So… John Connor isn’t the savior we thought he was?
From the new Terminator Genisys trailer released Monday, it seems Skynet finally figured out their solution to achieving world domination: compromise the hero before he can save the world. While we still only have a glimpse of the revamped world that producers David Ellison and Dana Goldberg hope will ignite enough worldwide fervor to generate an entire trilogy, it’s clear this isn’t your father’s Terminator. For one thing the original Terminator is the age of your father—or rather your grandfather—and Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor have much bigger issues to contend with then just saving the world. They need to figure out if their son isn’t the progeny they thought he was. It’s a lot to take in. For a little gut check on what’s to come, we checked in with Jason Clarke, the man we can now call John Connor, to get his take on what it’s like to play a character that is guaranteed to confound audience expectations.
EW: So it turns out John Connor may not be the hero we thought he was. What do you think of this plot twist?
JASON CLARKE: To quote Spinal Tap: “It turns it up to 11.” It takes it from a typical machine chasing the good guys to giving it a bit more complexity within the same realm.
How was it for you as an actor to play the good and the bad of one guy?
Not just the good and bad of one man but the good and the bad of man and machine. Technology has become more and more engrained inside of us and John becomes the ultimate realization of that. It was a lot of fun to play and it was a lot of fun as a group to work out what the boundaries are of that. A lot of it they are still designing.
Did you have to adopt your own rules for how John Connor moves as a machine?
Pretty much. When John gets shot, he experiences the pain, and even though he is a machine at that point, he hasn’t experienced the benefits of what he can do. It was a kind of learn as you go. He was aware of it, but he was still experiencing it, still harnessing it, and learning how to dictate it.
Did you change how you move? Did your gait change?
It did a little bit in terms of focusing, particularly fighting with Arnold. But I made a decision to make a freer John. He’s freed from being a messiah, freed from the burden of knowing the future is set and nothing can change it forever. He’s full of possibilities now that he’s not fully machine, not fully human. He’s something else. He’s still evolving. There are still surprises as to what exactly John is ultimately. Is he controllable or not? He’s the last throw of the dice by Skynet and he is something that is a lot more than we’ve ever seen but nobody really knows just where it can go.
Since the Internet is always such a hotbed of hate and anger…
[Laughs] It’s like the Salem witch hunt, isn’t it.
So I’m sure this trailer will be met with some naysayers. What do you say to any of the fans to reassure?
I’d say, just hang on. Don’t turn off too soon or you’ll miss the ride—literally, you know. Just bear with it. It does pay off.