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Film bosses wanted O.J. Simpson for Terminator

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Jul 17, 2014 | 2:02pm EDT

Disgraced sportsman-turned-movie star O.J. Simpson was movie bosses' first choice to play the Terminator in director James Cameron's 1984 sci-fi blockbuster. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the film as part of an Entertainment Weekly feature, executive Mike Medavoy admits he wanted Simpson to front the film, with Arnold Schwarzenegger as the movie's hero. Schwarzenegger eventually landed the Terminator role and Michael Biehn was cast as hero Kyle Reese. Medavoy recalls, "At the time, O.J. Simpson had one of those commercials for Hertz where he jumped over a counter and ran to get a rental car. It was all of that athletic stuff, which I thought the Terminator should have." But Cameron was far from sold on the idea. He says, "This was when everybody loved him... He (Simpson) was this likeable, goofy, kind of innocent guy... (but) I wasn't interested in an African-American man chasing around a white girl with a knife." A decade after the film came out, Simpson's role as a likeable celebrity turned upside down after he was accused of killing his wife and her friend in a jealous rage. Simpson was acquitted of the crime. He is currently serving time behind bars for his part in an armed raid on a memorabilia dealer's Las Vegas hotel room.

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