Go: Cinema: At Last - a Call for Loken Motion

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HER height, her imposing frame and her deep husky voice used to work against actress Kristanna Loken - until Terminator 3 came along and the nordic beauty got the chance to play the role she was made for...

IT takes an exceptional actress to convince audiences they could beat the mighty Terminator in physical combat. But that's exactly what Kristanna Loken is.

Of the 10,000 women across the world who auditioned to be the indomitable T-X, Loken stood out a mile. With Nordic good looks, an imposing 5ft 11in frame, a surprisingly low, husky voice, and a presence that made Arnold Schwarzenegger say "sign her up" as soon as he met her, it seems she was born for the part.

"I really felt it was the right role for me," smiles Loken. "When I was growing up people never quite knew how to cast me with my height, size and voice. Suddenly, the things that worked against me in the past were working for me. So I think that this, at last, is the right marriage for my real character with the character on screen. Finally, I have the freedom to be who I am."

Made for the part she may be, but having to beat up Arnold Schwarzenegger - one of the screen's toughest heroes - was a daunting task, especially for an actress's first film.

"At first there was a little trepidation in thinking I was supposed to be stronger than one of the strongest men in history," she admits. "But I did a lot of training to build up the physical belief that I could take Arnold on."

Loken showed as much dedication to physical training as Schwarzenegger. She put on 15 pounds of muscle mass, did weapons and weight training and learned Krav Maga, an Israeli form of martial arts taught in the military.

"It's really a kind of brutal street fighting," explains Loken. "It incorporates surroundings, maybe picking up a lamp and smashing it over a head!

"It was tough, but I kept seeing Arnold in my workouts and pushing myself, going 'OK, I can do it, I can do it'."

All her efforts paid off. "Arnold said that, in the end, we were like two bulldozers going at it," Loken laughs. "I did feel kind of invincible.

"In the whole period of making the film I carried myself much more aggressively and was much more assertive than I normally would be. It took me a while to decompress after filming ended, to step back and say I didn't need to be this strong and have this kind of mentality any more."

As well as the task of trying to terminate the Terminator, Loken also had to film a 'birthing scene' when she arrived from the future - totally nude. The T-X arrives in the window of an upscale boutique in Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. It would have been a toe-curling task for any actress, but Loken didn't even blush.

"How can you pass up an opportunity to be nude on Rodeo Drive?" she exclaims. "It doesn't get more exhilarating than that."

Until now Loken has appeared in a television mini series not shown outside the US. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines will undoubtedly be her big break. So, for now, she's enjoying the calm before the inevitable storm of publicity.

"It feels kind of strange," she says. "The work's been done since last September, so I've had months to really marinate in all the craziness that's about to ensue.

"You just try to stay grounded and make sure that all the important elements in your life are present. To see the posters everywhere, and the craziness, it's really starting to happen."

No-one but Arnie fills Terminator's boots THE Terminator has transcended time, cut through all cultures and barged across borders and backgrounds to become a global icon.

Arnold Schwarzenneger's most famous role is an instantly recognisable - and staggeringly profitable - image. …