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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 22)

Schwarzenegger is flying to Las Vegas to appear with other 20th Century Fox movie stars, directors, producers and studio executives at the National Association of Theater Owners' ShoWest '96. The purpose of the trip is to get the theater owners, exhibitors and concessionaires from more than 70 countries excited about Fox's upcoming releases--in Schwarzenegger's case, Jingle All the Way, in which he plays a businessman too preoccupied with his work to pay attention to his family until--well, let's just say the movie provides Schwarzenegger with an excellent opportunity to advance his views on the importance of family (which is one of the reasons he's doing it). "We'll only be in Vegas for about an hour," Schwarzenegger says as we reach cruising speed. "I have to be back on the [Eraser] set this afternoon. Then I'll fly to Vegas again tomorrow for Warner Brothers to promote Eraser."


I ask about reports that he'll play the villainous Mr. Freeze in Warner Brothers' Batman and Robin, scheduled to begin filming in August. He says he'd love to do it, but he doesn't think that will work out; there's a conflict between it and With Wings As Eagles, written by Randall Wallace (who wrote Braveheart), which he's also scheduled to start filming in August, much of it in Europe, right after he finishes Jingle All the Way. (Two weeks later, Schwarzenegger decided that Mr. Freeze is too juicy a role to pass up; he took it and pushed With Wings As Eagles back to October.)

We chat some more, nibble on fresh fruit and cookies, and the next thing I know, we're on the ground, getting into a waiting limousine for the short drive to Bally's Las Vegas, where Schwarzenegger is hustled into a small room filled with Fox executives--and with so many movie stars that if a bomb went off, they might have to cancel next year's Oscars: Tom Hanks. Meg Ryan. Warren Beatty. Sigourney Weaver. Winona Ryder. Sandra Bullock. Morgan Freeman. Keanu Reeves. Jeff Goldblum.


Schwarzenegger chats up Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp., Fox's parent company. He gives Bullock a hug and a kiss. He tries to persuade Ryan that she should play the still uncast role of his wife in Jingle All the Way. When she balks, he calls out the names of several Fox executives who have already left for the program that's about to begin. "Where are they?" he asks with mock chagrin. "I'm trying to make a deal here. I can't get any respect."


Beatty comes up, puffs out his chest and stands face-to-face with Schwarzenegger, pretending to compare physiques.


There is no comparison, of course.

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