Arnold Reloaded: Schwarzenegger's 'Terminator 3' Could Make Him an Action Hero Again. but If He Wants to Be Governor, He'll Need a Great Campaign Ad. NEWSWEEK Has Some Ideas

Article excerpt

Byline: Jerry Adler

In all the ways that count in Hollywood--money, basically--he's 10 times the star Ronald Reagan ever was, and he's 10 times more handsome than Jesse Ventura, so Arnold Schwarzenegger has to be considered a good bet to be the next governor of California. If he runs, that is--a question that might well have come up when he met with Karl Rove in the White House in April. Schwarzenegger says he won't make up his mind about the race until after the July 2 release of the long-awaited third installment in the "Terminator" series, "Rise of the Machines." "I'm not running," he told NEWSWEEK recently. "On the other hand, you don't want to do the same thing your whole life, either."

If he does run, a great campaign ad will be crucial to overcoming voter resistance to a candidate who kills with his hands. NEWSWEEK recently visited Schwarzenegger's office, spoke with him on the Warner Brothers lot and put together this potential script, based entirely on real scenes and interviews:

We open on a gauzy shot of a cozy, paneled room with an old-fashioned wood stove, a pendulum clock and shelves crowded with beer steins.

--Voice-over: He was born in a small town in Austria...

Pan to a large window with palm trees outside, then pull back to reveal that this is actually Schwarzenegger's private study inside his complex of Santa Monica offices.

... but he's as American as an M-16!

Movie still of Arnold blazing away with a machine gun. Cut to long tracking shot of offices, lingering on body-building trophies the size of fire hydrants, a miniature prop plane from "True Lies," photographs of Arnold with various presidents and a large framed citation from the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

He built a career on nothing but willpower and protoplasm.

Shots of a young Arnold, flexing.

And when, at 55, he had to make another nude entrance as the Terminator...

Movie still from "T3," Arnold in the buff.

Jonathan Mostow, director: He came in with the exact same body dimensions as in "T2," a dozen years ago.

Arnold: Every day I work out for an hour and a half in the morning. It's part of the job. I lift 300 pounds now on the bench press, I don't go all the way to, like, 550. When I was competing I weighed 245, 250 pounds. I made "Terminator" at 225, 226. Now I'm around 220.

I'm doing right now rehabilitation training. I had surgery on my shoulder that I injured on "Terminator," and I couldn't get medical attention during the shooting because it delays the whole movie. I'm used to it: pushing myself, training, discipline. I just see it as part of life. You stay in shape for the stunts, for all the stuff you do.

Scenes from "T3": Arnold throwing Terminator babe of doom Kristanna Loken through a wall; assorted vehicles crashing and exploding.

Voice-over: "T3's" director, Jonathan Mostow, who made the submarine thriller "U-571," knows how to make the trains crash on time, as well as motorcycles, helicopters, construction cranes and fire engines...

Mostow: The bar was high, and we knew we needed a kick-a-- chase scene.

Kristanna throws Arnold through a wall.

Voice-over: What sort of person would give this up for the chance to appoint the director of the State Board of Acupuncture?

Scenes of Arnold surrounded by kids at the Inner City Games, campaigning for his 2002 ballot initiative for after-school programs, relaxing with his Kennedy in-laws.

Arnold: I've had, so far, an incredible life--way beyond my dreams. All that I've done, all that I might do in the future, is a tribute to this country, and I'd like to give something back.

Maria Shriver, wife: I don't think he's made his mind up 100 percent. Maybe 98 percent. Like any couple, we'll talk it over because it impacts the entire family. Since I grew up in the political world I have some strong opinions about it, but I would be supportive of whatever he wanted to do. …