TERMINATOR INTERVIEW: Actor John Edward Lee talks “GENISYS”, type-casting and big brass balls!


On the night of May 12th, 1984 near the Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, three delinquent punks fooling around with a public telescope are approached by a naked, imposing male who demands clothes.. and may not be quite what he seems.

We all know this historic moment in cinema. And it’s not every day when you can have a sit-down with an actor from this iconic Terminator scene, so when SkynetsArmy.com had an opportunity recently to talk to actor, producer, writer and director John Edward Lee… who played the punk leader in “TERMINATOR GENISYS”… we couldn’t have been more thrilled!

So without further adieu, here is our conversation with John Edward Lee:

SKYNET’S ARMY : You began your formal education with studying photography at the University of Oklahoma.. but finished with a theater major at the University of Houston.  It’s really an interesting transition. What inspired you to change your path?

JOHN : I switched from photography to theater after taking some time off to work in Utah.  I did some guide work there and when I came back to the University of Houston I switched departments.  Photography just felt too passive at the time.

The University of Houston

SKYNET’S ARMY : Has your early focus in photography bled into what you are doing now?  As in, you watch a scene you’ve acted in and you say to yourself.. wow, that could have been framed a better way.. or lit a different way… ultimately giving you an eye for good cinematography?

JOHN : I love cinematography and all of camera department when it comes to film.  I always have.  I think cinematographers are some of the most impressive and under valued artisans in Hollywood.

SKYNET’S ARMY : It’s fascinating that even though it was a brief amount of screen time, this lead punk Terminator role first played by actor Bill Paxton has become very iconic. Did you find that daunting at all when you were cast in the role for “TERMINATOR GENISYS”?


JOHN : Big time.  My brother and I grew up quoting Hudson from “ALIENS” and Paxton has long been one of my favorite American actors.

Actor Bill Paxton as Private Hudson in the 1986 science fiction film “ALIENS”.

JOHN : (continued)  I honestly didn’t even know until I got into New Orleans that it was actually that scene.  I thought that they were just using it for audition material.  It was a huge honor for sure.

SKYNET’S ARMY : And then there’s Bill’s infamous blue spiked hair!  Was that ever a consideration for your take on the role?

Two similar, yet different and unique timelines.

JOHN : (Director) Alan (Taylor) really wanted the Sid Vicious look for this.  As he explained it to me, there was a lot of consideration put into making this new dimension strikingly similar, yet different.  My hair was one of those specific choices to convey this similar yet different dimension.


Sid Vicious, the bass guitarist of the punk rock band “Sex Pistols”.

SKYNET’S ARMY : One of your character’s crew played by Christion Troxel had some great outrageous hair.  Speaking of Christion and Luke, when the battle began between the two Terminators, their characters ran immediately away. However your character continued to look on, until *we assume* he ultimately ran off as well *revealed in some unused footage*.  So why did your character continue to watch as his punk buddies fled for safety?

JOHN : Big brass balls.

SKYNET’S ARMY : (laughs)

This tough guy isn’t so easily scared away.

JOHN : In actuality I did eventually run off after seeing the iconic 101 red eye, but I believe that my exit hit the cutting floor.


Footage of John’s character finally running away, deleted from the final film.

SKYNET’S ARMY : Many of us hoped your character would show up again in 2017 as an old man. You know, 33 years older getting your knees checked at the hospital.. only to see the Terminator again.. and then you run again. That would have been hilariously great.

JOHN : (laughs)  Joe Pesci “CASINO” threat style.  That would be classic!  Sign me up!

SKYNET’S ARMY :  (laughs)  It’s funny. In your filmography, for both “TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN” and “TERMINATOR GENISYS” you are referred to as a “punk”.  Do you ever laugh and say “I’m being type casted!”

JOHN : Totally. Rather be type cast than not cast….ehhoooooo

SKYNET’S ARMY : Good point!

JOHN : I have definitely found that I book more of what I have already booked.  Punk, killer, rapey guy…can make dating difficult. (wink)


SKYNET’S ARMY : (laughs) Not something you want to put on your profile in eHarmony!

JOHN : Right?  Enjoys hiking, scuba, and pretending to be aggressive sadistic rapey killer guy.  Not quite matrimonial catnip.

SKYNET’S ARMY : Definitely! We see you got a movie coming out with Steven Seagal soon. Is the character you play the un-datable type?

JOHN : In this one im a step closer to settling down.  In the “ASIAN CONNECTION” I play and expatriate bank robber named Jack who lives in Bangkok.  Jack is way more likeable than my usual fare and it was fun to play someone a little more sane and simple.

SKYNET’S ARMY : Does it have a release date?

JOHN : I believe sometime this month. May.

SKYNET’S ARMY : Great. Looking forward to the softer side of John Edward Lee!


SKYNET’S ARMY : (continued)  John, you have been great. We really appreciated you taking the time out to talk to us today. We’d like to ask you one more question. We felt “TERMINATOR GENISYS” was a little overly harshly received by critics. What are your feelings towards the movie.. and did you come away with enjoying the experience?


JOHN : I enjoyed Genisys, but I think critics will expect a great deal from any Terminator picture because of the caliber of T1 and T2. I had a ball working on it and it was a huge honor to reprise such an iconic role. (smiles)


We want to thank John Edward Lee again for taking the time to discuss “TERMINATOR GENISYS” with us.  We consider John a friend to our site and strongly urge our Army to support all his current and future endeavors.

John is currently working on an art house film with artist Paul McCarthy and we hope to provide details as they become available.

And be sure to watch or buy the “ASIAN CONNECTION”, available June 7th on Amazon.com.

“Hey f*ck you, asshole!”


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