Linda Hamilton considered the mother of the future by fans of her portrayal of Sarah Connor in THE TERMINATOR and TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY is one of the nicest and most intelligent women you would ever want to meet. The actress just wrapped up a successful season on NBC’s CHUCK, and is ready for more.
ASSIGNMENT X continued our chat with Ms. Hamilton fresh off the set of her new film, a thriller called RIGHT NEXT DOOR. We found out a lot of back-story on her involvement with THE TERMINATOR franchise, why there is such a resurgence in interest, and whether she would ever be willing to play Sarah Connor again.
ASSIGNMENT X: There has been some talk about a TERMINATOR 5. If there was a way for Sarah to come back would you return to the franchise?
LINDA HAMILTON: If it made sense and if it wasn’t just ‘a wanting to make a whole bunch of money so I’ll try this one more time’ kind of thing. If it made sense character wise, and if I was playing a Sarah Connor that’s close to my actual age and not trying to look thirty years younger. If it’s reasonable and it makes sense for the character, then yes. Yes I would. However, the greatest piece of that puzzle was James Cameron. He made it work. He’s the genius. I wouldn’t be interesting in doing something that didn’t have the same value on every level. It would be hard to create something that I would be interested in unless it’s James Cameron. I love the franchise, but I don’t want to beat it into the ground or be compared to myself thirty years before and fail miserably. I don’t want to do that to the franchise.
AX: Have you seen the other two TERMINATOR films that you were not in, and what was your reaction?
HAMILTON: Yes I have. They were what they were, but I was hoping for more.
AX: For me personally as a viewer it felt like the heart and soul was missing once Sarah Connor wasn’t part of it anymore.
HAMILTON: Thank you for saying that! I think McG made the fourth film about people. He had Bryce Dallas Howard in there, but she wasn’t in there enough. He was trying to get the movies back to that heart and soul. McG has the greatest heart, and he’s the nicest guy. He’s the kind of boss you want to please. He’s just the nicest guy! When you think about it, how many movie franchises end up without the person or people you care about and that you were watching to see the characters develop in the first place?
AX: Were you approached for TERMINATOR 3?
HAMILTON: I was. Mario Kassar and Andy Vajna came to see me and told me it was coming back and I felt pretty incorruptible at that time. I was doing my best to get away from Sarah Connor, and the iconoclastic kind of character. Truly an actress wants to play everybody – all kinds of characters. I was working hard to distance myself from Sarah Connor, so I could play funny women and incompetent women. [Laughs] However, if it had been there in the script I would have been interested, but my part just wasn’t there at all. They had written a rather small part where Sarah dies. There was no time to mourn and everybody is on the run and I just viewed it as a diminished return so I saw no reason to do it.
AX: Of course, the version we ended up with seemed off the cuff with Sarah just dying off camera of cancer at some point in the past.
HAMILTON: I had to go to the movie to find out that Sarah died of Leukemia.
AX: Then you have THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES where T3 is a pocket universe that never really happened.
HAMILTON: True. That’s the greatest thing about a franchise that deals with time travel. You interrupt anything and intervene at any point and it changes everything.
AX: Did you ever get to talk to Lena Heady when they were doing CHRONICLES?
HAMILTON: No. I wish I had. I love her to death, and I think it’s really hard to follow in someone’s footsteps like that. I had been on stage doing a play version of LAURA, a film noir movie that Gene Tierney won an Academy Award for that part, and all that the reviewers could say that I was no Gene Tierney. [Laughs] So I know what it’s like to walk in the shoes of someone who has so established a character. It’s an unfair kind of thing and I think she was just great!
AX: Have you seen much of a return on all of the various TERMINATOR merchandise that your likeness has been a part of?
HAMILTON: I’ve never profited from that franchise. You would be amazed at how little money it produced for me. There were no residuals, and both of the films I did had companies that went bankrupt, Orion and Carlco. It’s not about the fame – it’s about the very nature of Sarah Connor who is a savior. I know people don’t necessarily buy it was the truth, but I go out in the world for all of these years and people stop me and say, “Hey I Love you!” [Laughs] It’s kind of an insidious thing because they think of me as the person who saved the future. It’s subtle how it works on people, but I just go out and people treat me like I’m a hero. It’s a wonderful feeling and it’s really great to be Linda Hamilton. I really think it’s because on some level that character I played is working on them in their subconscious.
AX: Though this might be a stretch, have you and Ron Perlman ever been approached to do some kind of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST sequel – even though your character would have to come back from the ‘dead’ for it?
HAMILTON: The fans will never give up on that idea. Even though at this point I would feel like a geriatric Catherine Chandler. [Laughs] But that’s what makes fans great, they’re blind to your flaws. They’re blind to the fact you are aging. The fans definitely, but no one else has thought of going on with that.
AX: Is there still a large fan base for the series?
HAMILTON: I actually went to a BEAUTY AND THE BEAST convention last summer in San Diego. The group is getting smaller and smaller. The message of love and compassion and art is what I think enflames the fans as much as the love story. Those fans are amazing loyal, but right now there’s several generations that never saw it. My own children at 18 and 21 are sophisticated in a way that I couldn’t even show them BEAUTY AND THE BEAST because they’ve seen so many shows like 24 – shows that are so sophisticated and smart that they would laugh me out of the house. It was so ’80’s. [Laughs] I haven’t seen it since I left it, but I have the box set, so some day.
AX: What can you tell me about your new movie you just shot RIGHT NEXT DOOR?
HAMILTON: It has a wonderfully crafted story. I loved the writing and the way the story was crafted. It’s a character study as much as it is a psychological thriller. I felt I really had to participate because of the writers’ and directors’ great effort. I was a really big fan of the script. Sometimes, it’s not even about the character one is playing, as it is really wanting to be a part of something. This story goes in directions that are so antithetical to the way films are done with huge body counts and bloody bits. This one is a finely tuned character study that went in a completely unexpected direction.
AX: You also did a movie recently called REFUGE?
HAMILTON: Yes, it’s making it’s way around the film festivals now. We’ve been accepted into two of them. It is written and directed by Mark Medoff who did CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD. He’s a Tony Award winning playwright. This was one of the best parts I’ve ever had in my career. We made it for about two dollars. It was heartbreaking everyday, the lack of money. My character is a fundamentalist Christian who by accident of design, we don’t know, kills her husband in the beginning. We don’t see it happen, but at that exact moment a fellow comes along with really bad timing. His motorcycle has run out of gas and I take him hostage. We’re in an RV, and we take the trailer on the road. It turns into a love story between myself, this young guy, and the cadaver of my husband. It’s a road trip movie, and a May/December romance. [Laughs] It was a brilliant script, so we’ll see what happens!
Click on the link for PART 1 of AX’s EXCLUSIVE LINDA HAMILTON INTERVIEW where she chats about her role on CHUCK
CLICK HERE for AX’s exclusive interview with actress Mekenna Melvin
CLICK HERE for more exclusive CHUCK reviews and interviews from ASSIGNMENT X