The Terminator Was Almost Played By OJ Simpson

Today in jokes that write themselves, James Cameron says that if it weren’t for James Cameron, a producer would’ve cast OJ Simpson in James Cameron’s 1984 classic ‘The Terminator.’ A role he didn’t end up playing until 1994. (Look, I only said it so no one else would).

In EW’s oral history of the 1984 sci-fi classic, director James Cameron recalls his reaction when Orion Pictures proposed the retired NFL superstar as the lethal killing machine from the future. “[Orion chief Mike] Medavoy came to me and [producer Gale Anne Hurd] and he said, ‘Are you sitting down? You must sit down. I want O.J. Simpson for the Terminator. Gale and I just looked at each other and thought, ‘You’ve got to be f- - -ing kidding me. How do we get out of this?”

“That did come out of my mouth,” Medavoy says. “At the time, O.J. Simpson had one of those commercials for Hertz where he jumped over a counter and ran to get a rental car. It was all of that athletic stuff, which I thought the Terminator should have.”

Medavoy was so serious about the idea that he actually approached Arnold Schwarzenegger about possibly playing Reese instead. And as if the jokes weren’t already writing themselves, here’s why Cameron said he objected:

Interestingly, it was Simpson’s pleasant persona that turned off Cameron. “This was when everybody loved him, and ironically that was part of the problem—he was this likable, goofy, kind of innocent guy. Plus, frankly, I wasn’t interested in an African-American man chasing around a white girl with a knife.” [EW]

Cameron later added (*rimshot*) , then slipped on a banana peel and got hit in the crotch with a pie.

Hey, say what you will, OJ was great in ‘Naked Gun’.