February 2, 2023

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James Cameron turns down OJ Simpson casting for ‘The Terminator’

2 min read

James Cameron is once again denying claims that OJ Simpson originally played the Terminator in his groundbreaking 1984 action movie. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who eventually won the role, ignited the rumor in 2019 after telling The Independent Point Blank that “it was actually OJ Simpson who was the first cast Terminator.”

“Somehow [James Cameron] felt he was not as believable for a killing machine,” Schwarzenegger said. “So they hired me. That really happened.”

Cameron denied Schwarzenegger’s story, and doubled down on never wanting Simpson in “The Terminator” on a recent episode of Chris Wallace’s HBO Max talk show “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace.”

“Is it true that in this case the studio wanted someone other than Arnold Schwarzenegger to play the Terminator?” Wallace asked Cameron.

Cameron responded, “Very early on, one of the big guys at one of the two studios that financed the film had a great idea and he called me and said, ‘Are you sitting down?’ I said, ‘Well, no, I’m not.’ He said, ‘Are you sitting? OJ Simpson for Terminator!’ I said, ‘I actually think it’s a bad idea.’ It didn’t go anywhere.”

According to Cameron, Simpson’s relationship with “The Terminator” began and ended with a pitch to a studio executive. The executive was Orion’s Mike Medavoy, as Cameron revealed in a 2019 interview with the Los Angeles Times. Schwarzenegger claims that Cameron has a concept drawing of the Terminator that originally featured Simpson’s face. Cameron told The Times that it was “all wrong.”

“I did not paint for him. I did the painting for us, for the production, of him as the Terminator,” Cameron said. “There’s no OJ under that painting… OJ Simpson was never in the mix. It was rejected out of hand before it had any traction.”

Watch Cameron’s full episode of “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace” on HBO Max.

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