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Schwarzenegger makes a Stand

Arnie was back in London last night (Oct 14) to discuss his return to the big screen.

“I am sounding a little bit like The Terminator,” a hoarse Arnold Schwarzenegger apologised on Sunday night as he arrived in London on a publicity tour for his autobiography Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story.

At the request of Lionsgate, the body builder had taken a brief respite from his book promoting duties to plug his new movie instead. The Last Stand, directed by Kim Ji-Woon, will be released next January and will mark Arnie’s first full-blown starring role in a movie for almost a decade.

“It was a great pleasure during that absence from the movie business to be the Governor of the great state of California. It was a wonderful challenge. It was a great honour to be elected by the people twice in California and to take time out and to work seven years for…nothing!”

Schwarzengger pointed out that he didn’t “take a penny” of the salary due him as Governor. This was reported to be around $175,000 a year. “It was petty cash anyway,” he joked of the remuneration that he forfeited. “I think I could survive without it. So anyway, now it is wonderful that as soon as I was finished with my job, I could go back again to where my passion is, which is making movies. It is great to be back again, to be back in movies with The Last Stand.”

As he goes on a charm offensive with the British media, the Austrian will be spending most of today giving interviews about his autobiography.

“I came here to promote book but of course Zygi (Kamasa, Lionsgate CEO) believes in synergy. He said I am not going to let you come to London and just promote the book. I am going to make sure that you have to mention The Last Stand (in) every interview you do. You make sure you remember it so we’re going to have a big party for you.”

In a short speech to an audience at The Parlour on Conduit Street in London’s West End, Schwarzengger couldn’t resist quipping his most famous catchphrase from Terminator days “I’ll be back” as he contemplated his return to the screen. “It is great to have The Last Stand be the first film after 10 years…after being out of the movies, even though I had the starring role in many other areas.”

Schwarzenegger boasted that London was where he began his career in earnest. It was here, aged 20, that he became the “youngest Mr Universe ever.”

The Austrian actor was joined by Dianne Bennett, wife of Wag Bennett, one of the judges at that Mr Universe contest. The Bennetts became mentors to the young beefcake in the late 60s. Wag Bennett, a legendary figure in the close-knit world of British bodybuilding, died in 2008 but Dianne remains a close friend.

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