There’s a new Terminator in town, and he’s unlike any Terminator audiences have ever seen before. Not only is the Rev-9 from Terminator: Dark Fate (read our review), played by Gabriel Luna, a hybrid creation – with a solid robot endoskeleton and a liquid metal skin, which can separate into two separate killing machines – but he’s also got a sense of humor.
In a new interview with Gabriel Luna, Bloody-Disgusting asked why the Rev-9 can make quips unlike any Terminator before him, and found out how it all ties into a surprising, “human” weakness.
“That was always there, that was one of the crucial elements that Tim [Miller, director] said was important to this character,” Luna explained, referring to the Rev-9’s sense of humor.
“Of course I tried to develop an imposing presence. I tried to see what I could get away with in terms of my stillness, and keep my body activated, keep my eyes focused,” Luna established. “He’s not having thoughts, he’s having programs and flashes of input, maybe, kind of cross through his sight. But he should definitely…there should be something there, present, in his eyes at all times. So I had very clear thoughts and very clear images whenever you have a moment that I’m being very still and somewhat motionless.”
“But the idea that his simulation would be so good and so realistic that he could easily know what it’s like to shoot the shit with those Texas Rangers,” Luna added, playfully affecting a southern drawl, “or to put that woman at ease early in the film when he touches the fabric. She’s doing the laundry and he literally just fell out of the sky. So that was important.”
“I wanted to be the Ted Bundy of Terminators, that’s what I was trying to do,” Luna said.
But make no mistake, the Rev-9 isn’t cracking wise just because it amuses him. It’s just a part of his sophisticated programming.
“It’s still a simulation. I think his self-awareness grows over time,” Luna said, referring to one of Terminator: Dark Fate’s central conceits. “In the film, Arnold’s character, what took him decades to do, I felt the Rev-9 could do in the first couple days. Start to develop more human characteristics. Of course, they’re learned characteristics. They’re not real feelings, but they’re the equivalent of those.”
Some of those character-building elements for the Rev-9 may have been left on the cutting room floor, but according to Luna they definitely inform his performance, and they give the Rev-9 a very unusual flaw.
“You know, there’s a lot that’s cut, there’s a lot of moments. It’s a very fast-moving film, so whether or not it reads, or not, is another thing,” Luna said. “But in my mind, in my body, I’m like okay, he’s growing a more personal stake to execute this mission, to execute this girl.”
“And in the end, that may be his human fallacy,” Luna explained. “It’s a human weakness to grow that, to have the frustration grow in his desire to kill Dani. And in the end, he resorts to rationale and logic in that other Terminators really haven’t in the past, when he encounters another Terminator standing in front of him, and I think that should have developed over the film.”
“He drops in as a newborn but the moment he’s there and the moment he logs into the network that is our world he’s immediately flooded with everyone’s feelings, everyone’s thoughts, everyone’s Facebook, everyone’s Instagram, everyone’s love for their parents, everyone’s hate for their enemy,” Luna revealed. “That’s quite a bit of information and that’s a lot that he can utilize in his attempt to simulate human behavior and have these very full, somewhat realistic human encounters. Except for the fact that he’s not blinking, he’s barely breathing, or not breathing at all.”
Terminator: Dark Fate is now in theaters everywhere.