“I Almost Missed Out on This Film” Why Arnold Schwarzenegger Almost Turned Down His Career-Defining Role

Culture news “This film could have passed me by” Arnold Schwarzenegger was going to refuse the role of a lifetime out of pure ego…

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Certain decisions have the power to forever change the destiny of an individual and even more so an actor in the making. Arnold Schwarzenegger is well placed to know. In the early '80s, this bodybuilder who wanted to become a star in Hollywood was about to turn down a role that would change his life forever.

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Terminator, the start of an emblematic SF saga

We are in the middle of the 1980s. A director, who will become the undisputed master of Hollywood with three films in the TOP 4 of the biggest hits at the world box office, is about to shake up science fiction with a work cinematographic at the same time very personal and general public. In 1984 Terminator was released in theaters, directed by none other than James Cameron. with Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn and of course Arnold Schwarzenegger playing the powerful T-800 on screen.

The Terminator of its original title is a critical and commercial success. Hailed by critics and moviegoers with scores of 100% and 89% on RottenTomatoes, this original creation grossed 78.3 million US dollars during its theatrical run for an estimated budget of 6.4 million. Faced with such success, a sequel is obviously under construction. Terminator 2: Judgment Day invades cinemas 7 years after the first and ends up establishing James Cameron as one of the best active filmmakers. History will also remember that Arnold Schwarzenegger was very close to refusing the role of the T-800 out of pure ego.


Arnold Schwarzenegger is the T-800

Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most famous stars of Hollywood cinema. The one who was also governor of the state of California played roles each more cult than the last, starting with Douglas Quaid aka Carl Hauser (Total Recall), Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer (Predator) and of course the T-800 (Terminator). Besides, the last mentioned role could have slipped under his nose if James Cameron himself had not managed to convince him to accept his offer. The Austrian athlete wanted to play Kyle Reese, but the filmmaker had other plans for him. In his book Be Useful, 7 principles for a better life, published in April 2024 by Guy Trédaniel, Arnold Schwarzenegger looks back with humility on this pivotal period of his life and on a decision that changed everything for him.

Terminator, a film that could have easily passed me by if I had let my agents and ego argue with a man who would go on to become one of the greatest directors of all time. -Arnold Schwarzenegger


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