“I have to kill 150”: James Cameron Was Pissed Off With Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Obsession With Sylvester Stallone

James Cameron Was Pissed Off With Arnold Schwarzenegger's Obsession With Sylvester Stallone
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The almost twenty years of rivalry that persisted between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, up until the late 1990s, is one for the books. Back in the day, the two Hollywood superstars often went head to head with each other—particularly at the box office and in interviews. Their competitiveness was marked by a sense of constant one-upmanship which escalated into several hilarious anecdotes.

The infamous Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone rivalry
The infamous Schwarzenegger-Stallone rivalry

Read also: “Those actors don’t exist”: Sylvester Stallone Claims Young Actors Can’t Recreate Al Pacino’s $270M Oscar Winning Movie That Made Him Hollywood’s Heartthrob

While their past rivalry may seem like a lighthearted affair now, back then, it did lead to several instances where the people around the two talents were left to deal with the repercussions. You’d be surprised to know that esteemed director James Cameron was on the list of such individuals.


The Ridiculous Rivalry Between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone

There was an intense competition between the two superstars
There was an intense competition between the two superstars

Both talents were and still are notable for having starred in grand-scale action films, which resulted in them being heavily associated as the definitive faces and icons of the genre. The two stars, therefore, had something in common. This shared on-screen skillset ended up becoming the exact thing that sparked the competitiveness between the two in the first place. It simply became a question of who’s better.

Hence, the rivalry between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone came purely from the desire of wanting to be the number one action film star of their time. The two even competed over who had the most on-screen killings or larger weapons in their respective movies.

The constant need to one-up one another also led to other hysterically amusing scenarios. One such instance involved the Terminator alum deliberately pulling off a mischievous prank on the Rambo actor by feigning interest in the script for Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; tricking Stallone into taking up the role instead. It was only after the latter had agreed to do the film that he realized he was in a pickle.

Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992)
Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992)

Read also: Sylvester Stallone to Have His Own Netflix Documentary as Rocky Star Renews Rivalry With Arnold Schwarzenegger

Appearing on The Jonathan Ross Show, Stallone openly admitted that the two simply “loathed” each other. In his words, “We couldn’t stand to be in the same galaxy together for a while.” Their intense rivalry simmered down over the years. However, it did lead to certain situations that left many around them exasperated and annoyed.

James Cameron Had To Witness Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Competitive Nature

James Cameron
James Cameron

Making an appearance at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, to talk about his limited edition two-volume Taschen book, Arnold Schwarzenegger lauded uber-successful director and screenwriter James Cameron for his narrative brilliance and his creative prowess. He recalled the idea for Terminator 2: Judgment Day that Cameron came up with. The action movie star admitted that at first, he was against what the acclaimed director had envisioned for the film and therefore, harbored some suspicions.


The Canadian filmmaker stated his plan to Schwarzenegger, telling him that he wanted to make the star into a “good Terminator.” This went against the Commando lead’s competitive streak of on-screen killings. He had a record and a reputation to maintain as the number-one action star, after all.

In his statement, Schwarzenegger reiterated to the audience what he said to James Cameron back then:

“I said ‘What do you mean a good Terminator?’… ‘I was killing 68 people in the first one. In the second one, I have to kill 150. We go up.’ … ‘Remember, my whole mission is that I gotta be the number-one in killing the amount of people in the screen.'”

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger wanted to maintain his on-screen killing streak

Read also: “I don’t take any shit from producers”: Sylvester Stallone Caused Massive On-Set Feud After Convincing Director to Not Kill His Character That Spawned $818M Franchise


The FUBAR alum then recalled an exasperated James Cameron telling him off for his uber-ambitious desires. “Arnold, stop it. You’re a very sick guy,” is what the highly-celebrated director said to the action film star. The renowned screenwriter also told the Hollywood talent that he would not be allowed to kill a single guy on-screen. Schwarzenegger could land a blow here and there; shooting people in the knees or shoulders at most, but he could not kill.

To the actor, this seemed like a nonsensical decision back then. “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” Arnold Schwarzenegger joked. However, keeping aside his rivalry with Sylvester Stallone, the need to one-up each other’s on-screen kill counts, and the ambition to be the number one action movie star, the actor later recognized the Aliens director’s brilliance. Terminator 2 ended up being one of the most fruitful endeavors of its time, amassing around $520.9 million at the box office.

Therefore, while the need to keep up with his Hollywood archenemy may have clouded Arnold Schwarzenegger’s judgment, Cameron’s persuasive abilities and impressive writing skills landed the acclaimed actor his greatest career hit.


Terminator 2: Judgment Day is available for streaming on Netflix.

Source: YouTube


Written by Debdipta Bhattacharya

Articles Published: 659

Debdipta Bhattacharya is a content writer at FandomWire, where she has written more than 500 articles on various topics of interest. She possesses a sincere passion for popular culture, anime, film production, and the evolving world of YouTube and streaming culture which has allowed her to be a devoted and well-informed writer. Debdipta holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication. She has honed her skills and expertise in content writing with over two years of experience and strives to learn and grow daily.