To tame a Terminator

To tame a Terminator
PHOTO: UIP

She captured the hearts of countless fanboys as Daenerys Targaryen, the fearless, merciful queen who inspires devotion in her subjects and commands armies and dragons alike in hit TV series Game of Thrones.

Yet, in real life, British actress Emilia Clarke claimed she has not encountered any adoring admirers - or even suitors.

During a sit-down interview with M at The London West Hollywood hotel in March, the 28-year-old, who is single, appeared amused when asked about her male fans all over the world.

The vivacious wide-eyed beauty said: "People always say this to me, but I'm, like, 'Where are they?'"

She broke into loud laughter before adding: "Any attractive ones? 701 is my room number."

Dressed in a chiffon top and a midi skirt and flaunting a head full of luscious brunette locks, Clarke looked nothing like the platinum blonde "Mother of Dragons" that viewers are used to seeing on their small screens.

In person, the petite 1.57m star is animated and chatty and comes across as a friendly girl next door.

And that disparity in her appearance on and off the screen is something she is thankful for.

Clarke said: "I am very lucky that I look different from my character, so I don't get stopped very much, which is brilliant. I still live in a quiet area of London."

She added jokingly: "I am just hiding, hiding in a pub in London."

However, all that is about to change as she takes on her first lead role in a Hollywood blockbuster, playing kickass heroine Sarah Connor in the sci-fi action flick Terminator Genisys, which opens here on June 25.

In the movie, for which Clarke will sport her natural hair colour, leader of the human resistance John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends Sergeant Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect his mother, Sarah Connor, and safeguard the future.

But an unexpected turn of events creates a fractured timeline and Reese finds himself in a new and unfamiliar version of the past, where he is faced with unlikely allies like the Guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger), dangerous new enemies and a new mission to reset the future.

Terminator Genisys is directed by Alan Taylor, who helmed 2013's Thor: The Dark World and, coincidentally, several episodes of Game Of Thrones.

DEMANDING ROLE

Clarke, who had to train with guns and carry heavy weaponry for the physically demanding role, admitted to feeling the burden of tackling a beloved classic character portrayed by US actress Linda Hamilton in the 1984 original and its 1991 sequel.

She said: "I definitely took a deep breath before taking it on. (For) the role itself, as well as the scripts we had, we kept the essence of Terminator 1 and 2, so hopefully, we will be keeping those avid Terminator fans very happy."

She added: "The new script is such that the Sarah Connor you meet starts off as the badass we already know in Terminator 2.

"So I had the opportunity to do my own take on the role completely. The pressure was lifted because I'm not doing the exact same thing to be heavily critiqued. I get to put my own spin to it."

Clarke may not have been born when the first Terminator movie was released in 1984, but she had watched the movies on television from a very young age - thanks to her younger brother, who is a massive fan - and revisited them in her "moody teenager years".

Being able to work with Schwarzenegger, the original Terminator, was "brilliant".

Clarke said: "You expect this huge ego to walk into the room and he just doesn't. He's just this funny, easy-going relaxed guy who diffuses any situation. People are, like, 'Oh my God, that's Arnold, he is coming.' But he is just so calm and everything is easy breezy."

As her fame and popularity continues to soar, Clarke has one simple piece of advice to rising stars: Don't Google yourself.

She became visibly excited when she said: "Every actor who reaches some kind of success will do that at least once. I did that in Season One (of Game Of Thrones) - never again!

"I don't want to know if someone felt my bum looked too big. It's not a lovely experience at all.

"For every 17 nice things that others say about you, there will be one bad comment and that would be all that you ever think of."

She added: "We are already in a fickle enough industry where we are constantly being judged. No one is coming to me and saying, 'We think your bum is really big.' So I don't go looking for it."

Even though Game Of Thrones continues to attract a wide international fan base and record-breaking viewership since it premiered in 2011, Clarke still feels amazed when other celebrities tell her that they watch the show.

"(US actor) Channing Tatum came up to me and told me he is a fan of Game Of Thrones. That was a big moment," she said.

"I was like, 'Excuse me for a moment while I pass out, oh my God.' It's like, 'What the... You know my name? That's amazing."

LATE, BUT HE'S BACK

He kept the international media waiting for more than an hour during a press junket for his new movie Terminator Genisys at Milk Studios.

But when 1.88m-tall Hollywood superstar and former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger walked into the room that March afternoon, one couldn't help but be awed by his presence,

The 67-year-old multihyphenate, who reprises his iconic role as the time-travelling Terminator, exuded a calm and relaxed demeanour during our roundtable interview.

Clad in a navy blue suit with his hair neatly slicked back, the muscular ex-Mr Universe took on questions confidently, cracking jokes from time to time in his deep husky voice.

He tells M why he's, uh, baaack...

Were you hoping to get this call, 30 years later? How did the whole process come about?

It was fun to go back and to do the Terminator characters again, especially with a good script. I was very happy when (producer) David Ellison finally took over the project because he felt really passionate about Terminator.

What was it like with the new cast?

They surrounded me with some really good talent. J.K. Simmons (who plays Detective O'Brien), for instance. I kept complimenting him on set, because he played (it) so much like the character in the original Terminator. As for Emilia (Clarke), there's the big pressure of living up to Sarah Connor. She did an extraordinary job in terms of dieting, working with the weapons, the training. This movie relies on a great director, good writers, good actors - then I can also shine.

You easily make millions of dollars just giving motivational speeches. What still excites you about acting?

First of all, I am making millions of dollars in movies as well. The great thing about my life is that I do everything. I do movies, speeches, I am doing a lot of different things and still promoting health and fitness.

Was there anything that was hard to pull off in Terminator Genisys?

No. I do everything. I had no problem with any of the stuff. I think that's the advantage of being in shape and working out every day. Even though I'm much more susceptible to injuries, when you are in shape, you are in shape. It gives you a bigger advantage.

Is there one thing you really want to do, but haven't done?

I think that if I could convince the world to give up fossil fuels and not have seven million people die every day due to pollution-related illnesses, I would be a happy camper


This article was first published on June 17, 2015.
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