For Arnold Schwarzenegger, hardly anything comes easy. But the determined teenager who had carved out a life for himself in the global arena equipped with nothing but weights and barbells also had an overarching taste for ambition. Not only was it impressive that he stepped over every shoulder to become the world’s most famous face within a mere decade of crossing the boundaries of his little-known Austrian village, but in the process, Schwarzenegger also redefined the idea of a self-made man.
However, despite the chain of events that brought him to the doors of Hollywood, the Terminator star was bound to face a moment of failure. And that was defined by his 1985 swords and sorcery film, Red Sonja.
Arnold Schwarzenegger: The Village Boy Turned Film Icon
As far as Arnold Schwarzenegger is concerned, Hollywood was a literal ocean away from his homeland of Austria and it was in hindsight never an option to consider with all sincerity. Like children of 8 and 11 who went to the theatres, saw Kubrick’s 2001, and immediately felt a calling to the art, Schwarzenegger had a similar experience at 14 when his school’s football coach took their team to the local gym for getting some squats and lunges in. It was love at first sight.
By 15, he had left sports to pursue bodybuilding. By 17, he was competing professionally. By 20, he won Mr. Universe. At 21, he immigrated to the US. At 23, he became Mr. Olympia, the highest accord bestowed in the realm of professional bodybuilding. That same year, Schwarzenegger made his official transition into acting by starring in the titular role of Hercules in New York. He had found his second love.
However, Arnie was hardly done conquering the world. He met Maria Shriver, the Kennedy family scion, and married into politics. He also crossed paths with John Milius (Conan the Barbarian, 1982) and James Cameron (The Terminator, 1984) – two directors who transformed Hollywood’s perception of the Austrian with a clunky vocabulary and a scary accent and had filmmakers lining up outside his gym in a queue. As was then expected, a script fell into his hands that failed to ring in the kind of success he was familiar with. And it eventually went on to become his worst film in the 4 long decades of his filmography.
A Learning Moment For Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Kids
The horrifying aftermath of the now underground cult-classic epic, Red Sonja, was a saga in three parts. Primarily, the heat of backlash and criticism was felt by the lead after the casting of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Brigitte Nielsen, the woman he would go on to have a torrid affair with during filming. The film’s horrid plot and execution were the second point of contention. The third, and ultimate consequence, was the box office repercussions which witnessed a $6.9 million draw against a $17.9 million budget.
Arnold Schwarzenegger ended up hating the film to such an extent that he later claimed it was the most regrettable choice of his career.
“It’s the worst film I have ever made. When my kids get out of line, they’re sent to their rooms and forced to watch ‘Red Sonja’ 10 times. I never had too much trouble with them.”
As hilarious as it may sound to watch a grumpy Patrick and Katherine Schwarzenegger sitting through the torturous minutes of the movie, Red Sonja eventually grew to claim a cult-classic status decades after its launch. The film currently holds a rating of 21% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Source: Far Out Magazine