Friday, October 12, 2012

Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger with Peter Petre. Total Recall:My Unbelievable True Life Story. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012.

The author was born in rural Austria in 1947 to parents who sometimes had to spend days searching for food He became interested in bodybuilding as a way to attract gils He entered competitions and won competitions His request to leave the Army to further pursue bodybuilding was granted, in part, because he had crashed a tank he was driving. He took steroids which was then the norm in bodybuilding. He today warns against them as they can cause harm and death.

The author won the Mr. Universe Competition. He appeared on the the “Merv Griffin Show”. Lucille Ball saw him and asked if he would read a script for a TV special playing the role of a masseur. He was hired He was frozen when he first appeared as it was live TV. Lucille Ball improvised until he remember his line and the rest of the scene worked well. Lucille Ball advised him “when hey say “No”, you hear “Yes” and act accordingly. Some one says to you “We can do this movie” you hug him and say thank you for believing in me.”

Schwarzenegger appeared as the lead bodybuilder in the movie “Stay Hungry”. He won a Golden Globe for a new actor. His agent worked hard and got him a meeting with producer-director Dino DeLaurentiis, who has an Italian accent. DeLaurentis complained that Schwarzenegger had an accent. Schwarzenegger replied “What do you mean I have an accent? What about you?” to which DeLaurentiis replied “This meeting is over.” The author’s agent complained that the 40 second meeting was the shortest meeting he’d ever had. The author took the agent’s advice from then on to be agreeable and make producers feel good about working with him, rather than the reverse.

A year later after “Stay Hungry” he got another acting job on an episode of “The Streets of San Francisco” portraying a bodybuilder who is a murderer. His work in a movie about bodybuilding “Pumping Iron” which increased his name recognition.

The lead role in “Conan the Barbarian” followed. Expert stunt director Terry Leonard, production designer Ron Cobb, and plastic parts expert Colin Arthur helped make the movie operate along with a $20 million production budget that included 1,500 extras, a 90 piece orchestra, a 24member choir and various animals. Dino DeLaurentiis was impressed with the author;s performance, ending his period of disliking the author. He did his first love scene which was daunting with so many technical people around even on a closed set. Actors James Earl Jones and Max Von Sydow provided the author with acting advice.

Schwarzenegger’s net role was in “The Terminator”. This was director James Cameron’s second movie. Cameron learned a lot form director Roger Corman and impressed the author with his technical knowledge. The author found this knowledge as visionary. “The Terminator” had a $4 million budget which was increased to $6.5 million. O.J. Simpson was originally considered for the role, The author hestitated before accepting the role as it only had 18 lines. He finally accepted the role He avoided developing chemistry with his co-stars since his character was a machine. A car stealing scene was quickly filmed on a Los Angeles street as they lacked a filming permit.

The author appeared in “Red Sonja” where he had an affair with co-star Brigitte Nielsen. That movie did not do well financially, yet “Conan” and “The Terminator” both had $40 million in domestic revenues. He then married Maria Shriver.

“Predator” was the author’s next movie. The special effects department saved money yet created a creature the author and others felt wasn’t correct. It was redesigned which helped the movie have the second best opening gross in 1987 which had a final gross of $100 million. The author declined to do the sequel, feeling the script was wrong. The sequel did poorly in attracting an audience.

Success increased the author’s pay. He received $750,000 for “The Terminator”, $1 million for “Conan the Barbarian”, $3 million for “Predator”, $5 million for “The Running Man”, $5 million for “Red Heat”, and $10 million for “Total Recall”, $14 million for “Terminator 2”, and $15 million for “True Lies”.

Many of the author’s movies did better in foreign revenues. The author often kept the foreign market in mind when acting, such as not having facial hair which could hurt his appeal in Asia.

The author believes Paul Michael Glasser, who was hired to replace a fired director for “The Running Man”, being from TV and lacking the feel for movies in what was Glasser’s first movie director job. Glasser lacked the time to consider his directions and had to work in the rushed style more common to TV.

The author learned comic timing in the comedy movie “Twins. Danny DeVito is an expert comic actor.

The author appeared in “Terminator 2” which was the biggest grossing movie in 1001. His movie “Last Action Hero”, released in 1992 with high anticipation, was killed in the box office by “Jurassic Park”. His career bounced back with a success in “True Lies”. He escaped serious injury when his horse was spooked by a falling camera while the horse was near a roof’s edge. Stunt director Joel Kramer quickly reacted and grabbed and calmed the horse.

THe author had heart surgery to correct a hereditary condition. Some incorrectly jumped a conclusion that the author would no longer be able to do action movies This hurt his image with producers.

California Governor Pete Wilson in 19994 encouraged the author tor run for Governor, stating someone who has played “Kindergarten Cop” already has the requisite experience to deal with the legislature.” A financial crisis caused the state government’s revenues to decrease 40%, hurting the popularity of then Governor Gray Davis. The car tax tripled which angered Californians who love their cars. The author ran for Governor after completing promoting “Terminator 3”. 135 candidates filed for Governor. Governor Davis was recalled and the author won the election to replace him. The author hired John Max to write one liners to use in his campaign.

Senate President Pro Tem John Burton refused to attend the author’s inaugural. The author asked him to “forget the big fighting in public let’s find things we can work on.” He worked with legislators yet found the more effective way to get his agenda passed was using ballot and initiative. He used this means to cut workers’ compensation expenses He realized calling legislators “girly men” was a mistake because he needed to work with the then insulted legislators. He also admits that declaring war on public employee unions was a mistake as they were good at fighting back. He lost his four ballot initiative proposals that year. He realized he had to work with opponents to gain his primary goal of improving California’s economy. He picked a former Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Davis, Susan Kennedy, as his new Chief of Staff. A proposal was developed to use general obligation bonds over ten years to rebuilding highways, schools, housing, and prisons. The bond proposal was approved.

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