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"I'd rather have a small part in a good film with good people than play the lead in something I don't really care for."
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Michael Connell Biehn (born July 31, 1956) is an American actor and director. He's a science-fiction icon, having portrayed two very well-known heroes of sci-fi; Kyle Reese in The Terminator and Dwayne Hicks in Aliens.

Best known for being the go-to guy for James Cameron back in the 1980s with The Terminator, Aliens, and The Abyss, Biehn seemed destined for great things following those collaborations, but his career never quite took off and his career became made up of smaller projects and supporting roles in major films, such as his memorable turn as the evil Johnny Ringo in Tombstone.

Also a Chronically Killed Actor.

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  • Acting for Two:invoked He appears in two Grindhouse segments; the first is playing Sheriff Hague in Planet Terror, and the second is appearing as another sheriff in the fake trailer for Thanksgiving.
  • Actor-Inspired Element:invoked In The Terminator he suggested that Reese scream into the wall when being interrogated in the police station.
  • Casting Gag:invoked In The Abyss he plays the antagonist to Ed Harris's hero. In The Rock Ed is now the antagonist and Michael is a good guy.
  • Chronically Killed Actor: Though his most famous role, Corporal Hicks, starts out as a subversion he suffers from Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome in the opening credits of Alien³.
  • Creator Backlash: invoked Timebomb, because he believed in the movie and took a pay cut to appear in it - only to be massively disappointed with the final product.
  • Dawson Casting:invoked Just about in his film debut Coach - he was nineteen playing a high schooler. He was also twenty-one playing a teen in the comedy Hog Wild.
  • Directed by Cast Member:invoked He directed and wrote The Victim, which he starred in.
  • Doing It for the Art:invoked "I'd rather have a small part in a good film with good people than play the lead in a film I don't care for."
  • Good-Looking Privates: Tended to get cast as attractive military types.
  • It's Pronounced "Tro-PAY": The last name is pronounced like 'bean', rather than 'byen'.
  • Money, Dear Boy:invokedAnnoyed at not being included in Alien3 - and when he saw a dummy of Hicks with its stomach torn open - demanded what equaled his entire salary for Aliens for one picture of him to appear at the beginning.
  • Mr. Fanservice: In the '80s, he had a tendency to do plenty of Shirtless Scenes. In The Terminator, he's fully nude.
  • Old Shame:invoked
    • He called Navy Seals "probably the worst experience of my life."
    • He lists Jade - an erotic thriller that he didn't understand while he was shooting it - and Deadfall - a disaster infamous for Nicolas Cage's hammy performance - in the "bottom five" of movies that he's done.
    • He didn't enjoy his work on Colonial Marines describing his experience as "wasn’t fun at all. I just didn’t really have any fun".
    • He also regrets how he handled the whole thing of Hicks's death in Alien³, saying had he known the future of director David Fincher, he wouldn't have fought so hard for money for the use of a photo in hopes of working with him.
  • The Other Marty: invoked James Remar was cast as Hicks in Aliens but fired a few days into production after James Cameron learned about his drug problem. He still appears in a couple of shots in the alien nest, but from behind and wearing armor, so it's hard to tell who's who.
  • Playing Against Type:invoked Unusual in that his two most famous roles - Dwayne Hicks and Kyle Reese - are against type. He usually found himself typecast as villains. He joked "It must be the glint in my eyes. People think there's something wicked going on". James Cameron finally cast him as a villain in The Abyss and almost again in Avatar. He gets to play The Hero again in The Magnificent Seven.
  • Production Posse:invoked He's one of James Cameron's - appearing in three of his films (and four if you count a Deleted Scene in the second Terminator film).
  • Real-Life Relative:invoked In The Divide the pictures of Mickey's wife are pictures of Michael's real life wife Jennifer Blanc. She also stars alongside him in The Victim.
  • Running Gag: He gets bitten on the hand in every James Cameron film he's in.
  • Those Two Actors:invoked With Bill Paxton. In addition to their Cameron films, they've appeared in Tombstone and Navy SEALs. They were also good friends in real life.
  • Typecasting:invoked Usually as a military man or some kind of law enforcement figure. The exceptions are Kyle Reese (though Kyle is essentially a soldier anyway), Chris Laraby and sort of Mickey (who used to be a fireman).
  • What Could Have Been:invoked
    • He almost didn't get the role of Kyle Reese, as he had come to the audition while working on a part for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and was speaking with a southern accent. They didn't want Reese to seem 'regionalized' but after a talk with his agent, he was called back and given the part.
    • An early idea for Terminator 2: Judgment Day was to have a proper Face/Heel Double-Turn with the antagonist being a cyborg resembling Reese. James Cameron abandoned this idea, feeling it would be too confusing for viewers. Reese does appear in one scene that was deleted, but restored in the special edition.
    • He really regrets turning down Kathryn Bigelow's offer to star in Near Dark directly after Aliens, feeling he didn't appreciate what a good vision she had. Instead he opted to do The Seventh Sign and Rampage, both of which bombed and killed a lot of momentum for him.
    • The studio pushed for him to get a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his work in The Abyss but they were unsuccessful.
    • He was shown the script for The Usual Suspects and finding it hard to understand, declined to audition for it. Another career regret for him.
    • He was considered for the role of Colonel Quaritch in Avatar. Biehn was passed over and the role ultimately went to Stephen Lang (amusingly, his partner-in-crime in Tombstone).

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