Terminator Salvation"All I know is Bale doesn't f*** around ... he doesn't sign up for things unless he believes 100%. He's already Bruce Wayne, he doesn't need to be John Connor." -- McG

Reprising a trilogy is hard work. Reprising one of sci-fi's most heralded and closely critiqued series is near impossible.

That's why the decision to revive 'Terminator' for a fourth (and, almost definitely, more to come) installment was met with mixed emotions. And the announcement that McG would direct received even more passionate outcries -- could the 'Charlie's Angels' guy really go head-to-head with John Connor and Skynet's toughest machines? Well, he has, and we can say from seeing it all first-hand that fans are in for an action-packed ride.

Moviefone was invited to the set of 'Terminator Salvation' in Albuquerque, N.M., last June to see Christian Bale step into John Connors' future-fighting shoes, with Bryce Dallas Howard as his wife, Kate, Anton Yelchin as his father, Kyle Reese, and some new characters played by Sam Worthington, Moon Bloodgood and Common.

Keep reading to see what we learned behind the scenes on the action-packed 'Terminator' set -- as well as interviews with McG, Worthington, Howard, Yelchin, Bloodgood and more -- before the movie hits theaters May 22.


Reprising a trilogy is hard work. Reprising one of sci-fi's most heralded and closely critiqued series is near impossible.

That's why the decision to revive 'Terminator' for a fourth (and, almost definitely, more to come) installment was met with mixed emotions. And the announcement that McG would direct received even more passionate outcries -- could the 'Charlie's Angels' guy really go head-to-head with John Connor and Skynet's toughest machines? Well, he has, and we can say from seeing it all first-hand that fans are in for an action-packed ride.

Terminator Salvation' Photos

    Christian Bale in 'Terminator Salvation'

    Warner Bros.

    Christian Bale and Sam Worthington in 'Terminator Salvation'

    Warner Bros.

    Moon Bloodgood in 'Terminator Salvation'

    Warner Bros.

    Christian Bale in 'Terminator Salvation'

    Warner Bros.

    Common in 'Terminator Salvation'

    Warner Bros.

    Christian Bale in 'Terminator Salvation'

    Warner Bros.

    Christian Bale in 'Terminator Salvation'

    Warner Bros.

    Moon Bloodgood in 'Terminator Salvation'

    Warner Bros.

    Common in 'Terminator Salvation'

    Warner Bros.


Moviefone was invited to the set of 'Terminator Salvation' in Albuquerque, N.M., last June to see Christian Bale step into John Connors' future-fighting shoes, with Bryce Dallas Howard as his wife, Kate, Anton Yelchin as his father, Kyle Reese, and some new characters played by Sam Worthington, Moon Bloodgood and Common.

Peeking at the post-apocalyptic world of 2018, we were introduced to exactly what an ante-Judgment Day future looks like, including sketches and designs for hydrobots, Terminator motorbikes and the transformation from 'T3''s silver space-aged robots to the darker, more industrial-looking Terminators of 'Salvation''s future. We also watched a giant old-school Terminator in action, witnessed some major explosions, heard a few unexpected gunshots in the distance, saw Skynet's headquarters, a ruined Los Angeles, concentration camp-style transports for captured members of the resistance and much, much more.



Keep reading to see what we learned behind the scenes on the action-packed 'Terminator' set -- as well as interviews with McG, Worthington, Howard, Yelchin, Bloodgood and more -- before the movie hits theaters May 22. -- By Maggie Furlong

Where Are We?
For fans fuzzy on the timeline of this new movie, here's what you need to know: 'Salvation' is post-Judgment Day, but pre-T800, and there's not yet time-travel, but it is teased a bit. Also a little insight into John Connor's, um, situation, from director McG himself: "This film is the story of his becoming the leader of the resistance. Don't get me wrong -- he's a psychotic soldier with a death wish, but he's not the leader of the resistance until the button of the movie."

Terminator SalvationBehind Every Great Man ...
Bryce Dallas Howard has really embraced her role as Kate Connor, John's wife. "I'm part of the beginnings of the resistance, and I'm also a physician, and I spend the movie admiring Christian Bale. [Laughs] Not too bad!" But does she know the history? "I'm a huge, massive, insane fan of the franchise. It's been really incredible to immerse myself into the world and get this crash course in what they've envisioned the future to be like. Just speaking as a fan, I can't imagine anyone being let down by what they've come up with."

