Blockbuster filmmaker, James Cameron, has revealed that he got high on Ecstasy while working on the story for Terminator 2: Judgement Day. The 1991 action sci-fi smash hit turns 30 this year, and even the passage of time hasn’t dimmed appreciation for what is arguably one of the greatest action films of all time. Not only did the film become an instant critical and financial hit, but it also managed to bring in four Oscars from six nominations.
Today Cameron’s name is known worldwide, having brought audiences big budgeted hit after hit, but everything truly began to take shape for the filmmaker with the release of The Terminator in 1984. After coming off an unremarkable debut with 1981’s Piranha Part Two: The Spawning, Cameron cast body builder turned actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to star as a cyborg assassin from the future in The Terminator. Compared to what Cameron’s films are budgeted at today, Terminator’s $6.4 million budget is laughable in hindsight. However, the modest amount didn’t hold the film back in the least. The Terminator was a huge hit, grossing over $78 million worldwide and providing both Cameron and Schwarzenegger with a degree of fame that neither had experienced up to that point. But it was the arrival of the film’s sequel seven years later that truly changed everything for the pair.
As T2: Judgement Day celebrates its 30th anniversary, The Ringer was able to chat with Cameron and the stars of the film. While speaking about the early stages of writing the film, Cameron revealed that it wasn’t just the success of the first Terminator that helped to inspire him. As it turns out, Cameron was high on Ecstasy while working on notes for the sequel and thanks to a combination of the drug and a Sting song, he was able to work out the idea of Edward Furlong’s character, John Connor:
I remember sitting there once, high on E, writing notes for Terminator, and I was struck by Sting’s song, that ‘I hope the Russians love their children too.’ And I thought, ‘You know what? The idea of a nuclear war is just so antithetical to life itself.’ That’s where the kid came from.
Of course, Cameron isn’t the first filmmaker to utilize drugs throughout the creative process, but it will still likely come as a bit of a surprise to some that the man who gave the world Titanic was experimenting with Ecstasy back when it was still very much a fringe drug, far from mainstream knowledge or understanding. In fact, the news begs the question as to whether or not Cameron has also experimented with other drugs throughout his career, especially during the creation of his numerous hits. But with four Avatar sequels on their way from the 66-year-old over the better part of this decade, it’s safe to say that he isn’t exactly sitting around with tons of spare time for recreational drug use.
Unfortunately, the release of Terminator 2: Judgement Day marked the last time that the franchise delivered anything worthy of Cameron’s substantial creation. Past and ongoing sequels have seen the famed filmmaker stay clear of any writing or directing contributions and his absence has been felt, despite the films mostly including Schwarzenegger. Yet, thirty years on from the release of T2, the film’s resonance is still unquestionable – even if some of it was written while Cameron’s consciousness was considerably altered.
Source: The Ringer
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