Jackie Chan Once Felt Arnold Schwarzenegger Was ‘Nothing’ in ‘Terminator 2’
For many, Arnold Schwarzenegger might be synonymous with The Terminator franchise. But his fellow action star Jackie Chan once felt Schwarzenegger might have done very little for James Cameron’s sci-fi phenomenon.
Arnold Schwarzenegger almost wasn’t cast as ‘The Terminator’
It may be difficult to picture anyone else as the original Terminator in Cameron’s 1984 titular film. But initially, Cameron didn’t see Schwarzenegger in the role of his sinister cyborg. In a 2013 interview Schwarzenegger did with Men’s Health, the actor shared that Cameron saw him as Kyle Reese at first.
But when Schwarzenegger read the script, he found himself more and more fascinated by the Terminator. So when Schwarzenegger met Cameron for lunch, he couldn’t help rattle off his ideas about the film’s villain.
“‘He’s a machine. So everything has to be matter-of-fact.’ I told Jim that,” Schwarzenegger recalled. “I said there should be no joy, no gratification, no kind of victory lap of any sort. Just the mission, complete. I go through these points. Jim, afterward, says to me, ‘F***, you analyze it better than the way I have written it. Why don’t you play the Terminator?’”
Schwarzenegger was reluctant to do the part because of the Terminator’s limited dialogue. But he was eventually convinced. Michael Biehn would end up playing Schwarzenegger’s human nemesis Kyle Reese.
Jackie Chan once felt Arnold Schwarzenegger was ‘nothing’ in ‘Terminator 2’
Like Schwarzenegger, Chan was also an action star. But Chan confided that it was sometimes difficult to adjust to Hollywood’s way of filmmaking.
“I always teach people the fighting, but when I come to Hollywood, someone teach me,” Chan once told The New York Times. “I ask, ‘How long you been in action film?’ ‘Oh, six years.’ Six years teaching me how to punch somebody.”
Chan’s career as an action star would eventually reach some progress in America. Still, the actor once doubted his star-power would grow any bigger in America. He felt most Hollywood action stars were largely overshadowed by the technology displayed in movies. To Chan, the special effects present in movies had been the real star of action films like Schwarzenegger’s Terminator 2.
“Even if I do a film with geniuses like George Lucas or Steven Spielberg, no way will I be famous in America,” Chan once said in an interview with Bright Lights. “Look at Jurassic Park. Few people know the names of the main actors; they remember the dinosaurs and that it was a Spielberg film. Take Terminator 2. The director’s good; the special effects are good; Schwarzenegger is nothing. Anyone could have played his part.”
Chan believed this represented a significant difference between himself and America’s action film stars.
“Take First Blood. Stallone is good. But in Asia, everyone comes to see Jackie Chan in a Jackie Chan film. It doesn’t matter what the title is or what the story is about. Only Jackie Chan can do it,” Chan said.
Jackie Chan wanted to have a career like Tom Hanks and Tom Cruise
Soon, Chan saw the success he was looking for in America. Films like the Rush Hour movies would further help take his career to new heights in Hollywood. But Chan also felt movies such as Rush Hour were limited in that they appealed to a different kind of audience.
“I have fans that have been watching me for 20 years in America, but that’s action films. Rush Hour was a big success and it didn’t even appeal to my own fans,” Chan once said according to Black Film.
Meanwhile, Chan believed a movie like Rumble in the Bronx appealed to his own fanbase. But those fans didn’t enjoy Rush Hour. Chan wanted to be the kind of actor who put out the kinds of movies all types of fans could get behind. He mentioned two other Hollywood stars as being able to unify audiences in a way that he aspired to.
“I want to have one audience like Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks. They have only one audience because from the beginning Asian fans know them. But for me, they know I am action, Hong Kong style. But less fighting, more action, all English they are not ready for it,” Chan said.
Source: Cheat Sheet
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