25 things you (probably) didn’t know about Terminator 2
terminator 2 chase scene screengrab

It’s hard to believe that The Terminator franchise – one of the most beloved in action cinema – has been around for so long

But this weekend (July 2) the second – and most critically acclaimed – instalment in the series celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Remember those ahead-of-their-time special effects, jaw dropping action sequences, and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s glistening, naked bod?

Here’s 25 facts you (probably) didn’t know about Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

1. It improved upon its predecessor


Don’t just take our word for it, ask the Academy: before Mad Max: Fury Road came along, T2 was the only sequel to win an Academy Award when the previous instalments had received no nomination.

2. You can see how long it took to shoot

Edward Furlong – who played John Connor –  visibly aged during filming, and appears much younger in some scenes. His voice also began to break during filming and had to be pitched to one level in post.

3. Schwarzenegger was paid $21,429 per word

With his fee at around $15 million, and only 700 words of dialogue spoken, that works out to about £15,876 per word in modern day money. For those wondering, “Hasta la vista, baby” cost £63,503.

4. But he still had trouble remembering them

Despite being paid all of that money, for the scene where the Terminator tells Sarah Connor about the history of Skynet, Schwarzenegger reportedly read his lines from a card taped to the car’s windscreen.

5. But that’s still not as expensive as the T-1000

t-1000 effects gif

To bring the T-1000 to life, Industrial Light and Magic’s staff had to grow from six members to 36. $5.5 million was spent on the effects, and it took eight months to complete the final three and a half minutes of screen time. That’s about £1,164,202 per minute!

6. It features “the most accurate depiction of a nuclear blast”

According to several U.S. federal nuclear testing labs, the film features “the most accurate depiction of a nuclear blast ever created for a fictional motion picture” in Sarah Connor’s ‘nuclear nightmare’ scene.

7. But they used some unorthodox materials to achieve it

Some of the materials used in the miniature Los Angeles model that mimicked all the destroyed masonry were crackers and Shredded Wheat. After each take, it would take an average two days to set the model up to shoot again.

8. Schwarzenegger used an old friend as a weapon

The mini-gun used in the film was the same mini-gun that was used in 1987’s Predator, which also starred the Austrian action hero.

9. Director James Cameron called stunts on the fly

The original script did not have the top of the truck being ripped off during the chase through the storm drain, but when the director arrived on location it was found that the cab wouldn’t fit under an overpass. Cameron decided then that the roof was going to come off.

10. The camera crew refused to shoot a certain shot

When pilot Charles A. Tamburro flew a helicopter under an overpass in the final chase scene (which he actually did!), the camera crew refused to film it because of the high risk involved. James Cameron took it upon himself to film it with the help of the camera car driver.

11. Arnie spent an age in make-up

Terminator 2 - screengrab

You wouldn’t think of an all-out action hero spending too much time in make-up, but the ‘damaged Terminator look’ in the climax of the film took five hours to apply and an hour to remove.

12. And it wasn’t exactly ‘traditional’ make-up

The make-up artists mixed KY Jelly into Schwarzenegger’s make-up for his Terminator in ‘normal’ mode, to give him that slightly synthetic looking sheen.

13. The first trailer was comprised entirely of original footage

As opposed to scenes taken from the film: James Cameron asked special effects creator Stan Winston to direct a teaser-trailer. Cameron didn’t want the trailer to just be early footage, so with a budget of $150,000, Winston created a trailer that showed a futuristic assembly line churning out Terminators.

14. Schwarzenegger got a rather expensive thank you gift

For accepting the role, Schwarzenegger was given a used Gulfstream III airplane (worth about $10.4 million) by producer Mario Kassar.

15. The sets looked rather authentic

When the Lakeview Terrace Medical Center was dressed up to be the Pescadero State Hospital for the Criminally Insane for the film, local residents held a protest against its sudden change of purpose. They quickly realised it was only a film set.

16. But they weren’t the only ones who were fooled

Workers from a disused steel plant (which had been closed for 10 years) thought it was back up and running again, and a passer-by wandered onto the biker bar set thinking it was real, only to see Schwarzenegger dressed only in his boxer shorts. When she asked what was going on, Schwarzenegger replied that it was male stripper night.

17. Schwarzenegger wanted even more violence

terminator 2 t-1000 gif

The actor was initially unsure about the Terminator not being able to kill people, feeling that a similar approach had destroyed the Conan the Barbarian series previously. Since Terminator 2 was rated-R, he relaxed a little on the subject.

18. Billy Idol was originally cast in the film

Amazingly, the rocker was supposedly the original choice to play the T-1000. However a motorcycle accident prevented Idol from taking on the role.

19. And he wasn’t the only music star who missed out on the role

Blackie Lawless, lead singer of heavy metal band WASP, was considered. But the role had originally been written for a man of average stature, who could easily blend in to a crowd. “When he [James Cameron] found out I was 6’4″, I couldn’t. I regret not being able to do that,” Lawless said in an AOL chat years later.

20. The sound designers used condoms and dog food

terminator t-1000 wagging gif

The sound of the T-1000 passing through metal bars? That’s an inverted can of dog food with the contents slowly oozing out. The sound of the T-1000 transforming and flowing like mercury? That’s polish being sprayed into a mixture of flour and water, with a condom-sealed microphone submerged in the goo.

21. It exceeded its planned budget by a lot

The project was first announced in 1984 as costing $12 million. The final budget was $102 million.

22. They used a lot of film reel

Approximately 1 million feet of film reel was used in the production of the movie.

23. The shooting schedule confused Schwarzenegger


Big blockbuster films are often shot out of sequence, but the stars can usually wrap their heads around this. Not Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was unsure if the Terminator was supposed to be played as too human or not human enough in some scenes.

24. The shoot was hampered by thieves

The production had to borrow every wire connected to the lighting on the freeway used for filming the liquid nitrogen truck chase, as thieves had made off with all the electrical cabling meant to light the five-mile section, and there wasn’t enough time to replace it all. They had to do this for 5 days.

25. Arnie vowed never to play an ‘evil’ character again

During the shooting of T2, the star made the bold statement, which was upheld for only six years before his turn as Mr. Freeze in the terrible Batman & Robin.


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