The futuristic world of James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a nightmarish vision of a robot-apocalypse, a dark fantasy of twisted metal and eternal flames. It comes as a little surprise, then, to hear that part of this vision from Cameron came inspired by a particularly productive ecstasy trip.
In particular, it was the character of young John Connor that Cameron conjured whilst on the drug, with the director reporting that, “I remember sitting there once, high on E, writing notes for ‘Terminator,’ and I was struck by Sting’s song, that ‘I hope the Russians love their children too,’” referring to the 1985 song ‘Russians’ from the musician.
“And I thought, ‘You know what? The idea of a nuclear war is just so antithetical to life itself.’ That’s where the kid came from,” Cameron commented. John Connor (Edward Furlong), who is 10-years-old in the sequel, is the son of protagonist Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), a character only mentioned in the first Terminator film before showing up as a key character in the sequel.
John Connor would grow up in the franchise to lead the human resistance against the robots, appearing once more in Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines, Terminator Salvation, Terminator Genisys, and Terminator: Dark Fate.
The surprising news comes as the filmmaker responds to claims that he is “cruel” on set, calling himself a “tinpot dictator”. Speaking of the regrets of his past career, it has been reported that, “[The director] does say that if he could go back and do one thing differently in his career, it would be to improve the nature of the working relationships he had with his cast and crew members”.
Past director of The Terminator, Aliens and Titanic, Cameron has long been sculpting the future of his influential Avatar series of which four films are currently in the works. In 2020 the director confirmed that the sequel to the highest-grossing film of all time had finished filming, with the third film “95% complete”.