Love Is In the Air
Sam Worthington plays Marcus Wright, a stranger of unknown origin who teams up with Moon Bloodgood's resistance pilot character Blair Williams. So will we be seeing sparks? "She's a good-looking girl, I'm a pretty average-looking boy ... of course," laughs Worthington. "I think there's levels of romance, I think there's levels of love -- we just kind of toyed with it. You know, you don't want it to be real cheeseball, because I'll be the first one to walk out. So, you kind of play with what level of intimacy you can achieve if you've just met someone, and you're in a war zone."

Anton YelchinBoys and Their Toys
Anton Yelchin, who plays John Connor's father Kyle Reese, was not just a fan of the franchise -- he collected all the merchandise as a kid. "I had everything! I had the Terminator factory kit where you pour little chemicals in and made the Terminators, I had the action figures, I had Arnold in, like, all four stages. [Laughs] I was way into the action figures. It's something that shaped massive amounts of my childhood -- it's such a huge great movie. It's a really big honor ... if we make a movie that's, hopefully, gonna be great, then in the future some kid like me will have those action figures. Damn -- this is 'Terminator'!"

Effects Driven
How many visual effects does it take to make a 'Terminator' movie? Visual Effects Supervisor Charlie Gibson dished: "It's definitely gonna be under 1,000 -- probably between 500 and 1,000 -- which makes it a moderate-to-large size visual effects film these days. But we're trying to really make every shot count and not go crazy, to make it as real as we can."

Summer 2009 Action Movies & Thrillers

    Summer Action Movies

    Lights, camera ... action! When most people think of summer movies, they think fight scenes, chase sequences, awesome superpowers and earsplitting explosions.

    This summer won't disappoint. Not only will we get some high-profile sequels like 'Transformers' and 'Angels & Demons,' but we'll see innovative reboots of the 'X-Men,' 'Terminator' and 'Star Trek' franchises ... plus the G.I. Joe squad, a new Tarantino movie and Johnny Depp -- NOT playing Captain Jack. Check out 11 movies that will have your pulse racing.

    Warner Bros. / Paramount / 20th Century Fox / Paramount

    'X-Men Origins: Wolverine'

    Opening: May 1

    Starring: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Ryan Reynolds

    What It's About: After an 'X-Men' trilogy that was two-parts glorious, the Marvel series goes into rewind with a series of origin prequels, beginning with the formative days of fan favorite Logan/Wolverine (Jackman). The actioner focuses on the clawed hero's clash with Victor Creed/Sabretooth (Schreiber) -- and will no doubt play out better on the big screen than some unfinished bootleg on your computer monitor (ahem).

    More on 'Wolverine':


    Get 'X-Men: The Last Stand':

    20th Century Fox

    'Star Trek'

    Opening: May 8

    Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Eric Bana

    What It's About: J.J. Abrams' 'Star Trek' relaunch goes where no movie has gone before: back to the origins of the U.S.S. Enterprise crew. The film follows James T. Kirk (Pine), Spock (Quinto) and co. as they rise through the Starfleet Academy, embark on the Enterprise's maiden voyage and, of course, save the world from Romulans for the very first time. Judging by positive early buzz, this franchise will most certainly live long and prosper.

    More on 'Star Trek':


    'Star Trek: The Original Series':

    Paramount

    'Angels & Demons'

    Opening: May 15

    Starring: Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer

    What It's About: The follow-up to the controversial 'Da Vinci Code' is based on another mystery-thriller by novelist Dan Brown. This time, religious expert Robert Langdon finds himself in Rome on an action-packed quest to save the Vatican -- and Catholicism -- from being destroyed by a vengeful secret society. Codes are cracked, conspiracy theories are debunked and murder ensues.

