The story of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rise to fame, fortune and power reads like one of the most unlikely, muscle-bound fairy tales in the history of pop culture. So, who better to explain how the hell it all happened than The Terminator himself?
“This is the story you know, so are you ready for the story you don’t?” teased Arnie, as a glitzy montage of clips from his most memorable films was screened before he walked out to a standing ovation.
Unlike many events of this nature, which have a tendency to come across as scripted and over rehearsed, Schwarzenegger seemed genuinely pleased to be in Edinburgh and was candid, open and full of entertaining anecdotes about everything from his strenuous training routine, his political career, philanthropic endeavours and his most famous quote, ‘I’ll Be Back’.
“It was so difficult to do and there was so much fighting going on about this one stupid line,” he explained to television’s Jenni Falconer, after admitting he tried to change it during filming. “James Cameron is kind of rough as a director. So he asked me if I read the script – I told him ‘yes, many times’. And he says ‘well what does the script say?’ And I tell him ‘it says I’ll be back’ and he says ‘well why the fuck don’t you just say I’ll be back then? Why would you make up a new line? You’re not the writer.’ This went back and forth for hours – I just thought it sounded funny.
“May I remind you that not him, nor me, ever thought that anyone would repeat that line. It’s something that only happens when you out of the movie and people start asking you to repeat the line exactly like you did in the film. That’s when you realise it’s unique.”
“First of all, let me just say that he just won a Golden Globe and he is a fantastic actor,” he explained, after being quizzed on his infamous rivalry with Sylvester Stallone. “But he and I were at war in the Eighties – we hated each other and the reason was because we both had big egos – it was a battle of who made more money at the box office, who worked with better directions, who had more muscles on the screen, less body fat, the biggest guns and the longest knives. The competition was unbelievable.
“We hated each other but it was a means of motivation as I looked at him and couldn’t wait to pass his box office whilst he looked at me and couldn’t wait to pass mine. In the end, it helped us get to where we are now. Now, we really are the best of friends – I go to his house to watch UFC fights and football games and he comes to mine for dinners and parties. We hang out and smoke old stogies together!
“I think that Stallone has a good shot of winning an Oscar as I think people finally recognise that his work is great and he has a great variety of different work…the trick of acting is not to act out the scene but to be totally believable as that character as people have to buy into it. He did a straight ten job of that in the movie.
“One thing I know for sure is that the Oscar people are prejudice against Austrians as I’ve been overlooked too many times now!” Schwarzenegger added, confirming that his sense of humour is alive and well.
“I am having a great time and living a great life. I said earlier that if someone was to make a movie of my life then they’d say that it’s impossible and it could never happen – but it did.”
Funny, charming and motivational – hopefully he’ll be back!
Words: Amy Anderson