Terminator: Dark Fate may not be a box office success, but that’s not for a lack of boldness. Besides reinventing the long-running franchise in new and exciting ways, the story sprinkles in some harsh reality, giving the sci-fi action film a welcome, but unexpected, depth.
In the film, which is now in theatres, the main character Dani (Natalia Reyes) lives in Mexico. Once the shit hits the fan and she wants to find out more about her place in the world, she and her protectors must get to the United States. That means a border crossing and... well, in 2019, the topic of the Mexican-American border remains on everyone’s minds.
We asked the stars and director of the film about the choice to include several scenes at the Mexican-American border and to include politics in a mainstream film.
Gizmodo: Dark Fate has several scenes set at the Mexican-American border, which is something that’s obviously been in the news. What did you guys think about when you read that in the script? And do you think it’s important to remind people of political things in a mainstream movie like this?
Mackenzie Davis: I think the movie is reflecting the world as it is right now. I think that’s what’s really interesting about this one, maybe in opposition to some of the earlier ones that were predicting a future that felt a little bit more foreign, we’re depicting a chilling reality that we’re all living through. What’s happening in the detainment camps along the border. I mean, us shooting those days, it was awful, it was so sad and horrible and felt really emotional and just shitty for lack of a better word for everybody, which is, who cares that we felt bad making a movie about this thing that’s really happening?
But, I do think that by reflecting the reality we live in, hopefully, we regard it with more horror than we are right now where we’re not able to put it out of our mind. I know that’s like, why would you go to a Terminator movie for that? But, I mean—
Natalia Reyes: It’s part of it.
Davis: Yeah, I think to not reflect and warn against the horrors that we’re living through would be strange filmmaking because it’s, that’s what science fiction is, it’s like taking now and reflecting it back at you and being like, “This is scary.” And not just that, but my God.
Arnold Schwarzenegger: I personally don’t think movies at theatre really send any kind of political messages. Because I think what they see when they did the crossing of the border, what you see in the movie is what is reality. There are detention centres, there are the people that are in cages. And that they’re treated a certain way, that you and I would not like to be treated as. And so all of this backed up is reality as much as it is being in Mexico, starting the story in Mexico, certain stories start in Mexico. And that women are strong is always another political statement, it just is reality of the day. We have women that are strong, equally as strong as men, if not stronger sometimes, and more courageous sometimes, so all of that is Jim Cameron deals with it as a reality and that’s the way life is, rather than make it a political statement, really.
Tim Miller: I don’t think it’s important to remind people of political things. I think it’s important to be true to the story and the context. If you’re telling a story that’s set in the modern-day and you have characters that are coming from Mexico and crossing the border, then I think you have to deal with those sort of issues. And I really tried to walk the line there and not be, I didn’t want to vilify anything.
I’m pretty far left and I think the situation is a tragic one, but I also think the people of the border patrol, and police, and border patrol officers are not evil, they’re people doing a job. And I also think it’s horrible to put people in cages. So, it really just becomes the background for the story, which is about Dani and …she’s from Mexico and coming to America.