With Terminator 2: Judgment Day 3D due to hit cinemas in the U.S. & U.K., actor Robert Patrick has been giving some insight into how he got the role and the preparation behind it, as well as some surprising backstory behind his character’s original casting.
Patrick got his big break with what many regard his standout performance as the T-1000 in James Cameron’s 1991 sequel to The Terminator, which is heading back to cinemas in a special 3D version. The actor has been speaking to press and interestingly he told the Hollywood Reporter that he wasn’t the first choice for the role;
“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.”
Patrick was a virtual unknown at the time with a small role in 1990’s Die Hard 2: Die Harder to his name, he described how his agent tried to “sell” him to casting director Mali Finn;
“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. It was just one of those moments when everything came together at the right time.”
Patrick described his physical performance as “insect-like” He stated that after finally getting a screen test, he was thrilled to get the role and set about a rigorous training routine in preparation for the physical demands he knew he would have to endure. He states that he used a unique technique in training so that he would be able to run at great pace and then be able to stop suddenly without showing any signs of fatigue.
“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. When done, I would clench my jaw, no mouth breathing, only through the nose and no expression because the character would not be straining.”
It would appear that the training was successful as the actor revealed that one of the first scenes shot that involved him utilising his fitness was chasing John Connor, played by Edward Furlong, on a dirt bike and to the surprise of director James Cameron, he actually caught up with the vehicle. Patrick went on to explain,
“The first big chase sequence we did at the mall before I take the semi, I caught John! And I was like, ‘What the f#c! do I do now?’ 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.”
Along with his physical training, Patrick also had to learn and master firing and reloading the Beretta 92FS gun for the scene where he empties an entire 16-round clip into Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800. He was then required to reload the weapon whilst never taking his eyes off his target. The actor recalled his firearms training and how dedicated he was to that particular scene;
“I worked with (weapons master) Harry Lu a lot. Jim told me I had to be extremely proficient. I had to work on squeezing the trigger as fast as I could, locking eyes on Arnold down the hall, and dropping the magazine without looking and being able to grab a new magazine and reload instantly, also without looking. I had to practice and practice and practice until I got it. And the thing that I added, and I was proud of, is I did it without blinking.”
The actor also revealed that he had already seen T2 3D in James Cameron’s own private screening room and enthused that “it’s a rare case of taking an almost perfect film and making it better.”
T2:3D is released in the U.S. & U.K. on 25th & 29th August respectively.