    More on 'Angels & Demons':


    Get 'The Da Vinci Code':

    Sony

    'Terminator Salvation'

    Opening: May 21

    Starring: Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Anton Yelchin

    What It's About: The eagerly anticipated fourth installment in the 'Terminator' franchise leaps ahead to the year 2018, in which John Connor (Bale) has turned from a wussy kid (no offense, Edward Furlong/Nick Stahl) into a badass, battle-scarred foot soldier in the war against Skynet. Though director McG lost the battle to score an R rating, the flick looks to be loaded with action, cyborgs and jaw-dropping twists -- but not, alas, with the much-hyped shots of a topless Moon Bloodgood.

    More on 'Terminator Salvation':


    Get 'Terminator' Movies:

    'Sarah Connor Chronicles':

    Warner Bros.

    'The Taking of Pelham
    1 2 3'


    Opening: June 12

    Starring: Denzel Washington, John Travolta, James Gandolfini

    What It's About: The 1974 thriller about a heist man who hijacks an NYC subway gets a 21st-century re-rub with Washington and Travolta mixing it up as MTA hero and criminal, respectively (the actors also sport remarkably similar facial hair -- impending plot point?). Gandolfini joins the fun in his first major post-'Sopranos' role, this time on the right side of the law as the mayor of New York.

    More on 'Pelham':


    Get 'Pelham' (1974):

    Sony

    'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen'

    Opening: June 24

    Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Rainn Wilson

    What It's About: It's right there in the title -- the 'Fallen,' that'd be Megatron, comes back for 'Revenge.' Duh. But in case you need a little refresher: Megatron is revived and the Decepticons return to take over the earth ... and get all evil on Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf). Sam and his sexy-hot mechanically inclined gal pal Mikaela (Fox) are still teamed up with the Autobots. Sneak peeks hint at even bigger robot battles and even more massive destruction.

    More on 'Revenge of the Fallen':


    Get 'Transformers':

    Paramount

    'Public Enemies'

    Opening: July 1

    Starring: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard

    What It's About: Acting heavyweights Johnny Depp and Christian Bale find themselves on opposite sides of the law in Michael Mann's gritty tale of charismatic Depression-era bank robber John Dillinger (Depp) and the dashing FBI agent (Bale) charged with catching him. With gunfights, jailbreaks and betrayals galore -- plus one "Lady in Red" and socioeconomic relevance to boot -- this period shoot-'em-up promises to be both entertaining and timely.

    More on 'Public Enemies':

    Universal

    'All Good Things'

    Opening: July 24

    Starring: Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst, Jeffrey Dean Morgan

    What It's About: Gosling plays a New York real-estate heir (think a young Donald Trump, with better hair) who gets involved with a woman from the proverbial wrong side of the tracks (Dunst). When she mysteriously disappears, a down-on-his luck detective (Morgan) stumbles upon the truth ... and a lot more than he bargained for. Based loosely on a real story, the movie marks the feature directorial debut of Andrew Jarecki ('Capturing the Friedmans').

    More on 'All Good Things':

    Kevin Winter, Getty Images/ Jean Baptiste, WireImage.com

    'G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra'

    Opening: Aug. 7

    Starring: Dennis Quaid, Channing Tatum, Marlon Wayans

    What It's About: Kids of the '80s, welcome back these "real American heroes" from the cartoon/toy franchise/comic book series; this movie explores the back story of the evil Cobra organization, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Cobra Commander. Ever wondered what Duke (Tatum), Hawk (Quaid), Ripcord (Wayans), Scarlett (Rachel Nichols) and the Baroness (Sienna Miller) might look like in the flesh? Well, now you'll know -- and knowing, as they say, is half the battle.

    More on 'G.I. Joe':

    Paramount



Welcome to Skynet
"We're saying that Skynet is centered in San Francisco," explains production designer Martin Laing. "You know, Silicon Valley and all those naughty boys up there -- they're obviously making robots that take over the world -- they just haven't told us yet. [Laughs] This is the first time you get to actually see Skynet -- in the previous movies, you get to see a little glimpse of the world that they're in, but ... we're into the whole mythology of that world."


Machine Mastermind
Our visitor badges for the day featured an almost saint-like holograph, and were tagged with the code name Project Angel. Everyone was very hush-hush about what exactly that meant, but we'll go out on a limb and guess that Serena (played by Helena Bonham Carter), the woman at the center of Skynet's machine-making, has something to do with it.

