Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles debuted last night and, for the most part, the reaction has been positive.  One of the key pieces of the series is the character of John Connor, easily the most important figure in the Terminator universe, the eventual savior of the world in the war with the robots.  Thomas Dekker becomes the third actor to play the iconic role, and we find him in a state of personal flux in The Sarah Connor Chronicles.  This could be a very difficult role to get right, but thankfully FOX cast the very talented Thomas Dekker as John.  Dekker jumped into the limelight last year with a guest spot on Heroes.  We got the opportunity to speak with Dekker last week.

Below you will find both the written transcript and the full mp3 audio.

Your Take

gewher said: I love him. Like really. He’s awesome. And his music is AMAZING!

BuddyD said: I’ve been rooting for Dekker ever since I saw him in a musical baseball kickline in the worst episode of te…

BuddyDebbie said: Great interview. I’m excited for this show. Dekker sounds like a cool person, and it’s always nice to hea…

Hey, this is Oscar Dahl from BuddyTV, and I’m here with Thomas Dekker.  He plays John Connor on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

What’s up?  You look like you got whiskey in your glass.  I wish it was, I would be enjoying myself.

So I got to see the screening at Comic-Con, and that was like six months ago.  How anxious are you to finally get it seen?

I’m just tired of waiting.  I just want to it on TV because I started playing this part over a year ago and I’m like, dude, I can’t handle this anymore, just put it on already.  I think we’re all like that.

What’s going to be nice too is that we get that second episode right away on Monday.  Have you seen that episode?

I saw a rough cut.  I’m getting the finished cut today, but after that I’ve seen nothing.

From everything I’ve heard, people are saying the second episode is even better than the pilot.  Why do you think that is?

Well look, here’s the thing: all pilots are A) Things that need to find themselves.  You’re setting up everything from wardrobe to set design to everything, it’s still finding its feet.  You have to find your own voice.  Also, we knew that with the pilot we in a way have to remake one of the films to let the audience know that they’re back in Terminator land.  Then once we’re past that we kind of can go off and create our own thing and find our own voice, separate from the films in a way, but it’s still very much the films.

When the idea came about to do a TV series, one of the things I wondered is how would they go about doing it.

So did I.

The premise, and I don’t want to ruin it for people who haven’t seen the pilot, but the premise they came up with is pretty ingenious don’t you think?

Yeah, it’s genius.  I was the same way, I knew they wouldn’t be stupid enough to make a show with people running from robots every week, because they know nobody would watch it.  But where they’ve taken it is just like, that’s some imagination.  I couldn’t have done that.

With the John Connor character, in Terminator 2 obviously it’s mostly action, we just see him running, but now I feel like the character could be on The O.C., but with killer robots involved.

Hey, don’t insult me!

Is that part of the appeal for you coming on the show, just to kind of play an angsty teenager?

Well, no.  I mean, I didn’t approach it as playing an angsty teenager.  What I like about John, and why I think he has more depth and complexity than playing just another “Uh, I hate my parents” bulls–t thing, is that he’s a person who is constantly at odds with himself.  He’s constantly fighting.  There’s these instincts that he has, but he doesn’t want them, and he doesn’t want this future, yet he knows it’s right for him.  He’s really angsty and broody in the pilot because he’s just found out that oh God, this is all starting again.  As the show picks up, he kind of loosens up a little bit and he becomes more of a warrior.  You’ll see, even in the next episode there’s a glimpse of oh wow, he doesn’t let the women do everything.

One of the big parts of the show is obviously the relationship between Sarah and John.  It’s kind of a weird parent-child relationship.  Did you and Lena [Headey] do anything special to kind of work on forming that bond?  I think it does show up on screen.

Well, I think it shows up on screen because Lena and I literally are like inseparable as friends, and it’s the weirdest friggin’ thing.  That’s so weird.  Both of us are like, “How did this happen?”  I’ve never bonded with anybody I’ve worked with.  We hadn’t met until we got to Albuquerque to do the pilot.  We were in the hotel and it was the first day of rehearsals, and I just walk in and I’m like, “Are you mom?”  She’s like, “Are you son?”  We rehearsed — me, Lena, Summer [Glau], and [director] David Nutter — for about two weeks.  We basically rehearsed the whole pilot over and over, and we just talked and talked and wrote all this history that wasn’t in the films, tried to really create.  So I think that’s why right off the bat you can see this really evident pull.  We were given the time to really get there, which TV doesn’t allow a lot.

So the reviews so far have been really positive.

Oh good.  I didn’t even know.

Do you read those reviews?

I do, but I didn’t think there were many out yet.

Well I’m talking more the online community.

Yeah, I’ve had to stop, because man, when we first came out the people who hadn’t seen it were vicious.  They were just saying this was the biggest piece of crap and it should never be released.  I think they’re going to have a wake up call, I hope, when they realize it’s a good show and we haven’t s–t all over their films.  That’s my hope at least, otherwise I’ll be very embarrassed.  You know, people say what they want to say, there’s nothing you can really do about it.

To me, one of the most interesting parts of the pilot was the budding relationship between Cameron and John.  Do you see that as a possibility?  I mean, there’s some flirtation going on there.

I can’t say.  Especially right near the end of this season, it gets pretty crazy.  There’s some interesting little, uh, things that happen.  One of the things they told me when I met with them, when I say that they told me these things and it made me want to do it, was basically Cameron and John’s relationship is sort of the massive metaphor, and embodies everything we’re saying about where does human and machine end in this time, in this generation.  Where does the line blur, and how much?  So, it’s a really interesting statement, that whole relationship is.

We got a hint in the pilot that she may be a newer model than we’ve ever seen.

Yeah. Well, she’s a newer model in the sense that she’s the best infiltrator.  In the films, Arnold Schwarzenegger walked in and you knew something was wrong with him.  Cameron can come in and maybe she’s a little quirky, a little odd, but you believe this is a girl.  A lot of people I don’t think are getting that at this point. They’re like, “Why don’t the producers get that the robots don’t show emotion?”  We’re trying to say that these are the new models, they can, they can mimic, you know?

-Interview Conducted by Oscar Dahl
(Image Courtesy of FOX)

Oscar Dahl

Senior Writer, BuddyTV