Terminator 3 : Rise of the Machines : An Interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger
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Interviewed by Wilson Morales
Terminator 3 : Rise of the Machines: An Interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger
Itís always hard when one wants to make a change in the
Hollywood industry. If folks know and love you for the persona you
created on screen, it sometimes becomes difficult to accept
something new. Jim Carrey, for example, is loved by everyone
whenever he does a comedy film. It shows at the box office. When he
does a dramatic film, the numbers are not the same, not even in the
same ballpark. Arnold Scharwzenegger came up in the game and was
first notice when he did Conan the Barbarian. He then followed
that with the role that made his internationally famous as The
Terminator. He had a few hits and misses before the sequel T2:
Judgment Day put him in the $20M payday range. No other film since
then has come close to numbers he made with T2. He even tried his
hand at comedy with the flop Jingle All the Way. Now, in what
some may a comeback performance, Arnold returns to the role that
started it all for him in T3: Rise of the Machines. In an
interview with blackfilm.com, Arnold talks about his feelings
towards the franchise and his thoughts on getting into politics.
WM: Iím sure you still work out physically, but itís been 12 years since you last played the character. Was getting in shape a big concern for you?
AS: I think one of the main concerns that I had right at the
beginning was can I
get my body back in shape where it was twenty years ago in
Terminator 1; and twelve years ago in Terminator 2 so it was a
challenge. Obviously times have changed and I put together a
program and went back to the gym and trained two to three hours a
day for several months. Even while I was filming, anytime it was
available I used a half hour here, an hour there working out with
weights to make sure that I come in great shape and not disappoint
the fans and not disappoint myself.
WM: Was there any concern to play the part due to your age?
AS: I don't have the same choice of the average person out there
who can say, 'well
things have changed' and therefore I'm not just older now and I
have a different body now. When you have millions of people look at
your body you have to produce the same body no matter what it
takes. It took a lot of training and a lot of effort not to think
about the obstacles that I had a motorcycle accident or that I had
surgery. You just forget about all this and live in denial and say,
'OK this is my training now for the Mr. Olympia competition or the
Mr. Universe competition' and I have to be in best shape because I
have to win the competition. So with that kind of mentality I
approached the whole training. The thing is when you have had the
muscle size once then it is easier to get it back. It's just a
matter of stimulating the muscles and giving it the necessary
weight resistance in order to get back, and you have to be much
stricter on a diet. When you think about the changes it's really
your metabolism. Everyone's metabolism after the age of 40 slows
down and everything that you eat will make it easier for you to
gain weight and get fat and so I just ate chicken and turkey and
meats and fish and vegetables, and not eat the things that I love
to eat which is bread, ice cream, apple strudel and all of those
things. Just stay away from that and make the movie more important
than just what I like to eat!
WM: Did you worry about the risks involved with the production of the film?
AS: If you go through life worrying about the risks then you
will never accomplish anything. The only way you can accomplish
things is if you're willing to take risks. That's the story of my
life. Being able and willing to take risks, and to go beyond of
anyone else has gone and to not think of limits. To me there was
never a question should I do Terminator 3 or should I not because
there was such a demand amongst the fans worldwide that they wanted
to see another Terminator. As a matter of fact in the second
Terminator when I'm battered and half destroyed even though I'm
beaten and I let myself in the steel people thought this is the end
of the story only to find out as soon as the movie left the
theaters there was this campaign, when do we get to see another
Terminator. There was not one interview that I could do if it was
for Special Olympics or the after school program or for the
President's Council on Fitness or anything else or for anything
movie I was promoting where the first question was not, 'are you
going to do another Terminator. When are you going to say I am
back.' I knew there was a tremendous demand for the character and
for the movie so I was looking forward to the time where I could
again put on that leather jacket and put on those sunglasses and my
motorcycle and go crazy out there and be the machine.
WM: Will you consider coming back once again to another sequel if there is one?
AS: It's important to know that I love this character and I will
continue to come back as long as the fans enjoy seeing me back. I
totally operate by what the fans want, not what I want. So I'm all
ready for the next one.
WM: Throughout your career, you have dabbled in the comedy genre. Did you have a say in adding some comedic elements to the film?
AS: I feel very strongly that it makes the movie much more
colorful and have much more dimensions when you create a kind of
funny moment through the suspense and all of the drama, you want
some relief of that. What is in the middle of a fight scene where
there's something funny coming up works ten times better than if
you set up a big joke and then something funny happens and it falls
flat. In this movie it's very subtle that the comic relief comes
through and it's important part of the Terminator that you create
funny circumstances and makes people laugh in the tensest moments.
WM: I heard at some point that your fingers almost were ďtoast.Ē Can you talk about that?
