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Even if you’ve never seen the 1984 sci-fi classic The Terminator, there are probably at least a few things you know about the movie, because it is, after all, a very long-running franchise. For example, you likely know that the film features Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor running from a seemingly unstoppable machine, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. And, it’s almost impossible that you’ve never heard the most quoted line from the movie, Schwarzenegger’s menacing and heavily accented, “I’ll be back.” When Hamilton was given the job of saying that famous line for Terminator: Dark Fate, though, turns out it wasn’t too easy.
In new footage from Terminator: Dark Fate, which brings James Cameron back to the franchise, we can see the scene where Linda Hamilton has to recite the classic and oft-quoted line that was famously said by her co-star in the original film. Hamilton appears to say it with ease during the clip, but it turns out that her comfort level with those particular words had to be achieved over many takes. Here’s what she had to say about it:
Poor Linda Hamilton, right? I mean, I’ve said “I’ll be back” like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s deadly Terminator at least, oh, a million times since the movie came out, so it would be a hard thing to not imitate the actor, even when you’re really trying to do it your way.
As Linda Hamilton noted in her words to Entertainment Tonight, though, it wasn’t just “three decades of hearing it in your head with his voice” that led to her needing to redo the line on set. She wasn’t asked to utter the famous phrase during a quiet scene after the characters had spent some time chatting and drinking cocktails. No, sir. It comes after an intense outdoor action sequence with a lot of moving parts which was, apparently, filmed while the temperatures reached into the triple digits. So, yeah, there was a lot going on that kept Hamilton from being able to focus on making the line her own.
In addition to all the years that Linda Hamilton heard those words in her head in Schwarzenegger’s voice, not to mention the conditions (like wearing a fake butt) under which she had to say it herself for Dark Fate, there’s the little matter of how the phrase (or something very close to it) has been trotted out for every one of the previous Terminator sequels that have been made. Seriously, take a look at this collection of “I’ll be back” utterances and think about how well yours would stack up…
That’s a lot of pressure, no?