There are plenty of what-if Hollywood casting calls. There are so many stories of actors almost cast in famous roles, but this one is a doozy. According to The Termiantor’s OG Kyle Reese actor Michael Biehn, James Cameron originally had a very different person in mind regarding one of the best sci-fi movies of all time’s protagonist and Sarah Connor's protector. The role apparently was meant to go to The Police frontman Sting. That is one intriguingly weird pick, and I kind of want to see it.
Biehn recently returned to the Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum Podcast, where he shared some interesting behind-the-scenes nuggets from the original 1984 sci-fi horror classic. The big thing though was that Sting’s “unearthly quality” made him the director’s first choice for his movie’s male lead. As Biehn tells it:
I think originally [James Cameron] wanted Sting because he thought Sting had this unearthly quality about him. And I think he met with Sting, and I think Sting basically said, ‘Yeah, I just saw Piranha 2. I think I’ll take a pass on this thing.’ Something along those lines. I’m not sure how serious Jim was about him. I’ve never heard any other name associated with Kyle Reese.
Hey there! Although Piranha 2: The Spawning is not one of the best horror movies of all time, it can still be a lot of fun if you approach it with the right mindset. However, it's understandable that James Cameron referred to The Terminator as his first film, and that Sting declined to participate.
It's hard to deny how intriguing it would have been to see Sting in the role of Reese though. Based on his appearance in the "Roxanne" music video, the singer does have some resemblance to Michael Biehn from the 1980s. Still, it's difficult to determine whether he would have the same level of charisma when delivering iconic lines like "Come with me if you want to live." Everything happens for a reason.
The "Every Breath You Take" singer would, of course, go on to star in David Lynch’s Dune in the same year The Terminator was released. The flick was not one of the auteur’s best films, even disappointing the filmmaker himself, but it does do a few things better than people give it credit for, with Sting’s over-the-top performance as Feyd Rautha being a fun standout. However, it is hard to imagine anyone else donning the Kyle Reese trench coat quite as well as Michael Biehn.
The character of Kyle, as performed by The Abyss alum, is crucial to The Terminator franchise. Although he doesn't appear in subsequent movies except for a deleted scene in T2 where Biehn reprised his role, his impact can be felt throughout the franchise. His classic lines, determination to save Sarah and her unborn child, John, and overall portrayal have left a lasting impression on the series. If you want to see how great of a job Biehn does in the part, just compare him to the character as he appeared in Terminator: Genisys, who was, unfortunately, recast and portrayed by Jai Courtney.
If you want to revisit the original take of Kyle Reese in The Terminator, you can stream it with a Max subscription. Michale Biehn can also be seen next in the upcoming horror movie The Red, which will hit the 2024 movie schedule later this year.