James Cameron’s idea for The Terminator came to him during a fever dream when directing the lost gem Piranha II: The Spawning in 1981. He dreamt of “metal death figure coming out of a fire” and the rest, as they say, is history…
Schwarzenegger almost died on the set of 1994’s True Lies. A horse he was riding got spooked by a camera boom and reared up next to a steep drop. Luckily, he managed to leap off the horse and a stuntman dragged him to safety.
We wouldn’t have witnessed his career defining role in Jingle All The Way if not for delays in production of a Planet Of The Apes. Director Chris Columbus had submitted a script with Arnie attached, but the movie studio rejected it and Columbus and Schwarzenegger left the project. This allowed Arnold to make the beloved Christmas classic and for Tim Burton to eventually make the Planet of the Apes reboot we all really wanted.
In what must be considered one of the best paydays of his career, The Governator was paid $29.25 million for his role in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. This included budget allocations to provide him with limos, private jets, bodyguards and luxury hotel suites throughout production. Oh, and he casually received 20% of the gross receipts from ticket sales, DVDs, TV rights, game licensing, and in-flight movie licensing on the movie worldwide.
More like The Moneymaker!
Saturday Night Fever owes its existence to Pumping Iron. Screenwriter Nik Cohn watched the documentary and was captivated by Schwarzenegger’s rival Lou Ferrigno. The scenes of the Ferrignos arguing over the dinner table inspired Cohn to write “Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night,” which was turned into Saturday Night Fever.
Producer Dino De Laurentiis thought Schwarzenegger was too macho to play Douglas Quaid in Total Recall. In Dick’s source material, Quaid is depicted as a browbeaten everyman and not the 6’2 behemoth he is the film.
Schwarzenegger spoke just 58 words in The Terminator.
Penelope Ann Miller, his costar in Kindergarten Cop, taught him how to do an onscreen kiss. I’m sure many other actresses are thankful to her for that.
Jackie Kennedy played a part, inadvertently, in the promotion of Pumping Iron.
At a press luncheon for the film in New York, with attendees including Andy Warhol and George Plimpton, the former first lady appeared as a favor to a mutual friend of hers and Schwarzenegger. The press went crazy and Arnie would later admit it gave the film a massive publicity boost.
Jean-Claude Van Damme was the Predator. Until he wasn’t. He complained so much about how uncomfortable the costume was they simply got rid of him.
Pumping Iron, the documentary film that exposed ‘The Arnold’ to the masses, was almost torpedoed mid-production. And it would have been Schwarzenegger’s fault. Co-director George Butler’s attempt to get the film made on a tight budget led him to approach a film development lab with the caveat that he couldn’t actually pay for them for their input up front. At first receptive, an employee at the company soured on the idea when he heard Schwarzenegger was involved. As the agitated technician explained, “I won’t give you any credit,” he said. “I had a movie in here … Hercules in New York (Schwarzenegger’s first film role) and they never paid a bill and they owe me thirty grand.”
Arnold received his U.S citizenship during the production of 1984’s Conan the Destroyer . He retains joint Austrian and U.S citizenship to this day.
A 20th Century Fox and WWE Studio produced sequel to Jingle All The Way (called, erm, Jingle All The Way 2 ) was released in 2014. No actors from the original appeared in the film and it went straight-to-DVD. But it did star Larry the Cable Guy so that’s something.
Arnie was supposed to play John McClane in Die Hard. Sort of.
Die Hard was envisioned as a sequel to 1985’s Commando, with Schwarzenegger reprising his role as the wonderfully named John Matrix. After the disappointing box office return of the Conan sequel (Conan the Destroyer), Arnie dropped out and the script was rewritten as a stand alone film.
Originally tied into a three movie Conan contract, Schwarzenegger was slated to appear in a 1987 film production called Conan the Conqueror. Instead, he made Predator, his contract expired, and the idea was refashioned into 1997’s Kull the Conquerer starring Hercules Kevin Sorbo.
Total Recall took forever to make. Two scriptwriters started the original screenplay all the way back in 1976 (14 years before the final film would be released), yet ran into issues in re-imagining Phillip K. Dick’s short story. They took a break, casually wrote Alien, and rewrote the script 40 times before Arnie had a chance to do some seriously eye-popping acting.
For the film True Lies, he took Tango lessons to prepare himself for the role. Smooth
Patrick Swayze and Danny DeVito turned down the title role in Kindergarten Cop. Too bad, Frank Reynolds is great with kids….
File this one under little-known facts everyone knows, but O.J Simpson was strongly considered for the title role in The Terminator. The reason he didn’t get it? He was considered too nice! Errrr….
The future-Governator made his directorial debut on a made-for-TV 1992 film called Christmas in Connecticut. It broadcast on TNT and starred the legendary Kris Kristofferson.