P.K. Sanjun sits down with two icons of the Terminator series and incessantly calls the former governor “Schwa-chan.”

As an easily amused person, one of my favorite things about Japan and its language is that actor and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger is delightfully referred to as “Schwa-chan.” Although it’s unclear why the “-chan” suffix was settled on and not “-kun,” which is more commonly used for males, the main reason for the nickname is mostly likely because “Schwarzenegger” doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue in Japanese either.

The other reason is that he was one of those actors, who despite being a big-time star of the silver screen, appeared in numerous Japanese TV commercials. It’s something that really helped Japanese people develop a special affinity for the bodybuilding champ.

It’s such a common nickname that people here hardly pay it any mind, and it is this point which really elevates an otherwise cut-and-dry celebrity interview with the stars of Terminator: New Fate (as Terminator: Dark Fate is titled for its Japanese release). While our own P.K. Sanjun repeatedly calls Schwarzenegger “Schwa-chan” to his face, something really gets gained in translation.


P.K.: First of all, why did you come back to the Terminator franchise?

Linda: I know, right? I really thought that I would never play Sarah Connor again. But when I got the script I was curious about how she changed in the last 28 years and how she grew. That was the main reason for me.

P.K.: I see. How about you, Schwa-chan?

Schwa: The Terminator films have been very important in my career. After The Terminator came out I started getting calls for action movies all over Hollywood. But not just for my career, it’s a series that has entertained so many people, employed so many people, and touched so many people, and I’m really happy to be a part of it.

Schwa: So when the offer came up I didn’t even hesitate. I couldn’t in the fourth one because I was governor at the time, but I’m always going to be back as the Terminator if that’s what the fans want.

P.K.: “I’ll be back,” right? But Schwa-chan, some are saying that this will be your final Terminator. Is that true?

Schwa: Not just now, I think people are always saying this will be my last one. In both the first and the second film T-800 dies [laughs]. But that’s just all just talk. It’s up to the fans to decide if I should come back or not.

Schwa: I think this movie really tells the story that we set out to tell. So personally I wonder if this might really be the last one. Then again, maybe when I die they can dig up my grave and put my bones in the movie [laughs].

P.K.: Oh, a Schwa-chan joke! Linda-san, how about you?

Linda: I’m 63. Are you saying I should put my body through more of that? [laughs] If this is the last one then I’d be happy with it. But I can’t say anything about the future because that’s up to the fans and the executives to decide, not me. But if I were asked… Well… I’d consider it.

P.K.: In that case, something would be missing if Schwa-chan wasn’t there too, right?

Linda: If Arnold wasn’t involved, I don’t know if I’d want to do it.

P.K.: In this movie the action scenes are just as intense as ever, but I was impressed with how cool you two looked even at your ages. How was making the movie different this time?

Linda: Sarah Connor isn’t just strong, she also has weaknesses. That’s what makes her interesting and this time I explored that.

P.K. I don’t want to give anything away, but the scene where you’re sitting in a tree comes to mind.

Linda: Doing that scene was the saddest part for me, and I had to sink deep down to the darkest places. In the end, I sat there for five hours and dwelled on the saddest aspects of Sarah Connor.

P.K.: What? Five hours!? For that one minute scene?

Linda: Yeah, it’s part of the job [laughs].

P.K.: You’re a true pro. How about you, Schwa-chan?

Schwa: I had a lot of fun playing the evolved T-800. T-800 is a machine, but is capable of some human emotions. It exists somewhere between human and machine, and can feel pain even though it’s a robot. It was really fun to play that kind of character.

P.K. By the way, the trailer is out now and only shows a bit, but I was thrilled with the first look at the modern Sarah Connor. Linda-san, what did you think when you saw yourself for the first time?

Linda: I’m the kind of person who never wants to see their own performance. Sarah Connor is fun to play, but I don’t enjoying watching it [laughs]. So, you should ask someone other than me about that scene.

P.K.: O.K. then, Schwa-chan?

Schwa: I wasn’t there when her first scene was shot. But actually, the director Tim Miller sent that scene to me without saying anything about it.

P.K. How about when you finally saw it?

Schwa: I was like, “Fuck yeah!” [laughs] I finally felt like Sarah Connor was back and in a word; it was goosebumps. Her confidence, her appearance, and her weapon handling were all amazing. It was all just: “Fuck!”

P.K.: Oh, Arnold!

Schwa: When I met Linda on set, I knew right away that we had everything we needed. She was a perfectionist and I could immediately feel how much effort she put into shooting. Her action-hero image from Terminator 2 has become more evolved.

P.K. Oh absolutely, and thanks to your performances, I thought Terminator: Dark Fate was the best of the series. Any final thoughts?

Schwa: Everyone who worked on Terminator: Dark Fate is really proud of it. Everyone in Japan, please check it out.

Linda: Looking back at it, when playing Sarah Connor in 1984’s The Terminator, I think I found my direction as an actress, so Sarah Connor is a special role for me. Please come and see her long-awaited return to the big screen.

Well, it looks as if the cast and crew of Terminator: Dark Fate put a lot of work into making it, and feel that it came together just as Schwa-chan and Ms. Hamilton hoped it would. But the burning question is: Did Arnold know he was being addressed as Schwa-chan?

I mean they were communicating through interpreters so he could have easily missed it. Then again, Japanese people have been calling him that since the ’80s, so he must have caught wind of it by now, right? And if so, how does he feel about the name?

Hopefully, there will be future Terminator movies featuring the original cast, so SoraNews24 can sit down with the cast members again and ask these pressing questions.

Related: Terminator: New Fate official website

Terminator: Dark Fate photos ©2019 Skydance Productions, LLC, Paramount Pictures Corporation and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.
All other photos ©SoraNews24.

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[ Read in Japanese ]