Hollywood is full of big egos and inflated boobs and lips, Terminator star Linda Hamilton tells BAZ BAMIGBOYE
Linda Hamilton shifted to the edge of the sofa, to offer me a clearer view of her face.
There are delicate crow’s feet around her eyes, and the lines ripple gently as she smiles.
‘I want to reclaim the pride of ownership of all my experiences — and they’re in my face,’ Hamilton, 63, declared proudly.
Terminator star Linda Hamilton hasn’t had a romantic relationship for 15 years. Her life, she said, ‘has been defined by the absence of men’. ‘It’s the absence of men that has made me thrive,’ she insisted
‘I don’t know why I’m in this world where the only thing that is valued is perpetual youth. Why can’t 60 be the new 60? I don’t want to look 40!’
Hamilton does understand the vanity of actors, and the pressure to stay youthful. ‘I’ve seen the faces that don’t move,’ she told me.
‘The conversations that go: ‘She looks so good for her age! Look how beautiful she is. She hasn’t aged a bit!’ Really?!
‘It’s very hard not to buy into that — and that’s one of the reasons I left Hollywood,’ the actress told me, explaining why she sold her Malibu villa in 2012.
Baz Bamigboye is pictured above with Linda Hamilton. Once her film duties are over, she’ll happily return to New Orleans, where she lives alone with her ‘precious’ chihuahua, Noodles
Los Angeles had become a place of ‘inflated egos, and inflated boobs and lips. I felt like a real outsider, so I left.’
The west coast estate had been her home for 16 years, and it’s where she raised her two children — Dalton Abbott, 30, and Josephine Cameron 26 — one each from marriages to ex-husbands Bruce Abbott and Oscar-winning filmmaker James Cameron.
‘You wake up one day and go: ‘Um, children are out of the house, the agents aren’t really calling offering work. I see the writing on the wall. Is this lifestyle sustainable?’
So she moved to a farm in Virginia, not far from where she grew up in Maryland, with goats, chickens and a beautiful garden. And then a couple of years later, she upped sticks again and wound up in the Big Easy: New Orleans.
She loves the architecture and the history. ‘But more importantly, strangers call you Baby,’ she laughed.
‘Get into a traffic tangle and the other driver will go: ‘You got no problem to worry about, Baby!’
She was content. She did bits of television and independent movies. And then Cameron called her. Three times, before she called him back.
‘It’s just my nature,’ she said. ‘All my friends call it Hamil-time. Even if I love you, I might not call you back.’
Next Wednesday (October 23), Hamilton is on the big screen once again, as iconic action hero Sarah Connors: the role she created in 1984’s Terminator and again, seven years later, in Terminator: Judgement Day, fondly known as T-2
But back she is. As in ‘I’ll Be Back’.
Next Wednesday (October 23), Hamilton is on the big screen once again, as iconic action hero Sarah Connors: the role she created in 1984’s Terminator and again, seven years later, in Terminator: Judgement Day, fondly known as T-2.
The pictures were enormous hits, catapulting the classically trained actress to superstardom.
Terminator: Dark Fate allows her to have ‘another 15 minutes of fame’ before she heads back to the Big Easy.
You might think twice about calling Sarah Connors ‘Baby’, even in New Orleans.
She’s still as hard as nails, tough enough to kick ass all the way from Budapest (where the film was shot by director Tim Miller) to Hollywood.
Hamilton does understand the vanity of actors, and the pressure to stay youthful. ‘I’ve seen the faces that don’t move,’ she told me. ‘The conversations that go: ‘She looks so good for her age! Look how beautiful she is. She hasn’t aged a bit!’ Really?! Hamilton is pictured in Terminator 2
Sarah saved the planet, back in the day, and it was good to sit in a darkened room and watch her, locked and loaded with all manner of firepower, do battle with Rev 9 (Gabriel Luna), an even more lethal robotic shape-shifting machine from the future sent back to assassinate a young woman, Dani Ramos, played by Natalia Reyes.
