Linda Hamilton, Jimmy Kimmel
Screenshot: Jimmy Kimmel Live

If there’s one good thing about the new (sixth? seventh if you count the TV show?) entry in the clankingly undying, exhaustedly rebooted Terminator franchise, it’s the unlikely-for-many-reasons return of Linda Hamilton. Having sat out what the A.V. Club’s Jesse Hassenger calls the “increasingly misbegotten follow-ups” to the original trilogy (and jury’s still out on the Hamilton-less Terminator 3), Hamilton’s increasingly badass world-savior Sarah Connor returns to kick (shoot, bazooka) some metal butt in Terminator: Dark Fate. Coming out to the sort of applause an audience gives to someone who’s saved their bacon on a number of occasions, the once more ripped-for-battle Hamilton sat down with Jimmy Kimmel on Tuesday to talk about returning to the film universe that helped launch her career some 35 years ago—and why it was such a hard sell.

“At all,” is how Hamilton quickly responded, with her signature throaty laugh, to Kimmel’s opener about her rumored reluctance to get back into Terminator-killing shape. And while the now 63-year-old Hamilton admitted to having plenty of “itis-es” thanks to the strenuous training regimen required to embody the even-more-formidable-than-ever Connor, it wasn’t the physical toll of the role that was her biggest stumbling block. That would be working again with original Terminator director and guy she famously divorced for infidelity among other things, James Cameron (who’s on board this time, at least in a producer’s capacity). “Jim Cameron called,” explained Hamilton. “And then he called a second time. And then he called a third time and said it’s about work, and I was like, ‘Oh, what’s up?’” Don’t cross Sarah Conner, is the message here.

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Kimmel, bringing up Hamilton’s former marriage to Cameron, joked whether she would be suing him for all the physical costs of reprising her most famous role, to which Hamilton, eyes all a-twinkle, responded, “That’s a great idea!” Just a joke—Cameron already paid Hamilton a rumored $50 million after cheating on her with Titanic actress and current wife Suzy Amis, so she’s good. As to her return to the land of the Terminators, Hamilton did express some disappointment at the film’s gala premiere being cancelled this week, what with California being on fire and all, although she didn’t exactly sound that broken up about it, honestly. “It’s okay,” shrugged Hamilton mischievously about the film after explaining that’d she’d finally gotten to see the finished project in a private screening. (Sort of the general consensus.) Once more, don’t mess with Linda Hamilton.