James Cameron was actually high writing Terminator 2: Judgement Day

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It’s a surprising revelation that the iconic action movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day owes some of its creative genesis to an unexpected combination of recreational drugs and the music of Sting. James Cameron, the renowned filmmaker behind this acclaimed sequel to The Terminator, disclosed that during the script-writing phase, he found inspiration while under the influence of ecstasy and listening to Sting’s music.

Released in 1991, Terminator 2: Judgment Day was a monumental success and is often hailed as the pinnacle of The Terminator franchise. The film, which won four Academy Awards, continues the narrative from its predecessor, focusing on Sarah Connor and her son John as they navigate a perilous journey alongside a reprogrammed Arnold Schwarzenegger, evading a new lethal time-travelling robot hell-bent on terminating John, the future leader of the human resistance.

Despite its critical and commercial success, it’s astonishing to discover that Cameron, an award-winning filmmaker, apparently conceptualized this cinematic masterpiece during a drug-induced creative session.

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In an interview with The Ringer, Cameron confessed that during the early stages of crafting Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the character of John Connor was influenced by Sting’s song “Russians,” particularly the lyrics “I hope the Russians love their children too.” This sentiment, combined with the idea of nuclear war being fundamentally antithetical to life, birthed the essence of the character.

While it’s not uncommon for creatives to explore mind-altering substances during their creative process, hearing such a candid acknowledgment from the director responsible for some of the industry’s biggest blockbusters is still quite unexpected. Yet, upon reflection, considering Cameron’s filmography—like Avatar, known for its narrative involving blue aliens that establish connections via their hair—the connection to recreational drug use doesn’t seem entirely implausible.