OJ Simpson was wanted as the Terminator
Hollywood filmmaker James Cameron has revealed Orion Pictures co-founder Mike Medavoy wanted OJ Simpson to play the Terminator, the iconic screen role which eventually went to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The 63-year-old director launched the acclaimed franchise in 1984 with Arnold Schwarzenegger cast in the iconic role as the killer T-800 cybernetic android sent from the future to murder Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), a part he has reprised numerous times and is famous for the "I'll be back" catchphrase.
But originally, Orion Pictures co-founder Mike Medavoy offered the part to now disgraced former NFL player and actor Simpson, who infamously was found not guilty of the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and restaurant waiter Ron Goldman in 1995.
It was Cameron who stopped the casting, pointing out it could alienate audiences to have an African American man play a character intent on murdering a white woman, even though it was a fictional story about a time-travelling cyborg.
Speaking to The Guardian newspaper, Cameron recalled: "Mike Medavoy at Orion called me up one night and said, 'I just went to this party and I got the movie cast!' Now, of course, every filmmaker loves to hear that some douche executive has cast your movie for you. And he said, 'OK, O. J. Simpson for the Terminator.' I was like, 'Hey Mike, Bad idea! You're going to have this black athlete chasing this white girl around LA with a fricking knife and a gun? We're not doing that.'
"Which was fortunate, but also unfortunate in that life ended up imitating art there."
Famous for his work in the science-fiction genre, Cameron is currently making four sequels to his hit 2009 movie Avatar and he admits what keeps him creatively interested is doing things that "haven't been done before".
The filmmaker said: "I look for things that haven't been done. I like finding that gap between everything that hasn't been done and what I think can be done. Everything I've ever done has been based on that little gap: every expedition, every piece of robotics that we built, every camera system, the deep-ocean stuff - it all falls onto that same pattern."