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'Terminator 3': Female Killing Machine

Arnold Schwarzenegger faces his deadliest foe to date in the continuation of the "Terminator" movie series, and the killing machine looks a lot like ex-model Kristanna Loken.

So what got her, at the young age of 23, the role to kick Arnold's butt in "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines"? Loken says, "I think I've always had a particular strength about me and this character was really able to showcase that."

Loken plays T-X, a cyborg given the mission to assassinate the one person — John Connor — who threatens the machines' reign of the future. The T-X is sent back in time to finish the job that its predecessor, the T-1000, couldn't. But, an even older cyborg model, the T-101 (Schwarzenegger), is programmed to help Connor. The trouble is, Connor and his machine bodyguard may find themselves outmatched by the T-X.

Loken tells The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen, "I had to question my first big film and I'm pinned against one of the strongest icons in cinema history, what does that represent? I try to take it step by step and he was definitely an inspiration to me and the first time I worked with him was kind of daunting. I am supposed to be more powerful than he is, but after a while, you warm up to him and he's really empowering to work with."

To get fit for the part, Loken says, "I wanted it to be believable. If I was going against Arnold, I felt I needed to be bigger. So I put on about 15 pounds of muscle mass. I did weight training, martial arts and worked with a mind coach."

Her character has very few lines in the movie, but thanks to her training, she communicated well with her facial expressions and overall body control.

She says, "as an actor you get used to saying your lines and getting your point across, but for me, it was, see how much can be conveyed with as large a gesture or small a gesture. Most of myself is alone, unless I'm killing someone, fighting Arnold. It was an interesting acting experience for me not to be able to feed off of someone else."

Loken initially followed her mother's footsteps and began modeling at the age of 15. As a teenager, she entered the Elite "Look of the Year" contest in Spain. Although she didn't win, casting agents soon noticed her and she was hired to play the troubled teen Dani Andropolous on CBS' "As the World Turns" in 1994.

She soon started taking television roles for Fox's "New York Undercover," NBC's "Law & Order," ABC's "Boy Meets World," The WB's "Unhappily Ever After" and "D.C." plus the syndicated "Mortal Combat: Conquest."
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