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The World According to Arnold

Hollywood superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger knows what he wants—and usually gets it.
David Shaw
From the Print Edition:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Summer 96

(continued from page 19)

 

Schwarzenegger buys two boxes of cigars--Punch and Hoyo de Monterrey-- for considerably less money ($700) "for a friend's birthday," then says goodbye to the salesman and invites me to visit his "exercise trailer."

 

Schwarzenegger remains very committed to bodybuilding. In a few days, he'll fly to Columbus, Ohio, to oversee the Arnold Fitness Expo '96, a three-day international bodybuilding competition and martial arts/physical fitness exhibition. On a more personal level, he generally works out at least an hour a day, no matter where he is--either at home or in a gym or, when he's filming, in this 40-foot trailer that "follows me everywhere." He likes the discipline and the feeling of being fit, and he finds exercise an antidote for the brief black moods he says he sometimes falls prey to. "Maria will see me grumpy and say, 'Why don't you go have a workout.'" Given the kinds of roles he usually plays on-screen, he also thinks it's vital that his physical appearance remain credible, that he looks capable of performing the feats of physical derring-do that the scripts so often call for.

The trailer is strictly utilitarian, nothing fancy--two Life Cycles, more than a dozen weight machines, several of his movie and bodybuilding posters on the wall. When we walk out, we bump into Jeff Dawn, his makeup man on several films. Schwarzenegger introduces us and praises Dawn lavishly. Then, as we're walking away, he says over his shoulder, "By the way, the other guy made me up today." Pause. Grin. "He was better than you."

 

People have told me that Schwarzenegger enjoys teasing and bantering and playing practical jokes on the set--he once dumped a pitcher of ice water on a screenwriter's crotch--and this is my first, albeit mild exposure to it. People have also told me that Schwarzenegger is very detail-conscious, and I'm about to see that, too.

 

We walk onto the Eraser set. Schwarzenegger looks at a small monitor showing film of a dummy in a parachute being approached by an airplane. The dummy is a stand-in for Schwarzenegger; the plane is supposed to hit him in midair. Or try to. Schwarzenegger watches the brief sequence once and immediately notices that the dummy appears to be higher above the ground later in the sequence than it is earlier. That's wrong. As he falls, he should get lower. A technician explains that the sequence looks as it does because "the scenes were shot with two different lenses." Schwarzenegger is not mollified. "That's fine," he says, "but the audience will notice the inconsistency, and you can't hand out a brochure to everyone in the theater, explaining that you used a different lens. You have to make it look realistic, like I'm getting lower."

 


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