James Cameron says Arnold Schwarzenegger is "flat-out wrong" about The Terminator O.J. Simpson myth. Schwarzenegger has told people for years that the Terminator painting hanging in his office originally had Simpson in it. The actor claims that Cameron did the painting and then painted his face over Simpson's when he got the role. However, the director says that is all wrong, and that Simpson wasn't ever even a real possibility to star in the now-classic movie. The director had this to say.
"Let me correct that right now. Arnold is literally just wrong. I know it's hard to imagine! You don't argue with Arnold... Arnold was never offered Reese. O.J. Simpson was never in the mix at all. That was rejected out of hand before it ever got any traction."
As for that famous painting that Arnold Schwarzenegger has talked about for years, it was actually done by James Cameron. But, that's where the similarities in stories end on that. It seems that the former Governor of California never lets the truth get in the way of a good story, especially since he's been telling it for so long. Cameron says he might end up having to go retrieve the aforementioned painting. He explains.
"I didn't make the painting for him. I made the painting for us, for the production, of him as the Terminator. There's no O.J. under that painting. I gifted him that painting after the film, and I'm going to go over to his office and get it back now (laughs). I'm gonna go over there and go, 'Arnold! I'm taking this painting back because you don't appreciate it!'"
As for how O.J. Simpson was brought into the Terminator myth over the years, that comes from Mike Medavoy who ran Orion, according to James Cameron. Medavoy reportedly called the director and said, "'Are you sitting down? I've got this movie cast: O.J. Simpson as The Terminator and Arnold Schwarzenegger as (Kyle) Reese.'" That does seem like an interesting cast, even now, but it wasn't going to work out. Cameron had this to say about the possibility of Simpson starring in the movie.
"(Producer and co-screenwriter) Gale Hurd and I looked at each other like that was the stupidest thing we'd ever heard in our lives. And I told him on that phone call, 'It's not O.J. Simpson. We're not doing that.' And he said, 'Well, will you meet with Arnold Schwarzenegger?'"
James Cameron was "very negative" about the idea of Arnold Schwarzenegger playing Reese. "It didn't seem to make sense to me, he didn't strike me as an articulate guy - I mean, I didn't know him from Adam. I just knew his persona as a kind of body builder," says Cameron. In 1984, not many people knew a lot about Schwarzenegger, other than his body building and Conan the Barbarian. In the end, Cameron decided to meet with him anyway.
"I went to have lunch with him and was utterly charmed by him, found him to be absolutely fascinating and we hit it off completely," said James Cameron about meeting Arnold Schwarzenegger for the first time. Arnold loved the script, but the whole time Cameron was thinking about another role. Cameron says, "And while he's talking I'm thinking, 'He'd make a pretty damn good Terminator. He'd be a human bulldozer!'" And Cameron was right. The world is now waiting to see Schwarzenegger in the role one more time in the upcoming Terminator: Dark Fate. The interview with Cameron was originally conducted by The Los Angeles Times.