Arnold Schwarzenegger: “I wanted the Terminator to drink a can of beer and get drunk for a minute. Well, to make the movie funnier…”

Arnold Schwarzenegger turns 75!

Arnold Schwarzenegger turns 75!


The first phrase in the memoirs of Arnold Schwarzenegger is “I was born in the year of the great famine.” He was born shortly after the war, when his native Austria was going through hard times. Ironically, the film in which he played the first truly serious role was called Stay Hungry. He received a Golden Globe for him in the New Star of the Year category, but then, in 1977, few people guessed how much happiness and money this man would gnaw out with his powerful jaws from America and Hollywood.

He has grown into one of the greatest action stars in history. He took one of the most important political posts in the United States, becoming the governor of California. Of course, his career actually ended many years ago: the pictures in which he is filming now, no one will put next to either the Terminator, or the Predator, or True Lies, or even Commando. But when there are so many things behind you – what’s the difference? ..

On the days of the anniversary, I want to remember how his main hits were filmed.


I must say that Schwarzenegger was very lucky from the very beginning: as a teenager, he found his way in life. By the standards of Austria in the early 60s, it was a rather exotic path: the boy watched the film Hercules and the Captives, in which bodybuilder Reg Park played, and realized that he wanted the same body as his. Few were fond of bodybuilding then, it was rather a marginal occupation. Schwarzenegger loves to remember with a smile how worried his mother was when she saw that the wall above his bed was hung with photographs of wrestlers, boxers and weightlifters. She even stopped the village doctor on the street and told him: “Doctor, all the other boys at home have girls hanging on the walls. Posters, color photographs of girls. And you take a look at this. Only naked men!”

But Arnold very quickly managed to become the same as his idols. At the age of 19, he left his Austrian outback for Munich, began working in the gym and pumping muscles at the same time. And then, in 1966, he took second place in the Mr. Universe contest, and won it the following year! He became the youngest winner in history, and it was a sensation. And it, in fact, was a ticket to America, which Schwarzenegger had dreamed of since childhood: from somewhere in his head the thought arose that his place was there. “I decided that I would be the best in some field and that would make me famous. America is the most powerful country in the world, so I must go there.” And he also dreamed of cinema, he wanted to play his muscles on the screen to be like Reg Park: “The cinema will bring money. And the most beautiful girls, which was also an important aspect.”

True, his life in Los Angeles began with a car accident: he, who drove a tank in the army, could not cope with a luxurious Pontiac, into which several cars immediately crashed at once … The future movie star almost ended his life on a slippery California highway. But still, Schwarzenegger came to his senses and began to storm America.


His film debut was in the thrash comedy Hercules in New York. The German accent of the young actor was so strong that it was difficult to make out the lines – they had to be dubbed.

First film work - film role "Hercules in New York"1969. Photo: Mary Evans/AF Archive/EAST NEWS

First film work – role in the film “Hercules in New York”, 1969. Photo: Mary Evans / AF Archive / EAST NEWS

And in the next film, The Long Goodbye, Schwarzenegger was given the role of a deaf-mute completely out of harm’s way. The film “Stay Hungry”, directed by a serious director Bob Reifelson (Schwarzenegger played almost himself there – an Austrian bodybuilder preparing for the Mr. Universe contest), then had to wait several years. But even after the success of the picture, after the Golden Globe received by Arnold, no one in Hollywood understood what to do with this jock. The figure is too strange, the accent is still too strong, the surname, from the point of view of Americans, is almost unpronounceable. What roles would you like him to give? Schwarzenegger appeared in sitcoms, then in police series, almost played the Hulk in the very first television adaptation of the corresponding Marvel comics …

Schwarzenegger c "golden globe" for a role in a film "stay hungry"1977

Schwarzenegger with the Golden Globe for his role in the film “Stay Hungry”, 1977

A photo: EAST NEWS

And only in 1982, at the age of 35, a film was released that brought him true fame. Producer Ed Pressman, who dreamed of filming the old tabloid novels about Conan the Barbarian (by the way, the same Marvel publishing house also released comics about him), saw Schwarzenegger in this role. Pressman described to Schwarzenegger the golden mountains that await him: “Conan” was supposed to be a movie series, the fee for the first film would be $ 250,000, the next – a million, and then on the rise. Arnold was delighted. Not just anyone was hired as a screenwriter, but Oliver Stone, one of the most promising screenwriters of that time. “He was a crazy person, very smart and sociable. He considered himself a great writer, and this warmed my soul, because he was as confident in himself as I was, ”recalled Schwarzenegger.