Surprise Us
"I like the pressure," admits star Moon Bloodgood. "I think people are gonna underestimate the movie. I hope they walk in like, 'Whatever' ... I think they're gonna be really surprised. McG just has a vision that's completely different from the other 'Terminators.' He doesn't disrespect the storylines, [but] it looks different, it feels different. Not saying it'll ever be better than the first three ... well, the first two [laughs] ... but people are going to be surprised, because it's a different take."

Dressing the Part
When creating the wardrobe for the post-apocalyptic world of 'Salvation,' the costume designers were forced to ask themselves what would be left to work with 15 years after the bomb went off. What they came up with is a mixture of leather bomber jackets and military pieces, tactical protective gear and vintage pieces for a street aesthetic that still has an edge of cool.

In Memory
Four-time Oscar-winning makeup and visual effects guru Stan Winston passed away just days before our visit, so his contribution to the movie, the 'Terminator' franchise and the business was fresh on everyone's minds. "I want to dedicate the film to [Stan Winston]," McG declared. "It just feels appropriate ... he invented it, we're here working on it. I mean, from 'Iron Man' to 'Edward Scissorhands,' of course 'Aliens,' 'Predator' and Velociraptors on down, it's incredible. It's such a huge loss -- his imprint is so firm on this."

Film Wizardry
The building of a post-Judgment Day world is not just costuming, set pieces and special effects. The film itself has been treated with a special solution -- something called the Oz Process -- which involves adding three times the amount of silver that's normally used in development, giving the picture a certain otherworldly patina.

Bryce Dallas HowardTraining Day
Bryce Dallas Howard had only just joined the cast in Albuquerque when we were visiting, so she had her work cut out for her as far as target practice. While we were watching the crew set up for a midnight shot that she was not part of, we heard loud gunshots fired nearby. "I hope that was us!," laughed McG, which he then confirmed. "That was Bryce, training with a shotgun -- which is why she signed up for the movie. [Laughs]"

His Short Story
"My name's just short for McGinty. It's not some catchy Hollywood nickname," insisted McG. "My name is Joseph McGinty Nichol -- I've been called McG since the day I was born. It just sounds like 'Man, what an a**hole!' I completely understand that, but to change it now would be fraudulent. I understand everybody hates it, but there's just nothing I can do about it."

The Surreal Life
"I play a guy who kind of wakes up in this world, and he's trying to figure out who he is and what this world is all about," dished Worthington. "He's a searcher -- I look at it like 'Wizard of Oz' -- it's Dorothy getting on to the yellow brick road, and no matter what that life was, this is a different life." But it's not all idyllic, of course. "You get blown up, napalmed, shot at. That's the nature of a 'Terminator' movie ... you know what you're getting into."



Seeing Is Believing
What does McG say to critics? "You either like it or you don't -- the proof's in the pudding, as they say. Anybody can flap their lips and say, 'This is gonna be the greatest thing since sliced bread,' but all I know is Bale doesn't f*** around ... he doesn't sign up for things unless he believes 100%. He's already Bruce Wayne, he doesn't need to be John Connor. He believes in what the picture can actually be or he wouldn't be here. The guy doesn't know any other way than total immersion in what he's doing."

McGA Ratings Game
In between dinner with McG and the cast and watching a scene outside Skynet film into the wee hours of the morning, we were treated to a special sneak peek of eight action-packed, never-before-seen minutes of the movie, in the comfort of McG's decked out Airstream trailer. There were explosions, fight scenes and, yes, a peek at Moon Bloodgood's naked body. But don't get too excited: that scene has since been edited to account for the movie's new sponsor-mandated PG-13 rating.

Thank You, Sir, May We Have Another?
With the tease of more to come from this franchise, are we guaranteed a second and even third new 'Terminator' movie to add to the series? "We've sketched out the stories for 2 and 3, there's no doubt about it," admitted McG. "But I would never be so bold to think we're gonna get there. That's impossible -- I mean, I don't know if they're gonna make another 'Superman' picture. I don't know if you guys want it. But I sure promise you they had designs on making three of them."