Arnold Schwarzenegger: ‘I have James Cameron’s artwork of OJ Simpson as The Terminator in my office’

Exclusive: Actor tells The Independent about how Simpson was first choice for the iconic role

Arnold Schwarzenegger has Terminator painting in his office 'with OJ Simpson's face beneath his'

Arnold Schwarzenegger has revealed that OJ Simpson was originally cast as The Terminator, until director James Cameron decided he wasn’t believable as “a killing machine”.

Speaking to The Independent alongside Sarah Connor actor Linda Hamilton, Schwarzenegger said that he wasn’t the first choice for the role, which he returns to for the fifth time in this week’s Terminator: Dark Fate.

“It was actually OJ Simpson that was the first cast Terminator,” he said. “Then somehow [James Cameron] felt that he was not as believable for a killing machine. So then they hired me. That’s really what happened.”

Simpson, a former American football star and actor, was charged in 1994 for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, but was later acquitted.

He was apparently so involved with the original 1984 Terminator that Cameron even drew concept art for the title character modelled after his appearance.

Schwarzenegger revealed that this artwork is currently hanging in his office at home.

“On the painting that I have at home – it was painted by Jim Cameron,” he explained. “Underneath my face is actually OJ Simpson’s face. It was already painted on it, with the leather jacket and the gun in the hand.”

He continued, “I have the painting in my office. So if anyone would ever scrape off the part of my face, underneath will be OJ.”

“It’s the masterpiece beneath!” Hamilton joked.

Terminator: Dark Fate, which is directed by Deadpool’s Tim Miller and based on a story co-written by James Cameron, reunites Hamilton and Schwarzenegger for the first time since 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

The three sequels to Judgment Day (2003’s Rise of the Machines, 2009’s Salvation and 2015’s Genisys) have all been erased from Dark Fate’s timeline, making the film a direct sequel to the 1991 blockbuster.

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‘She always wants to kill me’: Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger at a Terminator: Dark Fate photo call last week

Hamilton told The Independent that her and Schwarzenegger’s off-screen relationship has got “better and better” over the years. “Each experience has become richer,” she added. “In the first film we are really barely together, he’s always just one step behind [me].

“Second time around, there was a lot more [interaction], but we were at odds, even though he’s an ally. But it’s all built up to this, which is where we have some great lines and great times together.”

“But she always wants to kill me,” joked Schwarzenegger. “It doesn’t matter which movie. One day we will do a movie where she’s not trying to kill me.”

The Independent’s interview with Linda Hamilton will be available to read on Tuesday 22 October. Terminator: Dark Fate is released on Wednesday.

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