Terminator 2: Judgement Day almost starred Billy Idol as the T-1000

Ben Bussey
UK Movies Writer
Billy Idol almost had Robert Patrick’s role in ‘Terminator 2’ (credit: Studiocanal/WENN)

As well as being one of the best-loved action movies ever and a pioneer of CGI, 1991’s ‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’ also provided actor Robert Patrick with his breakthrough role – but it might not have been this way.

58-year old Patrick has revealed that he was cast opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger as the shape-shifting antagonist the T-1000 in the place of a perhaps surprising first choice: British rock star Billy Idol.

The actor tells The Hollywood Reporter, “Billy Idol was set to do the role of the T-1000, as I understand. I can tell you that I saw Billy’s image when I went to Stan Winston after I got the role.

“Unfortunately, he got into a motorcycle accident and busted up his leg, so he wasn’t able to physically do what the role demanded.”

Robert Patrick in ‘Terminator 2’ (credit: Studiocanal)

As unlikely as Idol’s casting in ‘Terminator 2’ might seem today, in some ways it isn’t too surprising he was under consideration given how famous he was in America at the time, off the back of such hits as ‘Rebel Yell’ and ‘White Wedding.’ He’s also close in age, height and build to Patrick, and was famed for his sneering expression which could have worked for the T-1000.

Patrick explains that, in pushing him as a replacement, “My agent sold me to the T2 casting director (Mali Finn) as a cross between David Bowie and James Dean [laughs]… So, I was trying to create an intense presence while I was sitting with Mali. I had this intense stare, which she liked.”

The motorcycle accident which lost Idol the role of the T-1000 also reportedly led to a reduction of his role in Oliver Stone’s ‘The Doors,’ also released in 1991. Beyond this, Idol’s acting career has been limited, and he’s best known for briefly appearing as himself in 1998’s ‘The Wedding Singer.’

Billy Idol with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore in ‘The Wedding Singer’ (credit: New Line Cinema)

Since ‘Terminator 2,’ Patrick has accrued well over 130 film and TV credits, including recurring roles on ‘The X-Files,’ ‘True Blood’ and ‘From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series.’ He also reprised the role of the T-1000 in a tongue-in-cheek fashion in ‘Wayne’s World’ and ‘Last Action Hero.’

‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’ was recently re-released to cinemas in 3D; this version of the film will be released to home entertainment later in the year.

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