Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Terminator Update!

I definitely believe that big movies -- and Oscars -- make a difference; that New Mexico's combination of incentives (that have made us so attractive for mid-budget films), facilities (that now make productions like Game and Terminator 4 possible) and an active indie scene represented by the Duke City Shootout, 48 Hour Film Project and Troma Dance crowds have pushed New Mexico firmly into the top five production locations in the US.

But regardless of all that... I'm really looking forward to Terminator 4 -- and the addition of rising star Anton Yelchin is good news too:

Anton Yelchin Cast as Kyle Reese in Terminator 4

We all thought Shia LaBeouf was going to be the next big young male star after he was taken under Spielberg's wing and cast in Disturbia, Transformers, and Indiana Jones IV. But Anton Yelchin may instead beat Shia to the punch in the next few years. After making one hell of a mainstream intro in Alpha Dog and Charlie Bartlett, Anton was cast in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek as a young Chekov. Now he joins McG's upcoming Terminator 4, which is currently gearing up to go into production, as a young Kyle Reese.

Yelchin joins the already cast Christian Bale as John Connor and Sam Worthington as Marcus. In the film, which takes place after the apocalypse at the end of Terminator 3, Reese (Yelchin) is one of the children who has survived the nuclear holocaust and befriends Marcus (Worthington), an early edition of the Terminator cyborg played in previous films by Schwarzenegger. John Connor (Bale), who was the lead character in Terminator 3, now leads the fight to save a decimated civilization against the machines. The character Kyle Reese also showed up in the very first Terminator, being played by Michael Biehn, as the man who was sent back in time in order to impregnate Sarah Connor and thus father John Connor.

Production is scheduled to start in May in Albuquerque, New Mexico and in Los Angeles. Although a screenplay was initially penned by John D. Brancato, Michael Ferris, and David C. Wilson, Oscar-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis has also been in talks to join in order to polish the script before shooting begins. This may be one of the best moves the producers will ever make - Haggis could rework what might have been a awful script into something quite worthy of being remembered in comparison to the other great Terminator films of the past.

So far this revamp definitely sounds like its heading in the right direction. Despite my concerns with McG as director, the casting choices have all been phenomenal. First Bale, then Worthington, and now Yelchin. I just hope this still turns as good as I'm expecting. The original title, Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, was recently dropped and a new title is currently being sought. Terminator 4 is set for release next summer on May 22nd, 2009.

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