THE PLANK MAY 27, 2009
Like in the
franchise itself, history has been changed, and the original script for Terminator: Salvation ended up getting gutted.... The biggest
change came when [director] McG flew to the UK to talk to Christian Bale about
starring in the fourth Terminator movie. The director wanted the Batman
star to play Marcus Wright, the cyborg protagonist of the script. But
Bale focused on another part: John Connor. The only problem is that
John Connor had about three minutes of screen time in the entire film;
most of Connor's moments were played offscreen. In the original script
John Connor was the secretive leader of the Resistance. He lived on the
HQ sub, and almost no one saw his face, so as to keep him hidden from
the robots. Connor made radio addresses and existed as a legend for the
fighting men and women of the Resistance, but in the original script
Connor didn't show up onscreen until the last minutes of the movie.... [Bale] had something else
up his sleeve: massive rewrites to beef up the John Connor role....
The script that ended up getting shot never
quite finds anything for John Connor to do. If you were to remove
Connor from the film, relegating him once again to radio voice over,
almost none of the film's plot would be changed. It's likely that the
new Connor scenes were the work of Jonathan Nolan, who did do a lot of
writing on the film, but who was denied credit by the WGA. The reason
would be that all of the work Nolan did was cosmetic - adding Connor
scenes that had no bearing on the film's structure or plot.
There's a good deal more for any readers interested, including the considerably bolder (though highly problematic) ending that also wound up getting scrapped.
I found this news interesting in part because I had a short interview a while back with Pete Docter, director of Pixar's Up (my review will be posted Friday; short version: terrific), and one of the topics we discussed was the far greater creative control that writers and directors have in animation generally and at Pixar in particular. Accomodating divas who want the entire film rewritten so that the tiny role they're interested in becomes the lead just isn't a part of their portfolio.