Arnold Schwarzenegger, out of politics, returns to his movie roots
By Cindy Pearlman January 14, 2013 7:24PM
Arnold Schwarzenegger | Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images file photo
Where Arnold Schwarzenegger stands on a few dream projects
The next “Terminator”: “I love that character. Give me a great script.”
A new “Conan the Barbarian”: “I would have chosen to do another ‘Conan’ already if it had been ready. There is an executive at Universal who is a big believer in bringing the character back. It has to be really high quality for me. That script will be ready this year.”
A sequel to “Twins”: It was to be called “Triplets” and also star Danny DeVito and a new brother played by Eddie Murphy. “I’ve been trying to get Universal to do that for 10 years. Up until recently, they didn’t see the value. Now the new leadership thinks it’s a brilliant idea. They have hired the writers. It’s full blast ahead.”
A museum dedicated to him in his Austrian hometown: “It’s in the house I grew up in as a boy. They decided to make it into a museum. I provided them with a lot of things including the original weights I lifted when I was 15. The whole house is filled with memorabilia. It’s a nice tribute.”
Updated: February 16, 2013 6:15AM
LOS ANGELES — It’s 9 a.m. at the Four Seasons Hotel, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is back.
Back at the pastry cart, that is.
The former Mr. Olympia reaches for one buttery croissant, then another.
Sure, they’re the smallest pastries you’ve even seen, but still. There are crumbs on his mouth that were never there in the ’80s.
Then he says words that would have never crossed his lips in the old days: “I give myself a little break these days,” says the 65-year-old actor. “Why not?”
Why not indeed? He’s had an eventful couple of years that saw the breakup of his marriage to Maria Shriver and the big reveal that he fathered a child with their former housekeeper.
He’s also not the Governator anymore.
“I’m glad that Jerry Brown is now schvitzing it out,” he jokes in his thick, trademark accent.
Arnold isn’t schvitzing. He’s re-engineering his life, including his first starring role in seven years in “The Last Stand” (opening Friday).
“I did a car chase scene through a cornfield for this movie,” he says. “I could hear the stunt coordinator screaming, ‘Faster, faster, faster.’ I’m driving 80 miles an hour through a cornfield with ears of corn flying in my face.”
He laughs before admitting, “It’s still a great thrill. I was also thrilled to do another movie last year where at midnight, I was swimming in ice cold water. What an experience! I’ve already lived 65 years and I’m still doing these things in my life.”
In “The Last Stand,” he plays a small town Arizona sheriff who must stop a drug cartel leader from blazing through his city limits on a mad run to the Mexican border.
Schwarzenegger says he always planned to make another run at the movie business. “As you remember, when I got into the governorship in 2003, I said, ‘I will go in and run the state for seven years. Then I will be back in the movie business,’ ” he says. “I was a public servant for seven years. Now, I’m back to my regular life again.”
Schwarzenegger worried if his fans would be there for his return.
“When you leave the movie business for seven years, it’s a scary thing to come back,” he says. “You don’t know if you’ll be accepted again. There could be a whole new generation of action heroes.”
The film has its fair share of shooting. Where does the former public service stand on gun control vs. Hollywood?
“There is entertainment, and then the other thing is a tragedy beyond belief and the real day,” Schwarzenegger says. “When you have a tragedy like [the Newtown shootings], you would be foolish not to look at what we can do as a society to reduce the risk of those kinds of issues.
“Will it go away? No. It will never go away,” he says of real-life tragedy.
“You have to still make a 100 percent effort and ask, ‘How can we do better with gun laws?’ ” he says. “I say, ‘Let’s analyze. Let’s not jump to conclusions. Are we really dealing with the mental problems in the right way as a society?’
“We have to analyze how we deal with mental illnesses, gun laws and parenting.”
Married to TV correspondent and author Shriver since 1986 and the father of their four children, Schwarzenegger experienced scandal when the long-ago affair with their family housekeeper, Mildred Patricia Baena, was revealed. She gave birth to a son less than a week after Shriver gave birth to their fourth child, Christopher.
He wrote about the situation in his recent autobiography “Total Recall.” In the book, he revealed that he denied the affair to Shriver until she brought it up during a marriage counseling session several months before they broke up. He has called this incident “the stupidest thing I’ve done in the whole relationship.”
He remains close to his children with Shriver. “I just got back from a one-week ski trip with my kids in Sun Valley,” he says. “Of course, kids try to outski you. It becomes a fierce competition.
“I can still do all that stuff,” he insists with a wry smile.
How does he feel about aging? “I’m no different than you. We all look in the mirror and say, ‘What happened?’ You once had muscles and now slowly they’re deteriorating.
“If you do work out, you stay in shape and feel good,” he says. “I feel good right now.”
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