It turns out The Terminator is no match for James Cameron. In Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new Netflix documentary “Arnold,” the actor and Cameron remembered clashing over the iconic “I’ll be back” line from 1984’s “The Terminator” (via Insider).
“Sometime in the middle of the shoot, we’re doing this police station scene. The line is, ‘I’ll come back.’ It wasn’t meant to be like a big moment at all,” said Cameron, who co-wrote “The Terminator” with Gale Anne Hurd. “It was literally meant to be, on its face, ‘No problem, I’ll come back.’ For some reason, Arnold didn’t say, ‘I’ll come back.’ I said, ‘Well, just say “I’ll be back.” Keep it simple.’”
Schwarzenegger admits in the documentary that he thought “I’ll be back” sounded “funny” because he was playing a cyborg and thought “I will be back” sounded more “machine-like” and appropriate. When Schwarzenegger made the suggestion, Cameron fired back.
“And he says, ‘Are you the writer?’” Schwarzenegger said. “And I said, ‘No,’ and he said, ‘Well, don’t tell me how to fucking write.’”
Cameron won the clash, and Schwarzenegger’s “I’ll be back” line went on to become the definitive moment of the “The Terminator” franchise and one of the most famous lines of movie dialogue in history.
Schwarzenegger now admits that Cameron was “absolutely right,” adding, “It became the most quoted movie line, I think, in the history of motion pictures. So this just shows to you who was right and who was wrong.”
Cameron and Schwarzenegger would reunite for the film’s 1991 sequel, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” Neither of them expected the original film to become such a classic, and Schwarzenegger said it “freaked out” Cameron that “The Terminator” became such a critical smash hit.
“What is successful box office-wise doesn’t mean that the critics will like it,” Schwarzenegger said. “So to have Time magazine, their critic, pick it as one of the top 10 movies was unheard of. It even freaked out Jim Cameron. All of a sudden, I was on a roll.”
“Arnold” is now available to stream on Netflix.