James Cameron announced T3 many times during the 1990s, but without coming out with any finished script. During his divorce with Linda Hamilton, she asked for the Terminator franchise rights which she promptly sold to Carolco Pictures owners Mario Kassar and Andrew G. Vajna. Tedi Serafian wrote a script, but as it would cost over $300 million, it was rejected. Serafian earned a "story" credit after screenwriters John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris used some of his ideas, like Sarah Connor being dead and the rival Terminator being female.
The studios had long wanted to make a sequel to the Terminator films. However, they were unsure whether Arnold Schwarzenegger would appear in it. Schwarzenegger initially refused to star in Terminator 3 because Cameron, who created the character and helmed the first two films, would not be directing the third installment. Schwarzenegger tried to persuade Cameron to produce the third film. Cameron declined, however, as he felt that he had already finished telling the story upon the conclusion of T2. But feeling that the Terminator character was as much Schwarzenegger's as it was his own, he advised Schwarzenegger to just do the third film and ask for "nothing less than $30 million."
The movie's final production budget was $187.3 million, making it the most expensive independently-produced movie in history. Schwarzenegger agreed to defer part of his salary in order to prevent the relocation of the set to Vancouver, British Columbia, from Los Angeles. Many pundits saw this as preparation to his campaign for California governor, in which he emphasized giving incentives to have movie productions stay in California, rather than film in less-expensive places elsewhere. In that vein, the film was markedly "cleaner" than previous Terminator films, featuring significantly less violence and swearing.
The film takes several ideas from the novel T2: Infiltrator by S. M. Stirling. The novel, published in 2001, features a female terminator, the I-950, a plot point later reused in Terminator Rewired. The idea of Judgment Day being postponed was also used in the book. It also inspires the Sergeant Candy scene with its own explanation of the Terminator's physical appearance, in the form of Austrian counter-terrorist Dieter von Rossbach.
A scene filmed during production explains why one series of Terminators all look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. A character named Chief Master Sergeant William Candy (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) explains in an Air Force promotional video he was chosen to be the model of the Terminator project. Schwarzenegger's character has a Southern accent. When Lieutenant General Brewster questions it, another scientist replies (in a Schwarzenegger voice-over), "We can fix it." This scene is available as a special feature on the DVD version.
Its $170 million budget is the highest approved budget to date. Other movies cost more, but had smaller "approved" budgets.
After viewing initial dailies, director Jonathan Mostow deemed Sophia Bush too young to play hero John Conner's love interest, and replaced her with Claire Danes at the last minute. Danes started filming immediately and basically learned about her character on the job. Danes later said this may have helped her performance, as Kate Brewster's character was similarly thrust into a strange new reality with no warning.
A number of actors were supposedly in the running for the role of the T-X, including Vin Diesel, Shaquille O'Neal, Famke Janssen, Carrie-Anne Moss, Peta Wilson, Jeri Ryan and Lucia Rijker and former WWF wrestler Joanie 'Chyna' Laurer.
The T-X was originally called the T-1G. At one point it was going to be a male Terminator.
The secret production name for the movie was originally "York Square".
Ang Lee was offered to direct the film, but turned it down to direct Hulk (2003) instead.
The original tagline of "The War Begins 2003" was removed from all promotional material due to the political climate of the time, and the war in Iraq. The line was changed to simply "Coming Soon".
Toyota Motor Corporation provided seven Toyota Tundra trucks to be destroyed in the movie. Toyota also sold a limited edition of Toyota Tundra T3 trucks.
Arnold Schwarzenegger put up $1.4 million of his salary to ensure that a key scene where a construction crane smashes into a glass building was shot.
In an early draft of the script, Lance Henriksen was to reprise the role of Detective Vukovich, having the character bound to a wheelchair following the events of the first Terminator. The idea was eventually dropped.
Kristanna Loken put on 15 pounds of muscle to fit her role of the T-X. She also took a mime class to prepare for her part.
Besides Arnold Schwarzenegger, the only other actor to appear in all three Terminator movies is Earl Boen who always played the character of Dr. Silberman.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's signature line "I'll be back" is not uttered in this film. Instead, he says two paraphrases: "She'll be back" and, later, "I'm back."
The famous line "Get out!" is said in all three films. In this film there is also a variation when the Terminator steals the policeman's motorcycle, "Get off!".
For filming the T-X arriving scene Kristanna Loken spent one night naked. During the filming a glass piece stuck under her leg due to walking barefoot on the street.
T-X's breast inflation scene took several takes because the air bladders underneath Kristanna Loken’s bra made by the effects team didn't work properly. Sometimes one of the bladders popped or one would fizzle out.
A shot of the Terminator getting on a motorcycle and then swerving to the right as he takes off is seen from the same angle in all three movies.
Unlike the first two Terminator movies, the line, "Come with me if you want to live," is not used in this film. However, a variation of it is given when John says to Kate, "Do you wanna live? Come on!"
Billy D. Lucas, a personal stuntman for Arnold Schwarzenegger, can be seen as the angry guy yelling at John Connor after John smashes into his car.
The exact date of Judgment Day is 24 July 2004 at 6:18 PM, according to both the Terminator and the watch he examines in the beginning of the film. The date of the ‘original’ "Judgment Day" that they were trying to prevent was 29 August 1997.
T3 was Arnold Schwarzenegger's last starring role (but not his last acting role) before being elected governor of California on 7 October 2003.
The first week of photography was the scene where the Terminator crashes the truck on the T-X at the exterior of the vet clinic. The last day of photography was the scene where the T-X appeared from the time portal.
When the T-X's weapon is damaged, her on screen display chooses a new weapon. The display shows the name of the weapon and a description, but if you look closely the description for all of the weapons simply states: "Important information about this weapon is being displayed here".
