By Piya Sinha-Roy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Arnold Schwarzenegger may be older but that does not stop him from destroying his younger self, as the former governor of California returns to one of his most recognizable roles in "Terminator: Genisys."
The film, out in theaters on Wednesday, opens a new chapter for the "Terminator" franchise, with a slew of new cast members joining Schwarzenegger, including "Game of Thrones" actress Emilia Clarke and "Divergent" star Jai Courtney.
The story follows resistance fighter Kyle Reese (Courtney) traveling back in time to 1984, the year of the first "Terminator" film, to save Sarah Connor (Clarke) from a cyborg humanoid assassin, the Terminator.
But he soon finds the events of the past have already been altered, taking him and Connor on a new mission to fight the killer artificial intelligence entity Skynet, with help from Schwarzenegger's older, greyer Terminator, Connor's protector.
"I said I'd be delighted to play the Terminator again, especially after 30 years of having starred in the first one, but we have to have a great story and a great script otherwise it won't work," Schwarzenegger, 67, told Reuters.
In the opening of "Genisys," Schwarzenegger's aging Terminator comes face to face with his Terminator from 31 years ago. Thanks to special effects trickery, the two engage in a fight as a tongue-in-cheek throwback.
"It's very easy to underestimate what he's doing with that character and what he's done throughout this entire franchise, because we see he's a machine, so there's a rigidity to it, but its very carefully crafted," said Courtney.
Viacom Inc-owned Paramount Pictures' "Genisys" was made for $155 million and is projected by BoxOffice.com to open with $28 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters this weekend.
For Clarke, playing out Sarah's father-daughter relationship with the Terminator allowed Schwarzenegger to bring something new to his now iconic role.
"He's brought new wisdom, new experience, a new sensitivity to the role that he is reprising of himself," she said.
Courtney said he found a new way to approach Kyle Reese.
"We were really interested in finding the vulnerability with that character, and there's great relationships to explore, not only with his fascination with regards to Sarah and his responsibility to her," he said.
"You've got this very interesting, twisted family world."
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)