TERMINATOR 2 : JUDGMENT DAY, Arnold Schwarzenegger, 1991

James Cameron called Arnold Schwarzenegger ‘a very sick boy’ after hearing his thoughts on ‘Terminator 2’

James Cameron’s decision to blow up the premise of his “Terminator” franchise led to one of the most successful sequels of all time. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cyborg namesake was portrayed as a cold-blooded villain in the first film but returned as a hero protecting the same family he was originally sent to destroy in ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’.

The change produced many of the most iconic moments of Schwarzenegger’s film career, but the actor wasn’t convinced it would work.

In a panel discussion held at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures before a screening of “Terminator 2” Wednesday night, Schwarzenegger praised Cameron’s writing skills before recalling his initial skepticism about the change.

“The reason it became a big hit was, number one, Jim Cameron. Jim Cameron is a brilliant writer. He had this brilliant idea, even though I was suspicious at first,” Schwarzenegger said. “He said ‘I want to make a good Terminator out of you.'”

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Schwarzenegger says he tried to get Cameron to double down on the first film’s brutality, but the action icon admitted his desire for violence was partly motivated by his box office rivalry with Sylvester Stallone.

“I said ‘What do you mean a good Terminator?’ I was killing 68 people in the first,” he said. “In the second I have to kill 150. Let’s go up! Slit their throats and shoot them with a cannon and run them over with a car. be number one in killing amount of people on screen.

Cameron wasn’t concerned about Schwarzenegger’s feud with Stallone and decided to go ahead with his initial plan. If anything, his pleas prompted Cameron to remove even more violence from the script.

“He said ‘Arnold, stop it. You are a very sick boy. I’m going to make sure you don’t kill a single person in ‘Terminator 2’,” Schwarzenegger said. “I said that’s the dumbest thing he’s ever heard. How can it be “Terminator 2” without me killing anyone? At least throw in some symbolic body.