Linda Hamilton likes to draw a clear distinction between herself and onscreen alter ego Sarah Connor, but a bit of the character’s take-no-prisoners attitude rubbed off on her during an on-set clash with director James Cameron.
Speaking with The Daily Beast about the latest entry in the franchise, “Terminator: Dark Fate,” which hit theaters this weekend, the actor recalled getting into a war of words with Cameron, who’d later become her ex-husband.
While filming the climactic sequence in the first “Terminator” film when Sarah defeats the cyborg assassin, Hamilton said she asked to see a playback of her performance, which apparently rubbed the director the wrong way.
“Jim and I didn’t not get along, but there was one moment where I’d asked something of him. I wanted to see playback,” she told The Daily Beast. “A lot of actors are addicted but I never needed to go and look at my performance to make sure I’d gotten it. Never. Until one day.”
Hamilton said she wanted to take a closer look because the machinery used to operate the enemy robot “actually kind of clipped my throat,” leading her to question whether she’d nailed the scene.
“Jim was like, ‘We don’t have time for this, let’s move on,’” Hamilton recalled.
“I went nuts,” she added. “I took him off set but, of course, there’s no ceiling so the entire crew could hear. And I shrieeeked at him.”
“Like, ‘If you want to see a human being on that screen, you better start treating me like a human being!’ I mean, I completely went off,” the actor continued. “When I finished that film, I was like, well, that director is definitely rooting for the machines.”
The two, of course, would mend fences and go on to collaborate on the much-lauded sequel “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” only to then embark on a seven-year romantic relationship.
Hamilton and Cameron, who share daughter Josephine together, eventually married in 1997, but split shortly after amid speculation that the director was having an affair.
The actor previously opened up about being “terribly mismatched as a couple” and how she believed Cameron fell in love with the character of Sarah Connor instead of her. Hamilton has never remarried and candidly revealed she’s been celibate for at least 15 years during her break from acting.
Elsewhere in The Daily Beast interview, the actor remembers not seeing eye to eye with the Oscar winner when it came to Sarah’s hairstyle: Cameron wanted Hamilton to cut her hair short in the second film, while she advocated to keep it long.
“You don’t have to look like a guy to be strong,” she recalled telling him.
“For some reason I won that argument,” Hamilton continued. “It wasn’t even a vanity thing. And then later on, when she became this icon of strength and you know, the legend of Sarah Connor, I realized that it’s only because I didn’t cut my hair that she became what she did in the minds and hearts of the audience. That was a picture of feminine strength.”