Terminator Dark Fate Interview: Austinite Gabriel Luna stars as the Rev-9 Killing Machine

By Liz Lopez

Learning that Austinite Gabriel Luna was to star as the Rev-9 Terminator in “Terminator: Dark Fate,” it was some of the best news I have read this year. I have had the opportunity to meet and interview him since his starring role as Nate Hitchins in the Narrative Feature “Dance with the One” when it screened at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival. Since then, some highlights from his career include “Bernie,” the lead role of Tony Bravo in the “Matador” TV series, the “True Detective” TV series, “Transpecos,” another feature film that screened at SXSW, and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” TV series as Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider.

Luna was in Austin for a press tour prior to the opening of Terminator: Dark Fate in theaters November 1st – in case you have not seen the film, there may be a spoiler or two sprinkled in. Reader beware!

EL – How did you feel when you were notified about being selected to star in the film?

GL- Excited! I got an email after 4 ½ months of auditions. I was alone – looking at a grocery list my wife had sent me. My heart was beating out of my chest, but I was smiling when I went to the store to get the groceries. I had to share (the news) with my wife, my mom and grandma.

Q – The film is full of action. What can you share from your work that may have been a challenge?

GL – We purposely went through the training. (While filming in Budapest, he trained alongside Arnold S.) I went from 172 pounds to 190 with lots of work and lots of good food. There is plenty of discipline in the food and diet. There was a boot camp before starting. There was training in weapons and blades, etc. I took ice baths, (and other ways) to get through the 12 – hour days at work. You have to be sure you are able/capable to do this every day. I did well all along until towards the end before I fractured two ribs.

Q – You mentioned before about almost drowning as a child. Was that a challenge for you?

GL – My cousin Ramon saved me. Since then, I have emerged from the fear of water. I learned how to swim well at 12. –My brother Timothy did a dead – man float and I’ve been swimming since then. This work required being under 30 feet of water. You have to have the core strength. There was an option to have a stuntman, but I wanted to do the work – not the stuntman. I did well under pressure and water. 

Q – From the sound of this conversation, it seems like this work and experience gave you more confidence and pride.

GL: After this, yes! After the 7 -8 months of post – production, you get to see the final. There you know what you are capable of; see what you can endure. You test yourself to see if you can do it – knowing it is coming out – and knowing it will be important. Robert Rodriguez – he’s my hero- was sitting next to me watching the film (at an advance screening) and I was glad to see him enjoying it.

Q- It is important (and a big step in Hollywood) that you and Natalia Reyes have prominent roles that audiences (like us and of all ages) will view on the screen. Can you share your thoughts about this?

GL –Natalia is Colombiana. The first 20 minutes of the film are in Spanish – we are giving certain characters to identify with – women, Latinos, etc. but all naturally. “Terminator” always had women – beginning with Sarah Conner -but it came naturally. Mexico is sacred to her. She had an affinity for Mexico. At end of the first film, the 2nd film, and before the defeat of Skynet, she was in Mexico. Her Spanish is getting better and better there. Linda Hamilton/Sarah, now 30 years later, is a 62 year – old woman who can see all she has accomplished. She is incredible in her action – she trains hard – we had so much fun. All of this showed representation of all segments of the audience.

For a review of the film, click on this link:


Leave a comment