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Michael Biehn Was Unimpressed With The Terminator Before Meeting James Cameron

James Cameron's "The Terminator" holds a place in film history thanks to its bold approach to sci-fi action and memorable characters that resonate even today. The 1984 classic is now a part of many best-of lists — making its way into the Library of Congress's National Film Registry in 2008 (via The Guardian). Cameron himself has gone on record numerous times about his devotion to getting the film just right.

The director spoke of one instance that could have changed the project's entire trajectory into legendary status. Its ending originally saw Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) blow up the deadly cyborg (Arnold Schwarzenegger), leaving out the subsequent contribution from Sarah Conner (Linda Hamilton). Cameron fought to keep it in the film, finding out that those arguing against it didn't even view an edit with finished visual effects (via Deadline).

Not everyone had Cameron's enthusiasm for "The Terminator" and the possibilities that came with its success. Decades later, one of the film's stars is talking about their early reaction to the project. The surprising revelation speaks to the power of Cameron's dedication and how close this classic came to missing its potential.

Cameron's enthusiasm gave Biehn confidence in the project

Michael Biehn is known to many for his work in blockbuster films, including "Aliens" and "The Abyss." The actor's career in James Cameron projects started with the starring turn as Kyle Reese. The character may not have appeared in subsequent sequels, yet his presence is essential to the entire narrative.

Taking on the role of Reese almost didn't happen for Biehn; it all came down to a script that didn't quite feel right for the performer. Biehn talked about his involvement as part of "The Big Picture" podcast's James Cameron retrospective. "I'd be lying if I told you I read the script to 'Terminator' and thought, 'Oh my God, this is an incredible script, this is just going to be wonderful, it's going to be epic'," he said. It was only when the actor got to know Cameron that he saw value in it. The filmmaker's passion made Biehn feel that it actually could be a project worth joining.

The actor was rewarded with a unique shooting experience that spoke to Cameron's commitment and skill. One scene, in particular, became a hallmark for Biehn. "...the car is screeching backwards, Arnold's on fire, and he's smashing his hands through the window of the car and grabbing Linda by her shirt, and it's all done in one take," Biehn later revealed. For the performer, that scene alone is evidence that Cameron could do things no one else was doing.