According to the Terminator's computer display, he fires 760 rounds of ammunition during the cemetery scene.
During the cemetery scene, as the Terminator's computer display is counting rounds fired and casualties, names are scrolled on the screen. Many of these names are members of the Visual Effects department.
During filming of the scene where Scott Mason/Petersen morphs into the T-X, both actors were filmed performing the same motions and blended to create the effect. When filming, Mark Famiglietti, who plays Scott, had to wear large platform shoes because Kristanna Loken is significantly taller than he is.
When the Terminator is rebooting after destroying the Jeep Cherokee, among other things loaded is a "Quicktime Video Codec".
Two of the air bases Skynet is shown taking control of are "Moron Airfield" and "Batman Air Base". These are actual military locations. Moron (pronounced More-own) Air Base is located in Spain, and Batman Air Base is in Turkey.
In the third act, The Terminator reboots himself, to rid his system from corruption caused by the T-X. As he does, we can see, in his first-person "Terminator Vision", many items scroll by. These include: "Remote Access", "Sound", "Memory", "Software Update", "QuickTime Player", "Control Strip", "Date and Time", "Multiple Users", "Keychain Access", "Location Manager", "Energy Saver", "Add Application Program", and also "MP3.com". All of these items (with the exception of "MP3.com") are easily recognized components of Apple Macintosh operating systems, most likely Mac OS 9. In the first movie the "Terminator Vision" incorporated assembly code for the Motorola 6502 microprocessor, the CPU for the then-current Apple II computer.
An early draft had a completely different storyline from the film, in which John Connor is a successful computer programmer, who ends up being instrumental in the activation of Skynet. Sarah Connor is also featured in the film. The evil Terminator is a shapeshifter, but also can take on a gaseous energy form.
The scene in the hangar with dozens of T-1 robots was realized via digital matte painting. Only three full-scale T-1 robots were built for the film.
When the Terminator is choosing items at the convenience store, he grabs a Manner Schnitten, which is an Austrian sugar wafer.
It took six months to edit the car chase sequence.
John quotes his mother in the cemetery as calling every day after 29 August 1997 a "gift". The quote is a near-exact copy of what Sarah Connor says in Terminator 2: Judgment Day's original "happy" ending available on most of its DVD editions.
The "Rich Woman" attacked by the naked T-X was planned to have attempted to use an ATM that wouldn't respond, but there wasn't time to film it. If this scene had been included, it would have been one of several indications (Kate's cell phone, the lack of TV reception at the AM/PM) that the computer virus is taking over.
The storyboards for the Judgment Day scenes near the end of the film were much more graphic than what was seen in the film, and included images such as the Statue of Liberty melting, the Hollywood sign going up in flames and even Dr. Silberman being incinerated by a nuclear blast. However, the VFX team were told that it was "too soon after 9/11" to show such graphic destruction, and that only a single nuclear explosion should be seen, and that it should actually be of relatively poor quality compared to what was seen in the second film.
The character of Kate Brewster's fiancé was originally named Scott Petersen. Due to the name's similarity to Scott Peterson (a California man convicted of murdering his pregnant wife and their unborn child in late 2002 while out fishing) and the plot of his fiancée's kidnapping, the character's name was changed to Scott Mason, although he's still listed as Scott Petersen in the credits.
In all three Terminator films the Terminator's definition of "being back" means entering a building by driving a vehicle through it: In The Terminator he drives a car into a police station after saying "I'll be back." In Terminator 2: Judgment Day he drives a SWAT van into the Cyberdyne Building after saying "I'll be back." In this film he flies a helicopter into an airplane hangar, steps out and proclaims, "I'm back!"
Several of Arnold Schwarzenegger's female employees were cast as extras in the opening bar scene, where The Terminator first arrives in search of clothing.
Stan Winston and his team constructed flawless, life-size, fully-operational robotic replicas of Arnold Schwarzenegger and co-star Kristanna Loken because certain sequences involving fire and explosions were too dangerous for them to perform.
Arnold Schwarzenegger suffered a minor hand injury during the filming of the cemetery battle scene. One of the small explosives on the casket exterior, used to simulate a bullet hit, was planted too close to his hand.
Arnold Schwarzenegger worked out for six months, about three hours a day, before shooting started, by which time he had the exact same body weight and muscle measurements as he had 12 years previously while shooting Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
After the T-X has damaged her primary weapon, a first-person view shows her going through different weapon choices. On the right side of the screen one of the weapons is named "Rumsfeld P81 Cauterizer". This is a poke at President George W. Bush's Secretary of Defense at the time, Donald Rumsfeld.
The gas station where The Terminator stops for refueling is the same gas station seen in all three Terminator movies. In the first movie it was shown at the end where a pregnant Sarah stops before driving to the Mojave Desert. In the second film it's also the same place used where Sarah camps in for the night after she escapes from the hospital.
The wrist watch worn by the Terminator is a Swiss Audemar Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph. Its titanium case resists magnetic fields making it the ideal choice in the event of any attempted rise of the machines.
It took six months for the VFX pioneers to develop the method to simulate the final sequence, in which T-X's liquid exterior is magnetized to the point of peeling off, revealing her alloy endoskeleton.
In each Terminator film the villainous character's death is greeted with the word "Terminated" in some way. In The Terminator Sarah Connor says "You're terminated, fucker!" as she crushes the Terminator in the hydraulic press. In Terminator 2: Judgment Day John Connor asks "Is it dead?" (of the melted T1000) to which the Terminator replies "Terminated". In Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines the Terminator says "You are Terminated!" as it destroys the T-X.
Source: Wikipedia and IMDB