Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Rivalry With Sylvester Stallone Sparked Desire for Deadlier ‘Terminator 2,’ but James Cameron Dismissed Idea

Arnold Schwarzenegger wanted a bloodier and deadlier Terminator 2: Judgment Day but James Cameron shot him down.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron on the set of 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day'

Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron on the set of ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’TriStar Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

During a panel at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures ahead of a screening of the Terminator sequel, Schwarzenegger said that his rivalry with fellow action star Sylvester Stallone pushed him to want a much different kind of film.


“The reason why it became a big hit was, number one, Jim Cameron. Jim Cameron is a genius writer,” Schwarzenegger said. “He came up with this brilliant idea, even though at the beginning I was suspicious. He said ‘I want to make you a good Terminator.’”

He continued, “I said ‘What do you mean a good Terminator?’ I was killing 68 people in the first one. In the second one I have to kill 150. We go up! Cut their throats and shoot them with a cannon and run them over with a car.’

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I had to outdo Stallone. I said that my whole mission was being number one at killing amounts of people on screen.”

However, Cameron already had an idea of what he wanted for Terminator 2 and shot down Schwarzenegger’s suggestion.

“He said ‘Arnold, stop it. You’re a very sick guy. I am gonna make sure that in Terminator 2, you’re not gonna kill one single person,’” Schwarzenegger recalled.

“I said that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. How can this be Terminator 2 without me killing anyone? At least throw a few token bodies in there.”

Watch Schwarzenegger’s complete livestream in the video below.

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