Schwarzenegger Comments On TERMINATOR SALVATION

The Governator thinks previewed footage from McG's new film lacks 'sizzle.'
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger loves to talk Hollywood, and on Friday, August 1st, he chatted with GEOFF BOUCHER of The Los Angeles Times about his favorite summer movies, and even about the next chapter in a franchise with which he's intimately familiar.

Despite the crises around him in the state capital, the 61-year-old ex-action star gushed about how this season of popcorn entertainment has "been pure heaven." He and his four kids "run to the theater" for the "huge visual effects [and] the super-heroes" such as Iron Man, The Dark Knight and Wanted, which he described as "a whole new dimension" of moviemaking. At the same time, he seems to have a soft spot for comedian Will Ferrell, whose films make him "howl for two hours" until he feels he's gotten "a six-pack [of ab muscles] from all the laughs!"

The governor, under fire for recently eliminating a large number of state jobs, even managed to slip in a political message about the benefits of box office to California: "the economy is going down but Hollywood grosses are going up. It shows how important Hollywood is to our state economy and how much people love movies."

But Schwarzenegger's tone turned cautious when addressing next summer's Terminator Salvation.

Technically the fourth film in the series, Salvation is described by director McG as a "prequel" to James Cameron's influential 1984 sci fi thriller The Terminator, which put both Cameron and seven-time Mister Universe Schwarzenegger on the Hollywood map. The new picture, currently shooting in New Mexico, stars Christian Bale (The Dark Knight, right with Sam Worthington) as John Connor, the leader of the ragged human resistance against machine oppressors of the future.

McG (Charlie's Angels) intends to chart his own course with the bleak and savage apoca-flick, which is the first without Schwarzenegger, for whom 2003's Jonathan Mostow-directed Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was the last starring role before he gave up Hollywood for politics. But the new director is trying to respect the franchise. He sought the blessing of Cameron, currently at work on Avatar, and also arranged for the governor to see an early "sizzle reel," a montage of scenes of the sort shown at July's Comic-Con International last month, where Salvation was popular with fans.

Schwarzenegger was polite but careful when asked if the reel had that hoped-for sizzle. "I've seen very little footage so I don't really have a feel for it. I hope they do well, and I hope it is a huge hit. I do hope it creates a spectacle on the screen. That is what James Cameron created."

The Salvation producers would do well to pay attention, since the Terminator iconography has been so dependent on Schwarzenegger's image. In 2003, the American Film Institute made a list of the top 50 film heroes and another of the top 50 villains. Arnold's Terminator is the only character to appear on both lists. The imagery from the films is central to his persona: his current nickname is "the Governator."

This fact likely is responsible for recent speculation (all but confirmed by McG at Comic-Con) that the film's producers have paid Schwarzenegger a staggering amount of money, even though he won't shoot a single frame. The reported reason? McG plans to use CGI to place the governor's face onto the countenance of Austrian bodybuilder Roland Kickinger (Son of the Beach, left), who already played Arnold in a TV movie.

Schwarzenegger wouldn't comment on that, but he did say that he has no regrets about saying "Hasta La Vista" to his cyborg alter ego. "I moved on from bodybuilding into entertainment. Then I moved on from entertainment into a political life. Now this is the most exciting experience of my life. When this movie comes out, I won't be sitting there saying, 'Why can't I do that?' I hope it makes a lot of money and is very successful."

Terminator Salvation is slated for a May '09 release.

[Thanks to MovieWeb.]
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The L.A. Times