Of course, Stone swung at the epic, which would have cost an incredible $ 70 million at that time (instead of the planned 15), the path of “Conan” to the screen eventually took five years, and Schwarzenegger did not earn so much – he had to give up interest on arrived in order to get the role at all (producer Dino de Laurentiis, who came to the project, decided for no reason that the actor was a Nazi and did not want to take him in the film). Shooting the very first scenes turned into real blood: at first, Schwarzenegger was almost torn to pieces by brutal German shepherds, depicting wolves in front of the cameras, the next day he cut his forehead, jumping into the lake among the rocks. Then it was also fun: for example, Arnold had to communicate with real vultures infested with lice, tear into pieces a stuffed animal made from several dead birds – and then thoroughly treat himself with antibiotics …

Glory came to the actor after the success of the film "Conan the Barbarian".

Glory came to the actor after the success of the film “Conan the Barbarian”.

A photo: EAST NEWS

But the pain has passed, but the movie remains. Schwarzenegger himself insisted that he would conduct a large advertising campaign, give out many interviews in several countries (“First of all, I saw myself as a businessman. Too many actors, writers and artists believe that they are above promoting their work on the market. But whatever no matter what a person does in life, the sale of the final product is an integral part of his craft”). This hands-on approach paid off: Conan was a huge success.

“Fortunately, I have strong skin”

And then there was the Terminator. Schwarzenegger was originally supposed to play John Connor, the role that Michael Biehn ended up playing, and O.J. Simpson, an American football player not yet involved in the dark story with the murder of his wife, was going to be invited to play the Terminator. Initially, Arnold doubted whether it was worth participating in the project: director James Cameron (the future author of Titanic and Avatar) at that time shot only one picture, the low-budget horror movie Piranha 2 … But suddenly, during lunch in a California restaurant, Schwarzenegger began to tell Cameron how the Terminator should behave. Arnold literally suffered: “When he inserts a new magazine into the machine, he does not need to look to see if he got into the receiving hole, because this is done by a machine, a computer. When he kills, there is no expression on his face – no joy, no triumph, absolutely nothing. The Terminator does not think, does not blink, does not reason, but only acts. And Cameron suddenly asked: “Why don’t you play the Terminator yourself?”

science fiction action movie poster "Terminator"1984

Poster for the sci-fi action movie “Terminator”, 1984


Schwarzenegger immediately said no. The character only had 18 lines! The actor was afraid that the audience would think that he deliberately chooses roles in which you need to say as little as possible. Or they will think that the rest of the phrases were spoken so badly that they were cut out during editing … But Cameron insisted, and in the end he persuaded Schwarzenegger.

He didn’t have the most happy impressions of filming: “Most of the time my whole face was smeared with glue to secure special effects devices. Luckily, my skin is strong, so the chemicals didn’t corrode it too much, but it was still terrible. Putting the Terminator’s red eye over my own, I felt the wire through which the current was supplied to the backlight, I felt how the light bulb heats up during operation … “

Cameron refused any of Schwarzenegger’s offers. Arnold wanted to add humor to the plot, he came up with a scene in which the Terminator stumbles upon a can of beer, twirls it in his hands, finally drinks and gets drunk for a second. But Cameron hacked this episode in the bud. He had no intention of changing a comma at all in his script, which he considered perfect. And I wasn’t wrong.

And finally cemented the glory of Arnold “Predator” – a fantastic action movie, which takes place in the Latin American jungle. These shoots were the hardest because they were actually in the jungle. “Leechs, trampling mud, poisonous snakes, suffocating humidity and heat,” Schwarzenegger recalled with longing. In addition, aspiring actor Jean-Claude Van Damme, who played the Predator – a creepy alien monster – whined and acted all the time (he was eventually replaced by another actor, Kevin Peter Hall). The make-up of the Predator turned out to be ridiculous, we had to come up with a new one and completely reshoot the most crucial scene where Schwarzenegger’s hero fights the monster. By this time, it was November, the heat in the jungle was replaced by cold, and Arnold was also smeared with potter’s clay, representing mud. The make-up artist warned that his body temperature would drop by several degrees, but Schwarzenegger could not even imagine how cold he would be. He could keep warm only in one way: he drank “hunter’s tea”, a drink very much appreciated in Austria – schnapps tincture with herbs. And as a result, he got so drunk that he could not play!

Schwarzenegger on set "Predator".

Schwarzenegger on the set of “Predator”.


But again – the problems are gone, but the movie remains. And this movie can be reviewed many, many times.


“Commando” (1985)

“Running Man” (1987)

“Red Heat” (1988)

“Twins” (1988)

“Total Recall” (1990)

Kindergarten Cop (1990)

“The Last Action Hero” (1993)

“Junior” (1994)

“Eraser” (1996)

“The Expendables” (2010)

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