Terminator update: casting news and a change in producers

Terminator update: casting news and a change in producers January 27, 2014

It’s been a while since I last posted any news here about the new Terminator films, so here’s my catch-up post.

As of last week, the most recent bit of news is that Megan Ellison, the producer who got this next round of films started in the first place, has pretty much detached herself from the franchise and left it in the hands of her brother David, who has more experience making big-budget popcorn fare.

It’s not too surprising that Megan, who will retain an executive producer credit, has pulled out of financing the cyborg reboot. To judge from the other films she has produced, Megan has always been more interested in the sort of director-driven films that win lots of critical acclaim; two weeks ago, she even became the first woman — and only the third producer of any gender — to receive two Best Picture Oscar nominations in the same year. (The films of hers that got the nods were Her and American Hustle, the latter of which happens to feature Terminator Salvation co-star Christian Bale.)

David, on the other hand, has been involved with the latest installments of the Star Trek, Jack Ryan and Mission: Impossible franchises as well as World War Z, so the Terminator series would seem to be right up his alley.

Apart from that, there was also some casting news last month. Director Alan Taylor has tapped Jason Clarke (pictured above) to play John Connor and Emilia Clarke (pictured here) to play his mother, Sarah Connor. This means that, for the first time ever, both of the Connors will be played by actors who have a surname in common, just as the Connors do.

It’s worth noting that Jason Clarke is currently 44 years old, while Emilia Clarke — the actress playing his mother — is only 26. It’s unclear to me at this point whether the new film, which reportedly bears the working title Terminator: Genesis, will completely reboot the franchise or tie in to the existing movies on some level, but on the original Terminator timeline, John Connor was born in 1985 and had conquered the machines by 2029, i.e. when he was 44 years old, so it seems likely that Jason Clarke is playing the John Connor of the future, while Emilia Clarke is playing the Sarah Connor of the present or even the past. (In the original film, which took place in 1984, Sarah Connor was 18 years old but the actress playing her was 27.)

One other fun trivia note: Emilia Clarke has previously worked with another Sarah Connor, i.e. her Game of Thrones co-star Lena Headey, who starred in the TV series The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008-2009). And Jason Clarke has worked with another John Connor, i.e. Christian Bale, who starred in Terminator Salvation the same year he appeared with Clarke in Public Enemies (2009).

Finally, Variety reported a couple weeks ago that several actors were testing for the part of John Connor’s father Kyle Reese. Two months ago the producers were said to be looking at recognizable names like Tom Hardy and Garrett Hedlund, but now the list consists of “actors still building a pedigree” such as Boyd Holbrook, Thomas Cocquerel, Wilson Bethel, Sam Reid and Jai Courtney. The IMDb doesn’t have birthdates for Cocquerel or Reid, but the others are all between 27 and 32 years old. Michael Biehn was 27 when he first played Kyle in the original film.

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