When The Terminator was released in 1984, it was not an immediate success.
Reviews were mixed, and the box office return was solid but far from spectacular.
It finished the year in 21st place on the US box office receipts list, below Revenge of the Nerds and Splash, and well below the biggest films of the year – Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid, Gremlins and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
But the film found new life when it was finally released on VHS and quickly gained a cult following, where it remains to this day.
Camera icon Michael Biehn on stage at the Supanova Pop Culture Expo. Credit: Ewan Ly
Michael Biehn played the pivotal role of Kyle Reese, a soldier from the future who was sent back in time to stop a Terminator (arguably Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best achievement). Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) is the future baby mom of the human resistance leader in the robot apocalypse.
On the eve of his appearance this weekend at the Supanova Pop Culture Expo in Perth, Biehn recalls looking at the Terminator script for the first time and, among other things, seeing that the film’s vision of time travel required everyone who did it to buck. Naked.
“I was sent the script, and my agent, who was a good agent – had Mel Gibson and Richard Gere – and he said, ‘Read this and tell me what you think,'” Biehn recalled.
“And honestly, I didn’t look at it and thought, ‘Wow, isn’t this great?’ I thought it looked a bit silly.
Camera icon Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator. Credit: unknown/provided by the subject
“So I called my agent, and I went to the audition anyway, and I met (director) James Cameron, and he offered me the part, and you can’t be around Jim Cameron for long without realizing that there’s something really special about that.” is up to him…
“Around that time, I heard that Arnold was going to be in it, and nobody, and I mean nobody, except maybe Arnold, of course, thought that man was going to be an actor because of his accent.”
Although Biehn initially thought the film’s plot was a bit “ridiculous”, his faith in Cameron was well-placed, and he went on to star in another iconic film for the director – Aliens.
In recent weeks, a Google engineer has been speaking publicly about his fear that the company’s AI had become aware, and now Biehn doesn’t think The Terminator is so far-fetched.
“I saw that article (about the Google engineer) … and I often joke with people that ‘Jim and I tried to warn you in 1984, but nobody listened to us,'” he laughs.
Vang Biehn recently appeared in The Mandalorian and The Walking Dead, the Weasley twins from the Harry Potter franchise, and many more at the Supanova Pop Culture Expo at the Perth Convention Center, held Saturday and Sunday.