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TERMINATOR 3:
RISE OF THE MACHINES

Story, Characters and Casting
In exploring the potential direction of a third chapter in the Terminator narrative, director Jonathan Mostow saw myriad possibilities in setting the story in present day Los Angeles, a decade since the Terminator helped John Connor and his mother Sarah thwart Judgment Day. "Ten years have passed since the last time we saw these characters," Mostow contemplates. "That creates a lot of interesting opportunities for me as a filmmaker to tell a story that explores the same universe that we all love, but with characters that are now in psychologically different places in their lives."

Schwarzenegger relished the opportunity to reprise his character, the mysterious former assassin who returns to protect John Connor and his mother Sarah in T2: Judgment Day. "Knowing that people from around the world have been waiting for this movie doesn't put pressure on me because I know what I need to do in order to make the Terminator what he needs to be – an intense, frightening, funny, interesting hero," he assures. "The key is, everything I do must be as a machine, not as a human being.

"Because my character in this film is not the same exact Terminator that was sent back in T2, he has to learn human behavior again," says Schwarzenegger of the T-101 he plays in Terminator 3. "He has to learn the nuances of the language, of interacting with humans. I have to act that out as if it is an entirely new experience. That creates a lot of opportunities for humor."

"There's something unique about the Terminator character that affords the license to break the tension of suspenseful scenes with something comedic, and yet you can go back into the suspense and it doesn't disrupt the flow of the story," Mostow marvels. "Arnold has a fantastic ability to make fun of himself in a way that audiences really enjoy."

Melding trademark humor and riveting suspense, Mostow and screenwriters Mike Ferris and John Brancato raised the stakes of the Terminator 3 story by pitting Schwarzenegger's outdated Terminator model against Skynet's most advanced robotic weapon yet: the T-X, an advanced alloy metal endo-skeleton covered in a liquid metal exterior designed in the guise of a beautiful woman. Equipped with a plasma cannon, morphing capabilities and the ability to control other machines, she is simply stronger, faster, smarter, more sophisticated and more indestructible than the obsolete T-101.

Sent back through time to complete the job left unfinished by her T2 predecessor, the T-1000, the T-X has been programmed to kill John Connor in order to facilitate the machines' diabolical agenda. "The only way that the rise of the machines in the future can happen the way they have planned it is by eliminating John Connor," Schwarzenegger reveals. "The Terminator's mission is to stop the T-X from completing her assignment. But because she is so superior to him technically, the Terminator knows she can have an effect on his programming mechanism, which makes her extremely dangerous."

Casting an actress to play the indomitable T-X was a global effort. "First and foremost," Mostow emphasizes, "she had to convince audiences that she could beat the Terminator in physical combat." Ten thousand actresses auditioned for the role in eight countries and every major U.S. city. "Before I began, I thought, ‘How hard could it be to play a robot?'" the director muses. "What I learned is, playing a robot is possibly the most difficult role you can have as an actor, because you have to take all your innate emotional responses and completely suppress them. Even the way you walk is affected. A robot has no specific gait. A robot is a perf

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