Arnold Schwarzenegger Begged James Cameron to Not Cast Him as Terminator: “I don’t want the regrets in my career”

Arnold Schwarzenegger Begged James Cameron to Not Cast Him as Terminator: "I don't want the regrets in my career"
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Hollywood legend and action megastar Arnold Schwarzenegger has made a glorious career spanning several decades. The actor is also known for his physical prowess and was termed a Bodybuilding God for years.

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger

The seven-time Mr. Olympia title holder has appeared in several action movies ranging from science fiction to gun-blazing real-life trotters. He was also featured in several action comedies that brushed his skill as a capable actor even further. But, his Terminator role was one of the most successful in his career.

Also read: Arnold Schwarzenegger FUBAR Salary – It Took 53 Years for Austrian Oak to Finally Make Small Screen Debut in Netflix Series


Arnold Schwarzenegger Did Not Want to Play Terminator

Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator
Arnold Schwarzenegger as Terminator

Director James Cameron had to convince Arnold Schwarzenegger to play Terminator when the actor begged him not to cast him in the role. The actor feared that he would regret playing the character later.

As he revealed in an interview with Graham Bensinger, initially, Schwarzenegger was not supposed to play the role.

“When I got involved, I remember they told me that it was O.J Simpson was The Terminator. And I was supposed to play Rhys,” Schwarzenegger said.

After reading the script Schwarzenegger told Cameron about developing the character and the importance of training him to play a machine and shared some ideas to do that. And after listening to the actor like “an expert”, towards the end of the lunch, Cameron said that no one else will understand Terminator better than Schwarzenegger.


“I have to say one thing I said there is no one that will understand The Terminator better than you. he says, therefore, I think I think we’re all in agreement that you should play The Terminator.”

However, the actor told Cameron that he didn’t want to regret playing the character later. “I said because this guy only talks, says 27 lines.”

“I don’t want to go backwards. I said, I just did Conan, I did this […] I said, I want to have the other part where there’s much more dialogue and much more challenging. In those he says trust me, I will shoot the character so that you’re not only the number one villain that they’ve ever seen But the number one hero.”

Eventually, after taking some time to digest the essence of the character, the actor took on the role.

Also read: “I hated the very idea of ordinary life”: Arnold Schwarzenegger Rejected the Woman He Loved to Create a $450M Empire


When Arnold Schwarzenegger Wanted Terminator To Get Drunk

Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator
Arnold Schwarzenegger as Terminator

In the film, there was a scene where the Terminator opens the refrigerator, finds alcohol, and then gets a little smashed all over the place. Schwarzenegger thought it was “very endearing and very funny.” 

“I said to myself, um, I would be funny actually if the Terminator, you know being this machine but they get smashed a little bit drinking alcohol but of course, I didn’t think as deeply as Jim Cameron did when he wrote the script because when you write a script you really get to understand the character 100 percent otherwise you screw up.”

Then, describing the funny moment, Schwarzenegger said that Cameron came to him to talk about his proposal simply denying it. “First of all, it [the script] says you’re a machine. The machines don’t get drunk, okay?” Schwarzenegger recalled. 

Cameron further said that he knows how to write a script and asked the actor to focus on the scripted story rather than developing his own narrative. The actor said that was the way they settled their conversation.


Schwarzenegger recently appeared in Netflix’s action-packed show FUBAR, which is officially renewed for season 2.

Also read: $450M Rich Arnold Schwarzenegger Reportedly Part Owner of World’s Most Powerful Company – Is He Secretly a Multi-Billionaire?

Source: In Depth With Graham Bensinger


Written by Lachit Roy

Articles Published: 993

Lachit Roy is a seasoned writer specializing in science and entertainment news. Armed with a postgraduate degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Tezpur University, he brings a wealth of knowledge and skill to his craft.

Lachit is particularly passionate about crafting engaging content on entertainment news and trends. A dedicated movie enthusiast, he possesses an in-depth understanding of the cinematic world and takes joy in disseminating the latest updates to the global fandom. When not immersed in writing, Lachit can be found indulging in his love for movies and series, occasionally tending to his garden, but predominantly expanding his expertise in the realms of his interests.