‘Terminator’ star Linda Hamilton put retirement on hold for ‘Stranger Things’

Linda Hamilton became a star after appearing in 1984’s sci-fi classic “The Terminator,” alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But after appearing in the latest film in the franchise, “Terminator: Dark Fate” in 2019, the 67-year-old was ready to retire – not just from her iconic character, Sarah Connor, but the industry as well.

“I don’t do a lot of regret. I think in the end, it holds true that we regret what we didn’t do, not what we did,” she told The Hollywood Reporter in a new interview.

Speaking on “Dark Fate,” she continued, “I’mveryglad I went back. I loved [director Tim Miller], I love my ladies [Mackenzie Davis and Natalia Reyes], and while I can’t say I love the film, that’s because I was so attached to it. I only saw it once. I felt like it was too fast. But we did so much good work, and it was the greatest time of my life, and theworsttime of my life, all rolled into one film.

Linda Hamilton told The Hollywood Reporter that working on “Terminator: Dark Fate” was “the greatest time of my life, and the worst time of my life, all rolled into one film.” (Han Myung-Gu/WireImage)

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“I was 63 or whatever I was, and it was the hardest shoot. Every day it was like a triathlon: ‘Now we’re going to swim for two hours and then we’re going to run for two hours.’ I read 40 books on that show. That’s all I could do, lie down and read, send my mind somewhere else and rest my body.”

Hamilton told InStyle she had six-day work weeks and intense training for “Terminator: Dark Fate,” but wasn’t achieving her famously toned arms from “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” (Getty Images)

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In February of this year, Hamilton told Business Insider she didn’t want to see the series revived any further, with or without her.

“I’m done. I’m done. I have nothing more to say. The story’s been told, and it’s been done to death,” she told the outlet. “Why anybody would relaunch it is a mystery to me. But I know our Hollywood world is built on relaunches right now.”

When asked by THR what was more likely, her return as Sarah Connor or AI writing the next “Terminator” film, she replied, “AI writing the next Terminator movie. And they kill me off before we start.”

Hamilton told THR she hopes that if another “Terminator” sequel happens, “they kill me off before we start.” (Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images)

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“That’s the best scenario,” she added, saying, “Shoot me.Shoot me!I’m very glad I did it, but…”

She told Business Insider that Sarah is “an imperfect person.”

Hamilton told Business Insider her widely beloved character, Sarah Connor, is “an imperfect person” and “not a good mother, she’s a good fighter!” (CBS via Getty Images)

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“I truly feel like, and felt like, Sarah Connor is not an icon. She’s a woman in hell. She makes some really bad choices. She’s not a good mother, she’s a good fighter!”Hamilton said.

The actress continued, “So you sort of try to parse the details out and go, ‘Well, they respect her strength and her power, and I did create a warrior, but she’s very imperfect. She’s an imperfect person.'”

In her THR interview, Hamilton noted that the “Terminator” franchise is “still going to be the big trump card for most everything” in her life.

“That fan base is fantastic, because they actually treat me like I saved the world.”

The “Terminator” franchise is “still going to be the big trump card for most everything,” Hamilton told THR. (Han Myung-Gu/WireImage)

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Hamilton is set to appear in the upcoming final season of “Stranger Things” on Netflix, expected in 2025.

But if they hadn’t called, she was ready to take a permanent break from a physically demanding career.

“I literally felt like I was an actress getting my first meaningful part [with‘Stranger Things’]. It’s funny, how it recycles. It’s not that I felt forgotten, but I was actually talking about retirement, not because there isn’t enough to do, but just I’m tired of being tough,” she told THR.

She continued, “My hip was hurting for a couple of years and I was like, ‘I’m just so tired of being tough, and I just want to be able to make plans and make sure I can be there,’ because actors never, ever can be there when they say they’re going to be there.”

Hamilton’s physically demanding roles throughout her career made her consider retirement before she landed a role in the final season of “Stranger Things.” (Jun Sato/WireImage)

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Hamilton was preparing to fly to Canada to film the third season of the SYFY channel series “Resident Alien” when she told her agent, “‘Dude, I don’t even know if I’m going to get there. I hurt.’ [Laughs.] And he’s like, ‘Oh, you don’t mean that.'”

“When I said retirement, cut to two weeks or so later,‘Stranger Things’called him and said, ‘Is Linda Hamilton available from June to June?’ And he went, ‘Yes.’ He didn’t even ask me.”

The “Beauty and the Beast” star added she would have “come out of retirement” to do “Stranger Things.”

“I think that’s going to give me another 15 minutes with a new audience, which is cool,” she said.

Hamilton said, if she had retired, she would have come back just for “Stranger Things.” (Jun Sato/WireImage)

‘TERMINATOR’ STAR LINDA HAMILTON SAYS SHE WOULD BE ‘HAPPY TO NEVER RETURN’ TO THE FRANCHISE

Earlier this year in February, Hamilton told Us Weekly she’s a fan of the series, but joining the cast “ruined” it for her.

“I’ve watched every season with relish. I just love it,” she said. “So it’s kind of, like, imposter syndrome, where I don’t [feel that I] fit in there. That’s a whole world set in the ’80s.”

She continued, “When you really buy into something, you don’t see yourself in it. So I think, in a way, it kind of ruined the show for me. I never watch [a project], once I’m in something. It would just completely take me out of the reality of it to see myself in there. So I won’t be watching [season 5].”

And though she’s not retiring thanks to her “meaningful part” in “Stranger Things,” Hamilton would love to shake up her action-heavy resume.

Hamilton told THR that she loves acting, and would still like to do a period drama. (Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb)

“I’d love to do a little more period drama, you know? My costume for 40 years in this business has been blood and tangles. More blood, more tangles,” she told THR. “I have people come up to me my entire career saying, ‘You’re so pretty in person!’ And they’re confused! You never see me smile on film. But those are just funny little things. I’m really happy.”

She continued, “I’m really happy with the work I’m getting now. It’s not just‘Resident Alien’and‘Stranger Things.’ I’m getting some good movie roles that allow me to not be the military person. I really just love the challenge. I just love acting.”

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