Casting CallsO.J. Simpson Was Initially Cast for the Role of the 'Terminator'

O.J. Simpson Was Initially Cast for the Role of the ‘Terminator’


Key Takeaways:

– O.J. Simpson was initially proposed for the role of the Terminator.
– James Cameron refused to cast O.J. Simpson, stating it was a “bad idea.”
– Arnold Schwarzenegger, despite not being the first choice, made the role iconic.
– Schwarzenegger claimed a painting exists with Simpson’s face under his own, a claim dismissed by Cameron.

James Cameron’s Casting Decision for The Terminator

Hollywood actor Arnold Schwarzenegger has revealed interesting behind-the-scenes trivia related to the iconic Terminator franchise. The blockbuster hit, The Terminator (1984), directed by James Cameron, catapulted Schwarzenegger to Hollywood fame. However, Schwarzenegger recently disclosed that he wasn’t the initial choice for the role in an interview with Independent.

“O.J. Simpson was the first cast Terminator,” said Schwarzenegger. “But James Cameron felt he was not believable as a killing machine, so they hired me.”

The Conflicting Claims on O.J. Simpson’s Involvement

Adding another layer of intrigue, Schwarzenegger spoke of an artwork done by Cameron. He claimed that a painting he owns, authored by Cameron himself, has O.J. Simpson’s face underneath his own. The painting was reportedly modified to include Schwarzenegger when he secured the role.

However, Cameron, contradicting Schwarzenegger’s assertions, firmly stated that he never considered Simpson for the role. During a conversation with Chris Wallace on Who’s Talking, available on Variety, Cameron recollected a “brilliant idea” pitched by a studio head regarding Simpson’s casting. Cameron promptly refuted the idea, stating, “I actually think that’s a bad idea.”

Cameron Refutes Schwarzenegger’s Claims

The Titanic director also denied Schwarzenegger’s claims about the painting. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Cameron clarified that the painting was never intended to have Simpson’s face. He emphasized that Simpson’s casting was never in consideration for the Terminator role and dismissed the idea even before it could gain traction.

A Tale Told Differently

The dispute over the original casting only adds to the charismatic mystique of the franchise. Schwarzenegger’s recollections stand out for their mix of fact and fabrication. On one hand, his assertions that he was initially overlooked are supported by a consensus narrative. On the other hand, his claims about the painting remain unconfirmed and debated.

Schwarzenegger’s Insight on The Terminator Role

Originally auditioning for the role of Kyle Reese, Schwarzenegger’s ideas on how the Terminator should be played greatly impressed Cameron. During The Howard Stern Show, Schwarzenegger talks about the role.

“I said to the team that regardless of who plays it, the actor needs to train. He has to become adept with weapons, assembling them, shooting, all while blindfolded,” recalled Schwarzenegger.

A Fortunate Casting Decision

Cameron was so impressed by Schwarzenegger’s understanding of the Terminator that he offered him the part instead. Schwarzenegger accepted, and the film became a success. This marked the start of the blockbuster Terminator franchise, forever associating Arnold Schwarzenegger with one of Hollywood’s most memorable characters.

James Cameron’s refusal to cast O.J. Simpson arguably contributed significantly to the film’s success. This casting choice, alongside Schwarzenegger’s exceptional portrayal, have firmly entrenched the character and the movie into Hollywood’s hall of fame.

Megan Diane
Hi, I'm Megan Browne, the Head of Partnerships at Project Casting - a job board for the entertainment industry. As Head of Partnerships, I help businesses find the best talent for their influencer campaigns, photo shoots, and film productions. Creating these partnerships has enabled me to help businesses scale and reach their true potential. I'm excited to continue driving growth by connecting people with projects they're passionate about.


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