Linda Hamilton finally at peace with her 'badass' reputation

The "Terminator" icon can now be seen in "Resident Alien" and recently joined the cast of "Stranger Things."

New episodes of "Resident Alien," starring Linda Hamilton and Alan Tudyk, air Wednesdays on Syfy. Photo courtesy of NBCUniversal
1 of 4 | New episodes of "Resident Alien," starring Linda Hamilton and Alan Tudyk, air Wednesdays on Syfy. Photo courtesy of NBCUniversal

NEW YORK, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- The Terminator icon Linda Hamilton says that after four decades of being associated with the sci-fi franchise, she is at peace with her reputation for playing world-saving heroines.

"It's not what I started out to do as a career," Hamilton, 67, told UPI in a recent Zoom interview. "As actors, we just do the part and, if we do it well, then people will assign us certain attributes and then that just keeps going."


"All of the things I have had to create on film have informed me about myself, too. It took years and years and years and years before I finally went, 'I am a badass!'" she said.

The actress is playing another strong woman -- U.S. Air Force Gen. Eleanor McCallister -- in Season 3 of the Syfy comedy Resident Alien, airing Wednesday nights. She also recently joined Stranger Things for the fifth and final season of Netflix's 1980s-set supernatural-adventure series.


Resident Alien gives Hamilton the rare opportunity to be funny on screen, which she said makes it one of her favorite jobs ever.

"Our writer-creator Chris Sheridan is just absolutely genius. We need more of this. It's family-friendly. It's oddball. It's not horribly sophisticated, but it is," she said.

"It's beautifully done and then it's powered by Alan Tudyk's performance and all the wonderful comedians that are in it, too. Every day that I am on set, I feel like it's comedy camp. That's just a rich environment to do your best work."

The show is set in contemporary Colorado and centers on Tudyk's character, a space alien who adopts the identity of human doctor Harry, while plotting to destroy Earth and everyone on it.

The longer he stays on the planet, however, the more human he becomes and the more attached he gets to the friends and neighbors he meets, thus making it more difficult to complete his mission.

Hamilton described McCallister as a "general with daddy issues" and someone who has been obsessed with aliens since she was a little girl.

This season, McCallister tries to get Harry to work with the government to thwart the plans of The Greys, a species of aliens even more dangerous than he is.


"She's very much about protecting the world from The Greys at all costs, including dealing with Dr. Harry, who is a difficult partner to have," she said.

"Just because we've teamed up doesn't mean that, all of a sudden, we are on the same page. That is fun," Hamilton said. "I've had some challenges staying in character while he is doing his utmost mad things."

Although it's a comedy, the show asks big questions such as, "What makes us human?" And, "Why is humanity worth saving?"

These are themes Hamilton explored in The Terminator and they still appeal to her.

"Just when it starts to get really funny, they'll go and do something that just makes your heart squeeze tight with a really valid overview of humanity and then zeroing in on something that is so utterly real and beautiful," she said. "It has everything."

She's not divulging any details about who she will play on Stranger Things or how she fits into the story line, but she did say she is a longtime fan of the series and excited to be part of it.

"I cannot give one thing away," Hamilton said. "It's a show that I enjoyed watching. They have created such an incredible world that the [real] world is in love with."


As a viewer, she didn't see any room in the story for her as an actor.

"I had imposter syndrome. Like: 'I don't belong in that show! That show is a whole other world!'" Hamilton said.

"It was awkward. I didn't know how I could carve a place for myself here, but the Duffer brothers had done that for me and I'm beginning to feel a little bit more like I belong."

Asked what she thinks about the current debates about the real-world use of artificial intelligence after starring in several Terminator blockbusters about just how catastrophic this can be, Hamilton replied: "The movies were ahead of their time because they did predict a certain reality that might come into fruition.

"The jury is still out," she said. "We know there is a real threat from AI... I didn't write [Terminator]. I don't get to be the soothsayer that warned everyone. I embodied the soothsayer and it's kind of interesting to be that person right now."

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