‘Terminator Salvation’ Set Visit: Sequel Set In Harsh, Post-Apocalyptic World

'You're seeing something you've never seen before,' actor Anton Yelchin says of the film's bleak landscape.

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — We’ve seen the teaser trailer and, more recently, the full-length trailer. So it’s clear that in next summer’s “Terminator Salvation,” we’ll see a new world in the “Terminator” universe — one that’s harsh, stark and clearly post-”Judgment Day.”

We were invited to the New Mexico set for “Terminator Salvation.” Through a tour of soundstages, storyboards, wardrobe rooms and “Terminator” pens, we figured out pretty quickly that director [movieperson id="244300"]McG[/movieperson] had taken over the franchise and made it his own. McG spent the day explaining how tired he was of just talking about the film — he wants to show it already. And while he did show us about six minutes of footage, we can’t say much. But we can tell you that everything looks promising.

“People underestimate him,” actor [movieperson id="243115"]Sam Worthington[/movieperson] said of his director. “People’s expectations of what they’re gonna see, I think he’s gonna blow them out of the water.”

Talking about the devastated world shown in the trailers, Worthington said, “The audience gets to see how gritty and sh–ty it actually is and, in the process, see that this could have happened. This post-apocalyptic world could have gone on. Every day is excruciating. It’s a ‘Terminator’ movie; it’s not ‘Pride & Prejudice,’ ” he laughed. “So you get blown up, drowned, shot at by guns, napalmed, atomic-bomb explosions going on … it’s a war zone.”

The day of the set visit, [movieperson id="3146"]Christian Bale[/movieperson] was strapped in full resistance gear as John Connor in a brutal fight that leaves him with a very particular trait that fans of the series will recognize. Though Christian wasn’t doing press, we did speak to stars Worthington, [movieperson id="243106"]Anton Yelchin[/movieperson] and [movieperson id="397337"]Moon Bloodgood[/movieperson]. Yelchin plays Kyle Reese, a human who appeared in the first “Terminator” film who was sent back in time by John Connor to save his mother’s life — and who ended up fathering John himself. In “Terminator Salvation,” he’s very young but already showing signs of incredible bravery.

In talking about how McG’s installment differs from the original three, which always seemed saturated in cool tones, Yelchin observed, “There’s no blue light. We also have the advantage of being in the apocalyptic landscape that they only vaguely mention or show in ‘T1′ for, like, three, four minutes. So we have this advantage of being, like, ‘This is what they couldn’t accomplish in the ’80s,’ ’cause they just didn’t have the technology. So we can really do it. We can say, ‘These are all the machines. This is how people lived.’ We almost have the right to make it different, because you’re seeing something you’ve never seen before.”

As Marcus Wright, Worthington has the unique challenge of playing a man who begins the film on death row and wakes up to find the entire world has gone to hell. “He’s looking for answers of how he got here and, in particular, looking for John Connor and the resistance. John Connor is figuring out a way to kill these machines and fulfill his destiny, and Marcus is trying to figure out … why he’s surrounded by machines. And, in turn, he does realize his destiny.

“In this movie you’ll find out how Kyle Reese became Kyle Reese,” Worthington continued. “As well as the journey of John Connor becoming a leader and these two men and how they’re kind of evolving to become what we saw in the first one. Hopefully this, and if this continues, can solve a lot of questions in the first one.”

“I’ve never been on a movie where there are potentially more [sequels],” Yelchin laughed. “So I guess the key is just to focus on this one. We gotta make this movie really good. But right now, this is all that matters.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Terminator Salvation.”

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