What Novel Approach Did James Cameron Use to Have Two Sarah Conners in a Scene in Terminator 2?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: James Cameron used a trickier method than trick camera work to have two Sarah Connors in a scene in Terminator 2.

We’re all well accustomed to the common practice of using split screens to depict the same actor/actress playing multiple characters in the same scene.

This practice was the basis of The Patty Duke Show (where Duke plays “identical cousins”)…

You can see it, too, on the TV series Friends, where Lisa Kudrow plays twin sisters Phoebe and Ursula…

The trick, of course, is that Kudrow is filmed twice – once as each character – and then the two shots are edited together to make it appear as though it is one shot.

And for close-ups, you do the ol’ “back of the other character’s head” shot…

Well, when Terminator 2 came out in 1992….

the bad guy had the ability to take on the appearance of other people.

So when audiences saw the following scene, where the bad guy (the killer robot T-1000) takes on the appearance of Sarah Connor…

clearly, everyone thought “Sure, split screen.”

But it’s not.

You see, for this shot (AND another shot in the movie where T-1000 takes on the appearance of a mental hospital security guard….

) director James Cameron actually used the TWIN of the actor in question for the shot!!

In the security guard scene, it was twins Don and Dan Stanton.

In the Sarah Conner scene, it was Linda Hamilton and her twin sister, Leslie!

Pretty darn clever usage of what was available to him by Cameron!

The legend is…


Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

4 Responses to “What Novel Approach Did James Cameron Use to Have Two Sarah Conners in a Scene in Terminator 2?”

  1. If I remember correctly, the first use of split screen may have been in the 1949 movie “Jolson Sings Again”. In one shot, Larry Parks is seen as Al Jolson and as himself while recreating the filming of “The Jolson Story”. James Cameron was married to Linda Hamilton for a number of years, until he dumped her for Suzy Amis.

  2. Another use of real life twin actors I recall for this was in the TV show Sliders, which featured characters travelling to parallel worlds. Occasionally they’d find doubles of themselves in different circumstances. For most of the actors, they did the split screen thing if their doubles interacted… but for Cleavant Derricks Jr, who played Rembrandt “Cryin’ Man” Brown, they often recruited his twin brother, actor Clinton Derricks-Carroll.

  3. ParanoidObsessive on September 23rd, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer did the same thing when Xander was split into two different people, using Nicholas Brendon’s twin brother, Kelly Donovan.

    And, of course, there’s always been rumors that Efren Ramirez (Pedro in Napoleon Dynamite) has actually sent his twin brother to interviews and conventions he didn’t feel like doing.

  4. Buster Keaton did this back in the 1920s. Even creating scenes where there were 6 or more Busters running around and “interacting”. 🙂

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