IFC.com’s film writer, Matt Singer, is the biggest Arnold Schwarzenegger fan on the planet. He blogs any time any news about Schwarzenegger’s return to acting, no matter how flimsy or improbable, hits the Internet.
Deadline reported yesterday that with former actor turned former Governor Arnold Schwarnzenegger accepting movie offers, studios are looking for material to pitch the Austrian Oak. Universal Studios, also looking for material for “Fast Five” director Justin Lin, is considering acquiring the “Terminator” franchise, which has bounced around from Orion to Carolco to Warner Brothers to who knows where and now rests in the hands of a hedge fund named Pacificor.
Deadline’s report makes no specific mention of Schwarzenegger’s interest in the project, only Universal’s. But it does sort of make you wonder whether Arnold, at age 63, would be interested in — i.e. crazy enough — to try to make another “Terminator.” The third “Terminator,” “Rise of the Machines,” was his last starring vehicle before his move into politics, and he was already looking a wee bit creaky for the role back when he was just 54. Unlike his contemporary, Sylvester Stallone, Schwarzenegger does not have the luxury of having a human signature character. Stallone got older, so did Rocky and Rambo. Schwarzenegger gets older, but the T-800 remains eternally young.
Schwarzenegger’s likeness appeared to good effect on a CGI creation in 2009’s “Terminator Salvation” (you can watch the scene on YouTube). You have to imagine that anyone considering a Schwarzenegger return is considering the possibility of doing something like that on a bigger scale, with Arnold himself providing motion capture and voice work for some sort of digitally scrubbed version of himself, a la Jeff Bridges’ youthful digital doppelganger in “TRON: Legacy.” If the effect was convincing enough — and Bridges’ in “TRON” was close — it could be interesting, and open the door to stuff “Terminator”‘s never done before, like seeing hundreds of identical Arnolds all onscreen at once.
Also possible, and slightly more worrisome, is Schwarzenegger eyeing his rival Stallone’s box office success, and deciding he needs to one-up Sly by becoming the T-800 again without the aid of special effects (Note: human growth hormone does not count as a special effect). I’d rather he revisit one of his other franchises, like “Predator” (which just got a sequel last summer) or “True Lies” (which director James Cameron is currently turning into a television series). They’re also remaking “Total Recall” with Colin Farrell in Schwarzenegger’s role. Maybe he can play Howser. Or Quato!