Terminator Genisys

Embracing the Legacy of Terminator Genisys | Interview w/ Dayo Okeniyi

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Miles Dyson, previously played by Joe Morton (T2: Judgement Day) and Phil Morris (Sarah Connor Chronicles) and now played by Courtney B. Vance, was the cybernetics scientist that took material (cpu chip and Terminator arm) from a crime scene in the first Terminator film and began work on a new processor. He was working toward creating revolutionary automated systems, unaware of the devastating future his work would lead to. T2 saw Sarah Connor and the crew stop Dyson’s research, but it merely delayed the inevitable.

Enter Danny Dyson. The younger Dyson plays a crucial role in Terminator Genisys and is played by the man known for his role as Thresh in The Hunger Games, Dayo Okeniyi, whom we had the honor of interviewing. That film was certainly the breakout moment for Dayo, but there was work to be done once he wrapped that role up. Hunger Games was really pivotal because it opened up a lot of doors. But there was still a fight to let people know I’m not just a brute, silent, tough guy,” states Dayo. “ There’s a lot more that I can do to show range. The Hunger Games opened up doors but I still had to go into those doors and close.”

Left to right: Courtney B. Vance plays Miles Dyson, Jason Clarke plays John Connor, and Dayo Okeniyi plays Danny Dyson in Terminator Genisys from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions.
Left to right: Courtney B. Vance plays Miles Dyson, Jason Clarke plays John Connor, and Dayo Okeniyi plays Danny Dyson in Terminator Genisys from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions.

Dayo Okeniyi was born in Nigeria and didn’t take to acting until his senior year in college. Roles in Hunger Games, Runner,Runner, and more led to this role, which turned out to have a personal connection as well.

While characters such as Sarah Connor, John Connor, and others maintain roles in name only, bridging all the movies is typically a weight placed on the T-100 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) considering he’s the only character who’s been played by the same actor. Dayo had plenty to say when I asked if he followed Arnold or the Terminator films growing up.

“I grew up as a fan of Arnold! I watched Commando until it snapped in the VHS. We watched it so much we just burned it out. He was definitely a hero of mine growing up,” he reflects. “I remember watching The Last Action Hero and being mad that I wasn’t the kid starring in the movie with him!”

Terminator Genisys

Dayo’s character solidifies the legacy of the new Terminator reboot. Due to the nature of the franchise and its foundation of time travel, restarting the story is nearly written into the narrative. Genisys keeps its roots in mind, though, having the Dyson family tree continue to be central to the dire future of the Terminator world.

“He’s working for his father in Cyberdyne Systems and he’s kind of on the cusp of becoming the CEO. There’s the spirit of the passing of the torch,” says Dayo. “With this new technology that they’re bringing into the world in this movie, Danny is the one helming the press. He’s the one being the face of it. He doesn’t know it but he’s the Trojan horse of what this AI is going to eventually become. He’s responsible for creating the age of the machine but he doesn’t know it yet.”

Term3

During the promo run for Genisys, there was a bit of an uproar when the second trailer revealed what seemed to be a huge plot point. No spoilers here, but many wondered if there would be much left to see when the film comes to theaters. “Absolutely,” Dayo says with great confidence. “There’s so much story that’s in there.”

Be sure to hit theaters for Terminator Genisys July 1st (or late evening the day before) to see what Cyberdyne Systems has in store.

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Charles Singletary Managing Editor
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