Arnold Schwarzenegger recalls how accent and physique became Hollywood ‘assets’

Schwarzenegger first starred in Conan The Barbarian in 1982 (Ian West/PA)
Schwarzenegger first starred in Conan The Barbarian in 1982 (Ian West/PA)

Arnold Schwarzenegger has recalled how his accent and  impressive physique turned from “liabilities” to “assets” in Hollywood, after having been told he would never make it as a movie star.

The actor and former California governor said he had not listened to the multiple “naysayers” who told him his dream of being on screen was “impossible”.

During a talk in Los Angeles to mark the release of his new limited edition, two-volume book, Schwarzenegger discussed his life and his determination to become “the greatest action hero of all time”.

Beginning the talk he said: “I always tell people they are correct when they say that I’m a typical American kind of success story, but they’re wrong when they say I’m self-made.

Terminator: Dark Fate photocall – London
Schwarzenegger first starred in Conan The Barbarian in 1982 (Ian West/PA)

“If I was self-made, I would be sitting here by myself… So I’m a product of millions of people helping me.”

He went on to thank his millions of fans worldwide and those who had helped him throughout his career.

Schwarzenegger first starred in Conan The Barbarian in 1982, before being approached to play his most famous role of the terrifying cyborg assassin in 1984’s The Terminator.

“The first Terminator movie was pretty much in the beginning of my career,” he said.

“What was interesting about that is because I always had people my whole life saying ‘no you can’t do that, Oh, this is impossible’.

“That’s why one of the other routes to success obviously is don’t listen to the naysayers because there’s always people around to say ‘no, it’s impossible’.

“When I started getting tired of bodybuilding competitions (I thought) there must be something else that is kind of very risky and I have to work hard – something new that I could go after, and it was acting.”

He continued: “I remember that agents and managers, studio executives, always saying to me ‘forget it Arnold”… forget about acting. No one has ever made it with a German accent.”

Schwarzenegger said he had been offered parts in Nazi films or as small roles as a bouncer, due to his voice and stature, but continuously told he would not be a “leading man”.

A few years later he was offered the role in Conan after being told “without Schwarzenegger, we would have had to build him”.

Graham Norton Show – London
Schwarzenegger praised ‘the brilliance of Jim Cameron’ and described him as ‘the number one director in the world’ (PA)

“So then comes (director James) Cameron and Terminator one,” he said.

“He says ‘you know what makes this movie so successful and why people really bought it is because you talk like a machine… your German accent works to such an advantage.

“So all of a sudden I’m saying ‘wait a minute, now this is an asset to have the German accent – to talk like me.

“It’s an asset to have a body like me, and all those schmucks in Hollywood were saying ‘you will never get the job. You can never be a leading man’.

“So this was the unbelievable turnaround.”

Schwarzenegger went on to praise “the brilliance of Jim Cameron” and described him as “the number one director in the world”.