For Arnold Schwarzenegger, the things that had once seemed impossible were no longer some fictional dreams encapsulated within the glossy pages of a magazine in a store window. It was the reality of Everyman, only if they could strive and aspire to grab it and make their own. The actor who would one day go on to earn 25x more in salary than the leading actor in a film itself once started at the bottom of the barrel.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Turned Away at Hollywood’s Door
The Terminator actor, decades down the line, would reminisce the days when he would be told there was no future for him in Hollywood. And unlike his role model, Reg Park, who was an Englishman, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Austrian accent, 6’2” stature, and Mr. Olympian build was an immediate put-off for producers and directors who merely wanted to bring another Al Pacino on the screens, who was the hottest actor in town in the 70s and 80s.
“They used to say ‘your body is too big’. This is the 1970s and people like Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino and Woody Allen, they are sex symbols. I said ‘Oh Jesus.’ Then they said, ‘Plus your accent gives me the creeps. We can use you maybe to play a Nazi or something like that’.”
But the condition would not persist for long. Soon after his arrival, the actor would be cast in films like Hercules in New York, Conan the Barbarian, and ultimately, The Terminator. By the mid-80s, Schwarzenegger would become one of the biggest names in Hollywood, becoming a force of nature who would sell out theatres like hotcakes with every release that had him as a headliner.
Hollywood’s Shift in Perspective Regarding Schwarzenegger
John Milius played an important part in changing the industry’s perspective toward Schwarzenegger, claiming, “If we didn’t have Schwarzenegger, we would have to build one.” The actor recalled that in the aftermath of the comment, “My body became a plus.” Moreover, the director of numerous critically and commercially successful franchises, including The Terminator and Aliens, claimed, “What really makes this movie work is Arnie talks like a machine.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s role in the industry increased manifold in the aftermath of the favorable comments made on his behalf by such industry-namedrop filmmakers. The actor soon became a coveted talent that directors were actively on the lookout for casting in their movies –
“All of sudden it became acceptable, and then it changed from acceptable to hip, then it ended up that I had the most-quoted lines in movies because I said things different and sometimes wrong.”
The 90s became equivalent to a dream come true for the actor. He made a new record after the premiere of the infamous 1997 film, Batman & Robin starring George Clooney in the titular lead as the Caped Crusader. Having played Mr. Freeze, the iconic villain in the film, Schwarzenegger was paid $25 million in salary, one of the highest paydays at the time, as compared to the leading man’s $1 million.
Recently, the actor has made a transition into series work with his Netflix debut, Fubar, in which he stars as a CIA agent alongside Monica Barbaro.
Source: Female First