Dani’s not alone. Grace (Mackenzie Davis), a super enhanced soldier, has been hurled back from the future to save her.
Together, the three women are the best fighting unit to hit cinemas this year. ‘Wonder Woman was great, and I’m sure [forthcoming] Charlie’s Angels will be great too,’ Hamilton said.
‘But what we have here is three very different women. We’re not like a cardboard cut-out of a woman, divided into three. We have the same idea of what we want, but with completely different approaches. Fully fleshed out characters. And we’re all kicking ass, in our own way.’
And yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s back, too — though Hamilton’s character is less than thrilled about hanging out with him. ‘Is that your Terminator child?’ she snaps when she spots a family portrait.
‘By the way, playing Sarah Connors is hard!’ she said. Production postponements meant she had a year to get in shape. Doctors put her on hormones — including testosterone — to increase body mass, even though she was wary about using them, with justification.
‘My blood pressure was spiking. I was getting angry and I couldn’t explain why. Like, explosive! Apparently it turned out I’m just sensitive, and my body didn’t like it.’
So she tapered off the drugs and hired sports performance specialist Mackie Shilstone, who usually worked with superstars like Serena Williams.
‘I only got him because she (Williams) was pregnant,’ Hamilton explained.
‘Mackie put me on supplements and was constantly researching the older body, because he works with pro athletes — and there are no 60-year-old pro athletes.’
All that extra vitality and stamina came in handy, not just for the action scenes, but also when she was forced to step up and go to war over naff dialogue.
‘The joy of being a woman of a certain age, who has nothing left to prove, is that I felt confident enough to say: ‘That’s trite, that’s petty, and that’s stupid!’ And to point out that there’s no need to create a false conflict between these three women. It was the first time I’d gotten to say: ‘Let’s cut the s*** and make this right.’
She did not want to let her co-stars down; nor did she want to fail the character she created 35 years ago.
The conversations took place during filming because, she said, the script was not complete when the shoot began.
Added to that, there were too many masters – some of them remote. (Cameron, a producer and a writer on the project, was back in LA.)
‘Too many smart people working on something doesn’t make it better,’ she noted.
‘I guess this is the way it goes these days, but to me it felt like Humpty Dumpty Productions.’
Terminator: Dark Fate allows her to have ‘another 15 minutes of fame’ before she heads back to the Big Easy. You might think twice about calling Sarah Connors ‘Baby’, even in New Orleans
That being said, she enjoyed the experience.
‘I worked really hard to make sure this wasn’t just a crap shoot.’
Cameron prepared her in advance. He sent an email early on in the process that said ‘if it’s not good, it’s going to look like a shameless money grab’.
But on the other hand, if it turned out well, it would make — as she put it — ‘a pretty cute pension’.
And while she’s enjoying the moment, Hamilton’s not all that fussed about being back in the limelight.
Once her film duties are over, she’ll happily return to New Orleans, where she lives alone with her ‘precious’ chihuahua, Noodles.
She hasn’t had a romantic relationship for 15 years. Her life, she said, ‘has been defined by the absence of men’. ‘It’s the absence of men that has made me thrive,’ she insisted.
‘My first husband left when I was pregnant. After that, I learned to assemble and build things, because somebody had to put the swing in the garden, and set up the crib.’
She also admitted that she was ‘never’ a good spouse. ‘I was a terrible wife, because I forgot to drop everything and make them feel important when they came home.
‘I was a terrible wife to my first husband, because he had to deal with my bipolar behaviour, poor fellow. I mean, I just ate him alive.’
She and Cameron were more equal, but as a result they were always ‘locking horns’. ‘I just don’t feel that I’m built to be with one person; really, any person,’ she told me as we sat in a suite at the plush Mandarin Oriental Hotel, which backs onto Hyde Park at Knightsbridge.
If she wants affection, she said, she can always turn to Noodles. ‘I wake up and kiss my dog, and I’m happy. And she doesn’t answer back.’
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