The first two entries in the Terminator franchise can pretty comfortably be considered some of the best movies of all time, but can you imagine what they would have looked like if the iconic musician Sting had joined the cast? Well, that’s what director James Cameron initially had in mind for the first Terminator movie.
The original ‘80s movie from the franchise was a huge success, becoming one of the most popular science fiction movies of all time and well and truly launching Arnold Schwarzenegger as a megastar in Hollywood. Combining impressive CGI, a thrilling story, and some genuine horror movie tropes too, The Terminator is an undisputed all-time classic. Things could have been very different though, for better or worse, if Cameron had gone with his instincts and been able to persuade popstar Sting to appear in his time travel movie.
In an interview with the BFI, Cameron explained how he had always considered Sting to be a fascinating man, giving off a futuristic, otherworldly vibe. Unfortunately, Sting wasn’t willing to work with an inexperienced director at the time, and the dream of casting him as Kyle Reese ended there.
“I even met with him. I was fascinated by his look. He seemed slightly otherworldly – or at least not of this time. I felt vindicated when Sting played a major role in David Lynch’s Dune as the malevolent Feyd-Rautha,” Cameron said.
“However, he wasn’t interested. I was too much of an unknown as a director at the time. I remember riding down in the elevator with him after our meeting and him sneering ‘So, Piranha 2, huh?’ I didn’t want to tell him I had gotten fired off that film after a few days of shooting, so it wasn’t my movie at all, because frankly I was better having even a bad credit than having no director credit. Or that’s what I thought at the time,” Cameron added.
Everything happens for a reason though, and clearly the robot movie franchise didn’t need Sting. Michael Biehn ultimately bagged the role of Kyle Reese, and the rest is history.