The following article contains discussion of substance abuse, including an overdose.




  • Edward Furlong reveals that he had signed a contract to reprise his role as John Connor in
    Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.
  • Furlong recounts that he overdosed on cocaine while celebrating getting the role, which broke a clause in his contract.
  • Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
    is the worst of the first three entries in the franchise, and it may be for the best that Furlong didn’t reprise his role.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day star Edward Furlong recalls losing out on a role in 2003’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Directed by Jonathan Mostow, the third film in the popular Terminator franchise sees Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 (though technically a T-850 this time) return for another action-packed adventure. This time, the robot is sent back to protect John Connor, played by Nick Stahl, and his future wife, Kate Brewster (Claire Danes), from an advanced liquid metal assassin as the threat of nuclear annihilation looms.

During a recent appearance on the Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum podcast, Furlong opens up about how close he came to reprising his role as John in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

According to the actor, a contract had actually been signed, but he broke the terms of the agreement when his struggles with addiction led him to overdose on cocaine. Read Furlong’s full recollection of events below, and why it may have been a blessing in disguise that the role was recast:

“The big one…when I lost Terminator 3. Oh my God, dude. So much drugs in my life. That was the contract, they were like we want you to not do any drugs. Whatever, just sign a clause in the contract – no drugs.

“And it was a sweet deal. It was the best deal that I had ever gotten in my life. For T3, it was like a lot of money, like millions. And I had never made that kind of money, so I called my friends and I’m like, ‘Guys, I just signed this f—ing awesome contract, we’re going to go to the club, we’re going to get a bunch of blow, and we’re going to… that’s it. This is the end, man, we’re going to f—ing do it.’

“So we made a whole thing, we went out to this club called Joseph’s. I remember I poured some coke on the toilet, but too much fell out of the bag, and I was like, ‘F–k.’ I didn’t know what to do with it, so I was like, ‘F–k it,’ and I carved this huge f—ing horse rail and I just did it.

“And I remember walking out and I’m like talking to this chick, and then all of a sudden I wake up and the lights in the club are on. People are, like, standing around me, my buddy’s crying, he’s holding me.

“I’m like, ‘What happened?’ He’s like, ‘Dude, you f—ing OD’d.’ And I’m like, ‘I didn’t OD, what are you talking about?’… I had a seizure so time disappears. When you have a coke overdose, time disappears, you have no idea what happened…. The ambulance came, it was so embarrassing.

“And the news caught wind and, of course, they’re like, ‘Yeah, you know, you lost the movie. We’re not going to do it with you.’ That was it. And I was like, ‘I’m so sorry, Oh my God,’ but it didn’t matter. I had just signed a contract saying that.

“I don’t know what that was. That was the worst luck or maybe the best luck… I was already on a downward trajectory in a lot of ways, so maybe if I had had that it would’ve been worse.”


10 Things The Terminator Sequels Did To Ruin James Cameron’s Franchise After 1991’s Judgement Day

Even without James Cameron’s involvement, the Terminator franchise continued after Judgment Day but with some unfortunately polarizing decisions.

Is It For The Best That Edward Furlong Didn’t Return As John Connor In Terminator 3?

Rise Of The Machines Is A Divisive Entry In The Franchise

Nick Stahl as John Connor and Claire Danes as Kate in Terminator 3 Rise of the Machines

Following James Cameron’s acclaimed Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the franchise is much more of a mixed bag in terms of quality. At the time of its release, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was far and away the worst movie in the franchise, though subsequent films arguably dethrone it from this position. As seen in the chart below, the film sees a noticeable decrease in both critics’ and audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes from the first two installments.


Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score

The Terminator (1984)



Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)



Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)



Terminator: Salvation (2009)



Terminator: Genisys (2015)



Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)



Some of this is likely due to Cameron’s absence as director. The acclaimed filmmaker directed both of the first two installments, and while he had been developing a Terminator 3 idea with Fox, the project didn’t make it far into development before rights issues essentially killed it. The result is a movie that, while not half bad in the grand scheme of things, pales in comparison to the first two entries in terms of quality.

Furlong’s addiction struggles aside, his return for the film may have ultimately made the larger Terminator franchise timeline more confusing. 2019’s Terminator: Dark Fate ignores the events of Terminator 3, for example, and serves as a direct sequel to the second movie. Stahl’s casting as John ultimately helps the third film to feel more disconnected from this franchise canon, which could be for the best. While it would have been interesting to see Furlong reprise his role in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, the actor’s latest comments suggest it may have negatively impacted his battle with addiction.

Source: Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Jonathan Mostow

Release Date
July 2, 2003

James Cameron , Gale Anne Hurd , John D. Brancato , Michael Ferris , Tedi Sarafian

109 minutes

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