Terminator: James Cameron’s Reboot of 1980s Actioner with Star and Ex-Wife Linda Hamilton

How did director James Cameron convince Linda Hamilton, the star of the Terminator series and his former wife to return to cult action movies?

Hamilton was married to Terminator creator James Cameron from 1997 to 1999, and in this week’s Hollywood Reporter cover story, the director admits he was nervous about asking the actress to return to the franchise.

“Jim was fucking terrified,” incoming Terminator director Tim Miller joked about Cameron’s first call to Hamilton about returning as cyborg-fighting badass Sarah Connor.

“I was,” Cameron responded. “It took me a week just to get up the nerve. No, that’s not true. Linda and I have a great relationship.”

The reality, Cameron revealed, was that he presented the idea to Hamilton as an opportunity to remind audiences what they were missing. “I called her up, and I said: ‘Look, we could rest on our laurels. It’s ours to lose, in a sense. We created this thing several decades ago. But, here’s what can be really cool. You can come back and show everybody how it’s done,'” he said. “Because in my mind, it hasn’t been done a whole lot since the way she did it back in ’91.”

Hamilton played Connor in 1984’s The Terminator and 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day, but like Cameron, did not return for three subsequent films.

Hamilton is now 61, an age that adds to the appeal of reviving the character for Cameron and Miller. The latter said that it’s going to “make a huge fucking statement to have her be the really seasoned warrior that she’s become,” which Cameron agreed with. “There are certainly plenty of 50-, 60-, 70-something guys out there that just keep cranking along doing action movies and killing bad guys left and right. But there isn’t an example of that for women, and I think there should be,” he said.