Date: September, 1991
By: Jenny Cooney
While Arnie eases off this time around, Linda Hamilton's new version of Sarah Connor is an altogether tougher affair. Jenny Cooney hears a tale of madness and cruelty...
"I was at the Cannes Film Festival and I'd checked my gun in at the front desk. And when it was handed back to me it accidentally fired through to the next room and I went in and saw that a man was killed and a woman was stopping breathing."
Linda Hamilton recounts what is, fortunately, a bad dream she had not long after finishing the gruelling endurance course that is now known as Terminator 2: Judgment Day. This time around, Hamilton is again female lead Sarah Connor, with the lonely waitress of the original now transformed into the muscle-bound fighter of the sequel. A process which clearly had a shattering effect on the 34-year-old actress.
"I woke up," she recalls of the Cannes dream, "and I begged God for forgiveness, even though I knew it was a dream. I wept and prayed for about 20 minutes. The film really took its toll."
To effect this new harder-than-the-rest look for the movie, Hamilton went through a personal revolution under the expert eye of ex-Israeli commando Uzi Gal.
"I learned about guns, some judo, a lot of military tactics," recalls Hamilton. "Lots of freeing hostages and coping with terrorist situations and changing magazines and positions when you're out of mags. It was very intense. It was not pleasant and I dreaded it, but I knew that in the film Sarah Connor had not had an easy seven years and there was no wimping out."
In addition to this military training, Hamilton also worked out three hours a day, six days a week for several months prior to the shoot and then well into production.
"I think I'm pretty lucky genetically and have a lot of muscle, but my baby was only a year old when I started training so I had a little extra work to do," she recalls. "I've trimmed down now because I was a little overbuilt for my taste. Photographers could see my chest muscles rippling and it just wasn't feminine."
The year-old baby, now two, will not, however, be getting a chance to see his mother in movie action for a good ten years at least.
"I want to do movies that my son can see and will be proud of," says Hamilton, "and when he is quite a bit older I'll be proud to take him to see this one. I don't believe, though, that an eight-year-old or even a 12-year-old should see this film because they just don't have the ability to pick their way through it like we do."
And, although physically and mentally exhausted by the end of the sixmonth shoot, Hamilton now says the movie was, overall, an exhilarating experience.
"I knew what she was going to be before I went into it and the harder the job is, the more joyful it is for me," she claims. "You do the job and you glory in it as you do it. So yes, I was drained physically and emotionally, but as happy as I have ever been and riding high on what I had to do. And I don't believe any women have done what I got to do in this film, in terms of just carrying it so far with my body. Not just muscle alone, but hauling myself around to the point where I lost my hearing and couldn't walk for three days. Amazing..."