Arnold Schwarzenegger and co-stars Interview
Arnold Schwarzenegger and co-stars Interview
Arnold Schwarzenegger, returning to movies with Kim Jee-woon’s action-packed thriller The Last Stand, was joined by co-stars Johnny Knoxville and Jaimie Alexander to chat about action films, classic catchphrases, the importance of setting and reaching professional goals, and what the future holds for this giant star of Hollywood and what films he may work on next.
Arnold, when you were getting back into movies, what were you looking for?

Arnold Schwarzenegger

I think that I was fortunate, first of all, that Sylvester Stallone asked me to be in The Expendables, so that was kind of breaking the ice. I had a great time working for four days in Bulgaria and then went directly from Bulgaria into New Mexico, where we filmed The Last Stand. So, by the time I got to the set of The Last Stand I felt that I had warmed up and was not as concerned as I was at the beginning about getting back into it again and wondering what it would be like, my first movie and so on.

So, it was a good ice-breaker and I thank Stallone for that. What I was looking for in a movie was just simply a typical kind of Arnold action movie and this one had great chase scenes, great action, great fight scenes and shoot-outs and it also had some great comic relief and a good story. I also played a character who was somewhat more vulnerable than I would have played in the past and I liked that.

Of course, when Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who is the producer of this movie, came to me with Kim Jee-woon, the director from South Korea, I was very impressed with all his work that he has done on his previous movies and I thought it would be really interesting to have a new look in action movies. So, I think it was a combination of things. And then of course as they put the cast together I got more and more excited. When I heard that Johnny Knoxville was in the film, because my whole family, my kids, we’re all big fans of his films and his comedy, I thought he would be a really great addition to the film. And when I heard that Jaimie was going to be in the film I was very excited because she is so athletic and she’s talented. She quickly picked up the moves and learned.
Was it always an intention to return to action movies during your governorship or was it more a case of when the time came it felt right?

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Well, you have to look at it more like an ongoing kind of acting career and movie career, and stepping out of that for seven years and doing the governorship and then to go right back to what I was doing before. So, it was not like a debate: 'Should I go back to movies? Or should I go back to action movies?' One thing was very clear and I made it always very clear at the beginning when I got into the governorship, and that was that I wasn’t trying to become a career politician. This was not like I was going to be governor for seven years and then I was going to run for the Senate and then for Congress. That was never my interest.

I mean I just thought that California was in crisis and I felt that, in a sense, California and America have given me every opportunity that I've had. Everything that I’ve accomplished in life was because of America and because of California, so I should take seven years out of my life to be a public servant and to serve the people of California, regardless of the lack of pay. I gave the money back as a matter of fact. It was like $187,000 a year, which is petty cash to me. So, I gave it back to the State. I wanted to do it for free. I didn’t want to earn any money from it because it was an honour to do that job.
Jaimie, Arnold just described you as a great action hero. The last time we saw you in Thor you were levelling a small American town, and here you’re levelling another small American town. What do you have against small American towns? And how was working with Arnold? Was he an idol of yours?

Jaimie Alexander

I grew up in one in Texas. So, I think they thought ‘I think she’ll feel at home here’. No, we actually shot Thor about 30 miles from where we shot The Last Stand, so it was great to be back with some of the same crew. I can’t think Arnold enough for sort of mentoring me on set and he gave me a lot of courage to do what I do now.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Just to put this in perspective, Jaimie was not born when I did Conan the Barbarian, Terminator one, Predator, True Lies...[laughter]

Jaimie Alexander

Okay, that's enough!
Johnny, you were a teenager during the days when Arnie was making his big action movies, was he a hero to you?

Johnny Knoxville

Absolutely. I signed on as soon as I heard that it was an Arnold Schwarzenegger film. I was very relieved after signing on, when I read the script; I was very happy to work with Kim Jee-woon. He is a brilliant director. But Arnold was the main reason. I was a huge fan growing up, as I am now.
Did Kim allow you to push your character? He’s quite crazy…

Johnny Knoxville

Yeah, he’d do the first take or two off the script and then I’d just kind of wander off the page and he totally supported that. I know it drove Arnold and Jaimie crazy sometimes [laughs] but they were very kind about it.
Arnold, I remember seeing you in The Jayne Mansfield Story where you played Mickey Hargitay. What I’m intrigued to know is when you played that, did you have ever imagine you’d have such a long acting career? Or did you think every movie was another step?

Arnold Schwarzenegger

When I played Mickey Hargitay, I played Mickey Hargitay because I was a big admirer of Mickey Hargitay. I thought it was amazing that someone who comes from Hungary could win the Mr Universe contest in 1956 and then come to America with broken English and get married to Jayne Mansfield. And then all of a sudden he’s in the weight and training manufacturing business, the fitness business, the gym business and all of those kinds of things; I thought that was an extraordinary accomplishment.

But I had no idea that I would go way beyond all of that because you never know. You can do a great job, you can go out and promote these movies, but in the end it’s the media and the people who have to buy it. And so that’s how you build a career. So for me, when I was 15 years old, I wanted to be Reg Park, the British bodybuilder, who won Mr Universe three times and then did Hercules movies. I thought, 'Wow, if I could accomplish that, I’m home free.' And then all of a sudden it took off.

It went beyond the Conan movies, the Terminator movies, Commando and Predator. The career took off and all of a sudden I was very fortunate that in the 70s, 80s and 90s all those action movies where you needed a body that was believable and muscular became an ‘in’ thing. I was right at the forefront of that. So, again, only in America...
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Content updated: 21/06/2018 14:48

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