fri 12/07/2024

The Return of Arnold Schwarzenegger | reviews, news & interviews

The Return of Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Return of Arnold Schwarzenegger

The last action hero rides into town to promote his new movie, 'The Last Stand'

No longer Governor of California, Arnie gets back to his real job

As promised, he's back. Arnold Schwarzenegger's last major movie appearance was in 2003's Teminator 3: Rise of the Machines, probably the worst of the Terminators but a lucrative one nonetheless. Since then he has popped up in a few cameo roles including an appearance as Prince Hapi in the Jackie Chan/Steve Coogan remake of Around the World in 80 Days, but from 2003-2011, he was mostly preoccupied with being governor of California.

And handling a few personal issues of course, which led to him separating from his wife Maria Shriver in 2011.

Anyway, this week the 65-year-old Arnold gets top billing in a new movie once again. It's The Last Stand, a fast, funny and action-packed yarn from Korean director Kim Ji-woon about a small-town sheriff in Arizona who finds that only he and a motley assortment of allies stand in the way of an escaped Mexican drug baron and his severely tooled-up private army. Schwarzenegger touched down in London, with co-stars Johnny Knoxville (the accident-prone comic from MTV's Jackass) and Jaimie Alexander, who played Sif in the Kenneth Branagh-directed superhero flick, Thor, and told all (or at least some of it) to the press.

You need to know what you're fighting for, and then it is fun

Q: During your time as California's governor, did you always intend to return to acting?

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: I looked at it more like an ongoing acting career and a movie career and stepping out of that for seven years and doing the governorship. I made it very clear from the  beginning that I was not trying to become a career politician. I just thought that California was in crisis, and I felt that since California and America have given me every opportunity and that everything I have accomplished in life was because of America and California, that I should take seven years out of my life and be a public servant and serve the people of California regardless of the lack of pay. I gave the money back as a matter of fact. It was $187,000 a year, it was petty cash... I said I'll do it for free because it was an honour for me to do the job. It was the most educational thing I've ever done.

What were you looking for in your comeback role?

I think I was fortunate that Sylvester Stallone asked me to be in The Expendables 2 because that was kind of breaking the ice. I had a great time working in Bulgaria and doing this movie with him, and then I went directly from Bulgaria to New Mexico where we filmed The Last Stand. By the time I got to the set I felt I was warmed up and not as concerned as I had been about getting back into it again, so it was a good icebreaker and I thank Stallone for that. What I was looking for was simply a typical kind of Arnold action movie, and The Last Stand had great chase scenes, great action pieces, great fight scenes and shoot-outs, and there was also great comic relief and a good story. I also played a character [Sheriff Ray Owens] who was somewhat more vulnerable than what I've played in the past. Then I was very impressed with the work Kim Ji-woon has done in his previous movies, and I thought it would be really interesting to have a new look at action movies.

There isn't a lot of CGI in The Last Stand. Do you prefer working with or without it?

Personally for me it doesn't matter, it depends what the story is. If you do a Spiderman story I cannot imagine you could do it without CGI. In some of these big battle movies, you can't produce 100,000 warriors without CGI. I remember even in True Lies [1994] we used a lot of CGI, and the Terminator movies used a lot of CGI. With The Last Stand we used very little, because there was just a cornfield in the background that did not cooperate and stay the same colour throughout the shooting of the movie. It started out green and then all of a sudden it turned yellow, so we could use CGI for that, but it was more like The Expendables, where you used the old-fashioned way. You do the action, you choreograph the action and try to deliver as much reality [as possible].  Because in the end people can tell.

In the light of your own vastly successful career, do you have any advice for young people who might want to follow suit?

The most important thing is you've got to have a goal. To go in the direction I went in takes a lot of hard work, and I think to hang out in the gym and train five hours a day is almost impossible if you don't have a clear goal and know why you're doing it. You need to know what you're fighting for, and then it is fun. I always had fun because I knew why I was doing it and I was absolutely convinced that I would get there no matter what anyone said, because my whole life everyone said it can't be done, no-one has ever come from Austria to be Mr Universe, or in politics if you run for Governor you're going to lose because people don't take people from showbusiness seriously in politics... And I didn't pay any attention because I believed I could do it. You've got to have fire in your belly and not be shy of working because it's a lot of work (Schwarzenneger as the Terminator, pictured above).

What new projects do you have in the pipeline?

There are three that involve me - Terminator 5 which we're writing now, a Conan movie and a sequel to Twins called Triplets. That will be quite different because the third one will be Eddie Murphy, so figure that one out.

What are your favourite catchphrases from your film career?

Obviously "I'll be back", or from Commando the line "I lied", or "it's not a tumour" [Kindergarten Cop]. Or from Predator, "get to da chopper!", or when I nailed the guy with a knife through the chest and I said "stick around". But the interesting thing is you never know ahead of time which line is gonna make it, because somehow people themselves will pick the lines and make them famous. So you never know.

I gave the money back as a matter of fact. It was $187,000 a year, it was petty cash

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