x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

What next for a post-political Arnold Schwarzenegger?

The former governor of California, the once and future action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger, is considering his options for a return to the big screen. Another Terminator is one possibility.

The once and future Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger may take his cue from Clint Eastwood as he contemplates his screen options after eight years in politics.
The once and future Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger may take his cue from Clint Eastwood as he contemplates his screen options after eight years in politics.

He always said he’d be back… and now he is. Well, soon enough, ­anyway.

In the four short months since leaving office, the 38th governor of California has been linked to a multitude of prospective projects in both film and television. From an animated children’s show that will make use of his nickname the Governator, to the aptly named drama Cry Macho and a new outing in the Terminator franchise, Arnold Schwarzenegger, 63, could be about to dominate the entertainment landscape once again.

Last month, the Austrian-born former Mr Universe claimed he was being courted for roles in no fewer than 15 possible films, including sequels (or remakes, oddly) to the popular favourites Predator, True Lies and The Running Man.

Schwarzenegger, who has made only minor film appearances since his election as governor in 2003, has shown a particular interest in the script for the Second World War drama, With Wings as Eagles.

“I would play an older [German] soldier, who gets the order at the ending of the war to kill a bunch of kids. But he doesn’t do it and gets them to safety at the risk of his life and it has all kind of adventures,” he told the Austrian newspaper Krone.

Written by Randall Wallace (Pearl Harbor) and based on a true story, the film would have a special significance for the actor, whose father was a member of the Nazi Party. In the same interview, Schwarzenegger cited Clint Eastwood as his late-career role model and suggested that his future projects might be less action-orientated than those from his 1980s heyday.

“Throwing myself around the room and shooting people is no longer in there,” he said. “I’m like a sponge that soaks up knowledge and is constantly willing to learn new things.”

Also touted as a possibility for Schwarzenegger’s comeback as a leading man is The Last Stand. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it would see the muscleman playing a small-town sheriff, with only “inexperienced staff” to help him catch a crime boss who is attempting to cross the border into Mexico.

However, the film that is most likely to mark the star’s big-screen return after eight years of battle with nothing more taxing than California’s budget problems is Cry Macho. It’s the tale of a horse trainer who travels to Mexico (yup, again) to kidnap a boy at the request of his former boss, before striking-up a friendship with the lad.

Based on the 1975 novel of the same name by N Richard Nash, the project will be produced by Al Ruddy, known for the Oscar-winning films The Godfather and Million Dollar Baby.

“I guarantee that you’ll get another look at Arnold Schwarzenegger in this movie,” Ruddy told Reuters. “Arnold always plays these big, muscular guys, but there’s a sweetness to [him] in real life, and we want to bring that sweetness to the screen.”

The producer hopes to find independent financing for the project at the Cannes Film Festival, which starts on Wednesday, rather than going through a big Hollywood studio. Schwarzenegger will reportedly receive a US$12.5 million (Dh45.9m) fee for the film, due to begin shooting in September, plus a cut of ticket sales and other perks.

Perhaps the most exciting announcement for long-time Arnie fans has been the news that the actor is also being lined-up to reprise his most famous role: the Terminator. Last month it was disclosed that he was part of a pitch for a fifth film in the series, put together by the Fast & Furious franchise director Justin Lin.

Aside from Schwarzenegger’s return as the manhunting cyborg, little is known about what Terminator 5 might entail, although Lin told MTV he hoped to create something “closer tonally to the first and second movies” than to the critically berated Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation.

Drawing both great interest and mockery (not least on the web) well before its arrival, is The Governator, a multiplatform series that will present a fictionalised account of Schwarzennegger’s post-politics career. As well as utilising Iron Man-like suits and transforming motorcycles, the clip shows the crime-fighting hero aided by two tech-savvy teenagers in his secret mansion hideaway.

Co-developed by Marvel Comics president Stan Lee, the cartoon character (voiced by Schwarzenegger) appeared in an animated trailer last month. The actor plans to launch a 52-episode cartoon series and comic book in the coming months.

With Schwarzenegger even talking-up a big-screen 3D outing for the character in 2013, it seems that both the real-life and cartoon Governator’s future successes are already assured.

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