Interview: Actor Gabriel Luna On Terminator: Dark Fate

To celebrate the release of Terminator: Dark Fate, the official ‘third’ film in James Cameron’s series, we had the pleasure of sitting down with some of the cast of the film.

Cameron returns to the franchise as producer, while Linda Hamilton is also back as Sarah Connor, starring alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger.

We spoke to the newest Terminator, Gabriel Luna, to discuss the film, the unstoppable REV-9 and how he got into the mind of a machine…

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Zavvi: Congratulations on the film. As such a huge fan of the series, this really does feel like the ‘third’ movie. How great was it to be involved with the film, and with James Cameron and Tim Miller?

Gabriel: It all starts with Jim. It’s his vision of doing this film right, inviting Linda back when she surely didn’t have to come back, but she did. I remember, even as a fan, when that news broke out that Jim was back and Tim (Miller) was directing, I was already so excited. And for me, I never dreamed me that this would be the case, that I’d be sitting here with you talking about having been in the movie. Wow.

21st Century Fox

Zavvi: How did you nab the role of the REV-9? Was there a long audition process?

Gabriel: It’s been this modern myth that’s been running parallel to our lives this entire time and has now, somehow, intersected with my own, which is crazy. To now be doing combat training and acting with the T-800 is really, really exciting. I’ve been struggling to put it all into words, really. I kind of knew what I was auditioning for because my reps had some inside information, but it was kind of a blank page. So I always prepare as if they’re not going to choose me, even in an audition.

For this one, we did a scene from Collateral with Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx, where Cruise is the assassin and that was the part I played; a man who’s very charming but also goes cold, and can also be like a sledgehammer when the time came. So I think with the REV-9, we hopefully struck a good balance between the two.

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Zavvi: We’ve seen from the trailers the extraordinary capabilities of the new Terminator. Can you tell us about how you physically and mentally got into shape to play him?

Gabriel: Yeah, this one is a bit of a hybrid of the two due to the nature of the machine. The endo-skeleton is like a carbon-based alloy, which Tim and Jim described as much lighter, and it has many more points of articulation so that it’s more flexible and it can move faster. Then, on top, it has the liquid metal that can mimic any human it touches, which makes it really unique.

In terms of the feel, I looked to Bruce Lee a lot because he was a great action star, and so efficient with combat and in all of his teachings. It was all about no excess, no flourishes, and that’s what I tried to do. I tried to build my body to be kind of a good hybrid to maintain my agility and mobility, but still gain mass and be formidable and intimidating, getting larger, so I ended up putting on six or seven kilos for the film. I also wanted to make Jim and Arnold especially proud as I think so much of them, and wanted them to know I was working hard.

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Zavvi: Some of the Terminators in the previous films haven’t felt as threatening or intimidating as Arnold and Robert Patrick. How does the REV-9 buck the trend?

Gabriel: There’s a real terror to him, which is great, and you immediately get a sense that he won’t stop because of how focused he is on his goal. ‘It can’t be bargained with or reasoned with”’ is the quote, right? You have to make people feel like he’s breathing down your neck, and you feel the dread straight away.

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Zavvi: There’s some great scenes between you and Mackenzie Davis (Grace) through the film, which looked pretty intense. Did you both want to make sure you did as much of the stunt/fight work possible?

Gabriel: Absolutely. We rehearsed all the fight scenes over, and over, and over for the first month and a half at every moment we could. Even when she (Mackenzie) was off, we’d still schedule extra rehearsals in to keep it all as sharp and as tight as possible. Her schedule was so crazy with everything, but she still made herself available to me when we needed to get together to rehearse.

We got to throw it down in the factory, with the sledgehammer and steam drill. I loved the blade work. They had these black rubber blades for one scene, then the amazing wizards do their magic. Mackenzie’s a really phenomenal actor, and then to see her do this role which has so many different permutations is great. Even though she admits she isn’t that physically, when you see how she has transformed her body and the work she put it, it’s amazing.

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Zavvi: Why do you think Tim Miller was the right director to carry on Jim’s legacy for the ‘third’ film?

Gabriel: I think he’s great because he comes from the the effects background, so he knows what he needs before he needs it. I was concerned just because you never know if these things will come together, and especially on the time-frame we were on. Was it possible that we’re going to deliver this film two weeks early? Because we need to be two weeks early for China. Is this possible by October? And then to see it last week, and to see what we Tim and the team did is incredible. Those guys live in an infinite world, you know; they can put the camera as a pinpoint, and it can be anywhere in the environment.

21st Century Fox

Zavvi: And finally, there’s some pessimism amongst hardcore Terminator fans given how the previous film since T2 were received. For those still unsure of the film and its quality, what would you tell them they can expect?

Gabriel: Sarah Connor is back! She’s the hero of the whole story, and that story is back, and I think that’s enough alone to get people excited. I think once they see it, I think the word of mouth will spread in a great way. I’m confident that once they see it, they’ll have fun. And they’ll go tell their friends, and I think the female audience will go tell their female friends because there’s a great movie and characters for them to watch as well, and lots for new audiences, too. So across the board, there’s something for everyone. I’m just so thankful to be part of it.

Terminator: Dark Fate will be released in UK cinemas on 23rd October.

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Scott J. Davis

Scott J. Davis

Contributing Writer

Scott is a freelance film and TV writer mainly found at HeyUGuys, where he covers both red carpets and junkets for the site. Scott can also be found writing for Fandom, Cineworld, The People's Movies and more when he's not in a dark screening room...