comments watching the movie where I’d be like ‘okay, I think he’s actually liking the film.’ And for him to come out and say publicly that he thinks the film is the true sequel to Judgment Day and that it actually deserves and belongs in the universe that he created means everything to me, and everything to everybody involved.
In the bonus blu-ray “Terminator Genisys” special feature “Exiles in Time: Reflections & Looking Forward“, James Cameron elaborates:
“I had no idea what to expect sitting down. I wasn’t involved with the making of the film. I’m in a dark theater. Movie starts. And I start to see things I recognize, done with, you know, contemporary technology and all that, but things I recognize like okay, this is pretty cool.
It’s being very respectful of the first two films. And then all of a sudden it just swerves into completely new teritory and now I’m going on a journey. I’m just, I’m just a fanboy at that point. You know. The back of my mind I’m thinking, all right this is pretty good, it better not screw this up. (laughs). And I’m having this dialouge with myself throughout the film. (still laughing). You know, I’m thinking “Okay, that’s pretty good. Yeah all right. That’s good. Well they really captured the sense of Reese and Sarah and wow this all makes a lot of sense.” So I actually really enjoyed it.”
“Can I be objective? Can I guarantee that you’ll enjoy it? No. I just know that I enjoyed the film. You know, but I strongly suspect that everybody will. If you like the Terminator films… whether your my age and you saw them in the movie theater, or whether you saw them on DVD or cable later and it’s just part of your childhood maybe, you’re going to love this movie.”
-James Cameron on TERMINATOR GENISYS
We understand that some fan’s opinions may differ towards this film, and we support all Terminator fans regardless of how they feel towards this latest installment, but no Terminator fan can deny this: James Cameron had meetings and provided input that helped shape the development of “Terminator Genisys”, Cameron was not paid to speak positively about this new installment, and Cameron truly enjoyed the film. In his mind, James Cameron considers “Terminator Genisys the “third film” of the Terminator franchise. And we here at SKYNET’S ARMY agree with him.