James Cameron came up with the idea for 'Terminator' during a fever dream

Arnold schwarzenegger terminator 1984mgmArnold Schwarzenegger can thank James Cameron’s wild dreams for giving him the role of a lifetime.

The apocalyptic future predicted in the “Terminator” franchise seems like something out of a nightmare.

After all, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) has visions of an impending doom, a judgment day that will bring mankind to its knees.

Terminator Nightmare Play GIFTriStar via YouTubeSarah Connor’s post-apocalyptic nightmare from ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day.’

So it almost doesn’t seem like a surprise that the idea for “The Terminator” first came to director James Cameron in a dream. Or maybe a little more like a nightmare.

TerminatorOrion Pictures via YouTubeThe opening shot of ‘The Terminator’ looks like something out of your worst nightmare.

In an interview on “The Terminator” Blu-Ray, Cameron recalled it was while he was sick in Rome once that he started to get a vision for the film.

“I was sick at the time. I had a high fever.” Cameron said. “I was just lying on the bed thinking and came up with all this bizarre imagery … I think also the idea that because I was in a foreign city by myself and I felt very dissociated from humanity in general, it was very easy to project myself into these two characters from the future who were out of sync, out of time, out of place.”

TerminatorOrion Pictures via YouTubeCameron said he related to the idea of two time travelling characters who felt out of place.

As a result, a lot of these dream and nightmare qualities enter the film. In fact, the fever dream greatly inspired the way the T-800 moves.

“What I found effective on Terminator was to do a slow-motion build-up, or to subtly segway into slow-motion where you almost don’t realise it, and it becomes a dreamlike pace or that dilation of time that you experience when you’re in a traffic accident and it’s happening and you can’t stop it and time seems to stretch.” added Cameron.

During the scene in which Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) thwarts the Terminator’s attempt to murder Sarah in a bar, this effect leaves a big impact.

“I’d always wanted to do some sort of really definitive robot story because it had really never been done.” Cameron said.

However, it took a while for Cameron’s manic vision to finally reach the big screen.

At the time, he was an inexperienced director and nobody trusted him to bring his own idea to life. He got so desperate that he had to sell the “Terminator” rights for one dollar.

“Terminator Genisys,” the latest instalment in the franchise, opens July 1.

While Cameron didn’t have anything to do with the creation of the film, he did give it a glowing endorsement.

NOW WATCH: Here’s the ‘Terminator’ trailer that just aired during the Super Bowl

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