20 years ago she challenged Arnold, but have you ever heard of her?

                              July 2003 By Philip Berk

The part (in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines) called for someone capable of beating the Arnold Schwarzenegger in physical combat.

Ten thousand actresses auditioned for the role.

Kristanna Loken got the part.

Because she doesn’t speak in the movie, at her press conference you expect a statuesque blonde, tall and undeniably beautiful,to walk into the room.

But what you don’t expect is someone articulate and intelligent.

This is one sexpot with brains.

Immediately you think of Bo Derek in 10 since we’ve been told her next film will be a remake of the movie with Colin Farrell in the Dudley Moore role.

But surprisingly when asked about it, she makes no apologies.

“That was a complete fabrication,” she tells me.”I don’t know where that came from.” 

Obviously from her resemblance to Bo Derek.

Or even Sharon Stone.

When told that, she is flattered.

“I’ve heard that comparison before, and I take it as an absolute compliment.”

Impressed with her verbal gifts, I ask her if she was an honors student in high school?

“I actually put myself through high school,” she answers.”I did a home school program and finished it in two years.”

How come?

“I was so busy working. You must remember I started acting at thirteen. By the time I was fifteen I had done a soap and a few other shows in New York.”

Her mother had been a model. Is that why she went into modeling?

“It was she who suggested it. So I did it for a year but all the while I was studying acting, doing television, pursuing that passion which was always at my core from the time I was a little girl.”

Did acting come naturally to her?

“My dad was an actor and a writer — mainly he did theatre in New York. He always stressed the importance of training and taking classes. There’s never any end to learning your craft and honing your skills. That was always made important to me. So I’ve worked really hard.”

Are her parents still together?

“They’ve been together for forty-one years. I have one older sister, sixteen years my senior.”

Are they both actors?

“Actually my parents own an organic fruit farm in upstate New York. They have a gourmet roadside market and they have also created a petting zoo for children/”

So she didn’t grow up in New York?

“I was raised on the farm.”

Was her father an actor or a farmer?

“Actually a writer; in the off season he wrote plays, novels, screenplays,  poems, songs, a bit of everything.”

And where does she live now?

“In Los Angeles. I live in the Burbank Rancho Equestrian district. I chose that location because I grew up riding horses, and that’s still a major part of my life. I spend a lot of time riding in Griffith Park in the hills there.” 

So riding is her hobby?

“I also like to do a lot of hiking with my dog.”

What type of house does she have?

“It’s a modest home which has suited me for the past few years. It’s my own little sanctuary.” 

Does she live alone, or does she have a boyfriend?

“I have a boyfriend.”

How did they meet?

“That’s kind of interesting. He grew up on a neighboring fruit farm. I had a crush on him when I was four, but we started a new type of relationship just recently.”

His name?


And her dog’s name?


Kristanna Loken is a Norwegian name. 

Are both her parents from Norway?

“Yes, they were first generation in the States, I was second.”

How Norwegian are they?

“Even though they grew up in Wisconsin, we did have Norwegian traditions especially around Christmas time.”

Have they been back?

“We visited there ten  years ago; we still have distant relatives there.”

Which cities did they visit?

“We went to  Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim. I remember they made fun of my dad because he speaks a very archaic Norwegian.”

Does she speak any Norwegian?

“I know a few phrases, a Norwegian prayer, but that’s about it.”

Does her boyfriend also horseback ride?

“He’s definitely an adventurer and likes outdoor activities. I’m sure he might be interested, but I just might want to keep that for me and the girls. We’ve been on some fun adventure rides. We’ve done Ireland, Hawaii, and Africa. In fact we were in Namibia, Southern Africa, when 9/11 happened. We were so far removed from civilization we didn’t know it happened until a week later.”

Has she always had equestrian friends?

“Not really. It all started when I was doing a show, and got to know another actress who happened to be an equestrienne. We started talking about these rides, and now she’s one of my dearest friends. We’ve done these rides together and hopefully we’ll continue. I’m sure she will. She worked on Terminator 3. She just happens to be the same height as me and has the same hair color and skin tone, so she was my stand in. It was really nice to have her support on the film.” 

For the role in the film she gained fifteen pounds of muscle. How did she accomplish that?

“I did a lot training, but I put on the muscle by lifting weights. I also did weapons training, and learned an Israeli form of martial arts called Krav Magad, which they teach in their military.”

How challenging was playing a role without dialogue?

“Very challenging. People think, oh, you’re a robot, you do nothing but walk through a room. But it was quite the contrary. You become aware of the little things people take for granted, human traits like blinking your eyes or showing exertion. Those things had to be eliminated. Heavy breathing. I had to be in peak athletic shape, but the real challenge for me was conveying the character without words or eye movement.”

Was she hurt during the production?

“Luckily no, but I did sustain some bruises.”

Did Arnold offer you his eighteen-wheeler work-out room, which he offered her costars Nick Stahl and Claire Danes?

“No he didn’t,” she answers somewhat miffed.

But then she quickly recovers.

“I had my own gym in my trailer, which was a floor routine and a weight routine. I also had a bike there for cardio. Whenever I wasn’t on the set I was back in my trailer training.” 

The foods, however, were her real training?

“Absolutely. They were the foundation, and they changed biweekly. My nutritionist would take blood from my finger, put it in a machine, and he would print out your triglycerides, your metabolism, your cholesterol. He would know if I had a glass of wine the night before. There was absolutely no sugar and no dairy in my diet. Mostly whey, protein shakes that Arnold himself had pioneered. A lot of fish, low protein, low complex carbs, a lot of veggies. And by the end of it, it was amazing. The first thing I ate afterwards was pasta. I hadn’t had carbs for about a month and a half, and just taking a hard candy the first time, it ate the skin off the roof of my mouth. The sweetness of a raisin made me cringe. And the hardness of a chip, I couldn’t even bite down on it. I hadn’t had anything that hard in my mouth for so long. So it was pretty wild.”

The boob gag in the movie. How was that accomplished?

“It was pretty funny. They had no idea how they were going to do it. They tried all different ways. They went about it  really scientifically. Under the bra they had these air-filled bladders with a little pump, and if you see the screen test where I’m trying to be TX-like, one of them pops and then the other fizzles. We had to work on that. But after they  strengthened the bladders, it worked out okay.”

Was she afraid of the nudity?

“My character enters from the future into our world, she’s nude with no awareness of her nudity, which she later learns is not socially acceptable. It never bothered me.”

Where does she see her career going? 

“It’s interesting when you get a role like this. People think you came out of nowhere, but I’ve had eight years of television, worked in small films, studied and honed my craft. So right now I don’t feel like, ‘Oh my God, what am  going to do next?’ I feel it’s right, it’s ready, and I can’t wait to do other projects.”

How computer savvy is she?

“I’m probably one of the few of my generation who doesn’t know how to turn on a computer. I can press the buttons on a phone, and that’s about it.’

Is she into organic foods?

“Growing up on the farm I had very strong ties to the earth; you’re very much in touch with the weather, when it’s not raining, when it’s freezing, when the buds come out. I definitely still feel a connection to that, and now in my adult life I eat healthily, but I cheat a little once in a while.”

For the record, she’s not into fashion; she would “rather be comfortable than look great,” but she’s learning to incorporate the two.

She’ll be 24 in December.