Gabriel Luna had one truly unforgettable first day on the set of Terminator: Dark Fate.
Over the weekend, ET's Lauren Zima sat down with the 36-year-old actor at the press day for the upcoming sci-fi tentpole, where he discussed playing the villainous Rev-9 Terminator in the film. And, like fellow killing machines in the franchise before him, his entrance is incredibly epic and includes dropping out of the sky without a stitch of clothing on.
"Yeah, when Arnold [Schwarzenegger] was in the Griffith Observatory, he didn't have to fall out of the sky," Luna joked, referencing the Austrian actor's own entrance in the original 1984 film. "I had to do this crazy little somersault coming off this, like, a trapeze bar and not only was I naked, I was upside down. So yeah, quite the first day."
When asked if Luna was intimidated by such an intense introduction to the job, he responded: "I grew up very shy, but, at this point, it was the job. It's something you knew you'd have to do. It's something that's woven into the character... [The] only thing I wish is that we did it, like, two months later. 'Cause two months later, I was just absolute peak physical shape."
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Working on the film meant hitting the gym with none other than Schwarzenegger, which Luna admitted was a surreal and intimidating experience, stating, "I've never squatted, you know, 500 pounds or whatever it is that he does. I'm sure it's more than that. Closer than a thousand on him."
"I was fortunate enough to spend so much time with him, there in the gym, having breakfast, playing chess in his trailer, talking, smoking cigars after lunch," he said. "All those times, I was able to just kind of absorb the information just through his stories."
ET also spoke with Schwarzenegger about hitting the gym with Luna on set; he shared his admiration for the rising star.
“It was great working out with Gabriel because he took it really seriously," he said. "The whole idea that he had to build up his body and to get muscular, to be the lead up on the screen… and be a real threat to the T-800, to my model. He was smart to ask me a lot of questions and to train with me in the morning."
In the film, Luna's mechanical character is sent from the future to kill Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes), the future leader of the human resistance. But a cybernetically enhanced human named Grace (Mackenzie Davis) was also sent from the future to defend Dani. Along the way, stars of the franchise like Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and Schwarzenegger's T-800 help Dani and Grace.
Luna also spoke with ET about how he and director Tim Miller crafted his terrifying character, who rarely speaks and whose mere presence is intended to instill fear in viewers.
"I think that there was a lot of moments during the shoot where Tim was like, 'I want to write more for you.' I was like, 'No man, it's fine, just less is more. Just do it with a look and let's try to create something great,'" he relayed.
"But, of course, it just took a lot of attention to detail and the physicality of the character," he added. "The precision of focus and no waste in movement, no false steps, everything is forward moving, everything is attack mode."
When asked if he will be returning for another action-packed installment in the Terminator franchise, Luna played coy.
"You know, only time will tell," he said. "I think we're all in agreement though that hanging out with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mackenzie Davis and being shipped off to an exotic location… doesn't sound like the worst thing in the world."
Terminator: Dark Fate heads to theaters on Friday, Nov. 1.