Conference call with Summer Glau answering questions about her role as Cameron in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles that was recorded on January 31, 2008 right before the season one episode 4 'Heavy Metal' aired.
To get out the hype that a new episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles airs on Monday, FOX allowed several websites and members of the press to participate in a special telephone press conference with Summer Glau (Cameron).
In this conference, Glau talked about her character (of course!), her evolution, and of course, she talked about comparisons between Cameron and Firefly's River Tam.
Here are some highlights...
For starters, Glau spoke about the deadpan delivery of Cameron, which provides humor to many scenes. "It was [Josh Friedman]'s idea, and it was a fine balance from the pilot to the series, deciding exactly how Cameron was going to relate to the people around her," Glau says. "I think we all felt that it was a great comic opportunity. It’s been really fun for me."
She does, however, explain that it's not all done for laughs. "I never want to ask the audience to laugh at me because then it just doesn’t feel real, and so I just approach everything and try to be really sincere, as Cameron would be. She’s so – I think that is what is so funny about her is just that she can’t be anything but genuine. She’s very open, like a child. She absorbs the behavior around her and tries to understand it as best she can, and sometimes it ends up being extremely funny."
From the series pilot, Cameron has become a part of John and Sarah Connor's lives, but do we know exactly where she fits in? "I think that we do work as a dysfunctional family right now, and I think it is sort of a mystery at this point if Cameron’s intentions are what she presents them to be. I don’t even really know what’s going on with Cameron. I do know that maybe she has a mysterious past. And it’s unclear what she ends up being in the future. But at this point, I think that all three of us, as far as what I know from the script, we are all fighting for the same goal, but that might turn out to be sort of a front. Cameron might have come back from the past for a different purpose."
Unlike Lena Headey's Sarah Connor and Thomas Dekker's John, Cameron is a character never before seen in other media - although Glau is asked if she feels any comparison to Arnold Schwarzenegger's robotic protector from T2. "Arnold Schwarzenegger is such an icon," she says. "He’s such an action hero that Josh Friedman decided to take the Terminator on a completely different path. We’re not trying to recreate Arnold Schwarzenegger. We’re doing a completely different Terminator, and that makes me feel safe because I don’t have to try to follow in his footsteps. I’m just doing something different."
Still on the subject of comparisons, a journalist asked Glau how Cameron compares to her previous role, River Tam of Firefly and Serenity fame: "Well, you know, I played River for a little bit longer," Glau says. "I think I know more of her moves at this point, but River was all about finesse and creativity and using her form as best she could because she wasn’t the strongest person in the room, and she wasn’t the biggest girl in the room."
"Now playing Cameron, I don’t really break a sweat because she just gets to pick things up and throw them and bash through walls. I don’t know. I think it would be an ugly fight," she continues. "It’s funny because I actually see some similarities between them. They’re both kind of foreigners in their surroundings. River was never good at being able to relate to people around her, and she always seemed to be somewhere else in her mind. And Cameron is the same way. She’s from a different place. She’s from a different time. She’s not human. She doesn’t really know how to relate to the people that she’s living her life with now, so in that way they’re similar."
"But River was so emotional and so vulnerable, and Cameron can’t really be those things. That was the biggest challenge for me when I first was cast in the role was trying to define how I could make her relatable and how I could relate to her as an actress, so it’s been an interesting balance. I’m still finding out who she is, and I think that she’s constantly growing. She’s constantly changing from scene-to-scene and absorbing human characteristics, so I think that she will continue to become more relatable as time goes on," she says.
One vulnerability Cameron might have is the way she feels about John. Is it merely a protector role, or could there be a budding human-robot romance? "The writers are keeping me guessing," Summer reveals. "At this point, I can’t tell. I know that it’s a possibility. And I think that in her own way, Cameron does love John because, when I think about it, her entire existence is to protect him. Her purpose in life is to keep him safe and to be with him always. I think that she does love him, as best a robot could."
"At this point, their relationship is very complicated. John is still trying to figure out how he wants to treat her and what his relationship with her should be. It’s really complicated, but I think that anything is possible at this point," she says.
Glau confirms that her characterization has changed a bit from the original series pilot - something that was very noticeable in "The Turk" when her character didn't seem to fit in as easily in a school setting. "We did make some changes," Glau confirms, "and people will notice that from the pilot to the series, we were experimenting with Cameron quite a bit, and we wanted her to be able to seem human. We wanted especially John to be fooled by her, so that he would let her into his life. And so in the pilot, I do act very human. And then as I go through the series, it appears that I’ve taken steps back and that I am acting more like a terminator would. We did that for several different reasons, but I know for me it’s fun because I get to take more time for her development, her human development. I think that it also is funny and I think once her cover was blown with the Connors, she kind of was able to drop that persona and become who she really is around them, if that answers the question."
Listen to Summer Glau's conference call for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles below:
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