How James Cameron Got Inspired To Create Terminator 2’s John Connor

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To put it simply and with as much blunt force as is needed: people do strange things when they’re high. The inspiration for Terminator 2: Judgment Day, gave way to the continuation of a story that was a huge surprise for many people since The Terminator was a box office hit, and became one of the gold standards for movies, as did its sequel, which shaped a few big cinematic advancements as well after its release. The second movie in the franchise is where a lot of people think that the whole thing should have stopped since T2 was such a great follow-up movie to the original that almost felt as though nothing that came after would be worth it. But the fact is that the inspiration for the second movie didn’t come just from the fact that the first movie was so great, it came while James Cameron was high on ecstasy and listening to a song by Sting that alluded to the fact that Russians loved their children too. And voila, the idea of the nuclear holocaust was somehow born from the fusion of those elements and the material that was already there to be used.

There’s no doubt that T2 came in and delivered in a way that a lot of people couldn’t have expected since the sudden switch that turned Sarah Connor from last girl standing to the badass that she was in the second movie, and the T-800 from assassin to hero, was a monumental shift in the story. Plus, the emergence of John Connor, who was really more of a rebellious, punk kid that didn’t believe in destiny, his or anyone else’s, was another fine addition since it played well against the fanatical fervor brought to the story by his mother, who had lost nearly any maternal instinct she might have had in her quest to keep the savior of humanity safe and secure. The fact that she chided John for coming to save her was evidence that she’d willingly given up everything to a future that was continually shifting, while John simply needed a parent that would help him grow without losing the one thing they were fighting for, their humanity.

The mere thought of Cameron being high and thinking up the ideas for this sequel is kind of amusing since it’s likely that the thoughts of nuclear war and annihilation were terrifying in some regard, but were great fuel for a story that has since gripped the world in a very profound manner. The Terminator franchise, no matter how it’s turned out, has been one of the many that have managed to change the way people look at cinema and at life throughout the years. To think it came from the director being high and listening to Sting isn’t exactly that surprising since inspiration comes in a number of different ways, but this story did manage to develop from what might have been kind of a wisp of a thought that Cameron latched onto. The creative process is something that doesn’t stop after all, and no matter where a person is or what they’re doing it can happen that something will inspire a creative mind without any warning. That might make it sound like something that’s less than desired, but the fact is that a lot of people who attempt to grab hold of every idea they have during the day will fail at least a good portion of the time.

Ideas are fleeting things that are sometimes fully-formed but don’t have a chance to become developed since those that have the ideas don’t jot them down or follow them. There are a great number of stories that have never been told, likely far more than have actually made it to the small or big screen, which is saying something when one considers how many movies and shows have come along over the years. James Cameron has been hailed as one of the greatest creators of his time and to be fair it’s something that he’s earned, but it’s easy to say that there are likely many ideas that have come and gone through his head that we haven’t seen realized on screen.

It’s true that various substances can enhance the creative process, but as many creative minds have come to learn, moderation is important when it comes to this since the closer one slips to madness and addiction the more one loses, no matter how much is gained in the pursuit of creative ideas. It doesn’t pay to burn out in the process of following one’s passion, since the ability to tap into the madness and chaos while instilling order into an idea is what makes a storyteller effective. Cameron slipping a bit of E isn’t a horrible thing since it helped to facilitate T2’s creation, but it’s not something that people need to try just to see if it gets the creative juices flowing.

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