AS: Accidents happen often in a movie set especially when you
deal with explosions and stunts. There was one scene where I
carried the casket down the hill and it was the same time I was
shooting at the police officers and blowing up their vehicles and
destroying everything that's in front of me and they're shooting
back. The whole casket was loaded up with little explosions that
would go off and the idea was to put one underneath my hand. In the
middle of the shoot I felt this unbelievable pain and this
explosion going off underneath my finger and I'm absolutely
convinced that if I wouldn't have had thick leather gloves, my
finger would've come off with that. It was unbelievably bruised for
a long time and I had to get medical attention for it.
WM: What does your future hold in politics?
AS: I'm looking forward to doing many more films. Right now
we're getting to do 'West World' so we're moving forward with full
steam. I don't see why I should be stopping at this point. The
political side of it is something I can think about as time goes
on. I said that if the time is right and if there's a need for me
then I would be more than happy to jump in but it's nothing I have
to worry about right now.
WM: What are your thoughts towards technology?
AS: We have to appreciate technology and appreciate the
computerization and the
sophistication and the way we can utilize it today. I think
technology has helped the world hugely in a big way but use it and
not to have a certain kind of safety net there where we cannot go
beyond a certain point is a key thing here because you can abuse
anything. Anything that is good you can also abuse and then it
becomes bad. What you see is Terminator is technology gets to a
point where machines start communicating with one another and you
don't want to get to that point where they start becoming self
aware. Like The Frankenstein story when you create something for
one reason and then all of a sudden you realize he's a monster and
now you have to reign it back in again and save the
human race which is what happens in The Terminator.
WM: Can you talk about your campaign for after school funding?
AS: I was just back in Washington testifying on Capitol Hill in
favor of more after school programs in the country and in favor of
not cutting them. We also had for the first time in the history of
the department of education an after school program summit that was
hosted by Secretary Page and myself. We had all the leading experts
come together so we have clear understanding of what is
accountability and what ought to be a comprehensive after school
program so that everyone who gets federal funding knows what it is,
what the standard is and how you can get the money. The campaign
was not to cut any of the funding. I don't think it will be cut but
I'm a very optimistic person. Congress is going to put it back in
and I think there will be no cuts.
WM: How are you dealing with political press?
AS: I've noticed in my entire program for Proposition 49, the
After School Education and Safety Act last year and also
campaigning for after school programs all over the country, that in
the political arena you have a different kind of press. As it is
with the entertainment press you will have good journalism and you
will have some that are not as good, some are negative and don't
like what you do and some that do. That's just the way it always
is; I think nothing changes. Anytime you want to accomplish
anything it's never a downhill race, it's a slalom course. You go
around your obstacles and try to overcome them and whoever gets
there wins. That's what it's all about.
WM: What was the biggest challenge in doing this film? Was it fighting against a woman?
AS: What was challenging about doing it with a woman were the
fight scenes. I had no training of how you grab a woman, how you
throw her against a wall, how hard can you really pick her up and
throw her. How hard can you hit her? I had to rely on Kristanna
(Loken) to tell me that you can go harder, you can grab me rougher,
you can imagine a guy standing in front of you. It took five or six
takes to get up to that level of rough handling her because I felt
uncomfortable with it. She was a great team player. She trained
well with the stunt coordinators that she could handle it and she
didn't mind taking a few bruises and pains and aches here and
there. She just went for it.
WM: What do you is James Cameronís take on the film?
AS: He has a part of him that wants the movie to succeed and a
part of him that wants it to fail. He has mixed emotions because he
started it and I think this one time-wise it didn't work out and he
didn't want to be part of it under those constraints that it has to
be a summer movie 2003 and he has to do it. He doesn't operate that
way. I totally appreciate that. Jim Cameron and are very good
friends and we have stayed good friends over all these years and we
ride the motorcycle almost every Sunday morning together and we
have a blast.
WM: With all that you are currently doing, why do you still make movies?
AS: I think there is something very challenging to be able to play out a certain character and to have everyone else on the set do the same and put this whole thing together to become a movie and entertain millions of people in the world. It's such a wonderful thing because I think most of people's lives are not as perfect as they wish they could be so for them it's great escapism and they get great joy out of it. When people go to see The Terminator so many people feel powerless; they feel things are not going the right way. So here's two hours where they can watch a movie and fantasize wouldn't it be cool to be The Terminator and I go back to my office and really show them who is the boss. The kids think wouldn't it be cool like my son who would like to take a Terminator and show off and say, 'hey walk through this wall.' Everyone has there fantasies or if it's a love story or great animated movie so you know when you go to the set every morning and you do your scenes that you're providing something positive for people and they have great joy with it.
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