Gaming | Film | TV
Gaming | Film | TV

Can Arnold Schwarzenegger nail a serious role?

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After decades in the industry, will upcoming zombie drama Maggie finally show off Arnold Schwarzenegger’s acting gifts?

This man is walking, talking, iron-pumping proof that the impossible can not just be achieved but entirely surpassed. Having come from the small Austrian village Thal, which now pays homage to the star with a museum in his name, Arnold Schwarzenegger has mastered numerous industries and become the go-to-guy when anyone wishes to attempt a classic Germanic accent. He conquered the bodybuilding world, winning Mr Olympia eight times, seven consecutively, and then went on to become arguably the most recognisable action hero of all time, despite his gritty, thick accent and equally thick surname. Then, finally, he donned his political cap, and against all odds governed the state of California from 2003 to 2011.

Schwarzenegger’s versatility is being tested, as the actor takes a new direction towards more serious and dynamic roles

Currently, Schwarzenegger’s sheer versatility is being once again tested, as the actor takes a new direction within the film industry, towards more serious and dynamic roles. Maggie, due for release early in 2015, will see Schwarzenegger play the role of dependent father Wade, whose daughter, Maggie (Abigail Breslin), becomes infected with a slowly progressive virus causing cannibalistic, zombie-like symptoms. The story details the paternal relationship, and the struggles that come as a father watches and comforts his deteriorating daughter.

Now, classically, if you were to see Arnie’s name amongst the cast of any zombie flick, it’d be easy to presume that it’s going to be an oiled, vascular Schwarzenegger holding a Minigun with a knife in his teeth, and him saying “bite this” as he blows up the zombie stronghold, before flying away on a chopper that he kept continuously urging people to get to. And with all due respect to the man, you couldn’t blame us for thinking so.


Judging him purely on the movie cliches with which Schwarzenegger’s become synonymous, however, would not be doing his ability, adaptability, nor commitment to the business justice. For in his 1982 career-making role in Conan the Barbarian, Schwarzenegger completed weapons, martial arts and horse riding training by specialists, as well as worked two hours a day with an 11-pound broadsword, to which he testified that the three months he habitually trained for were on par with the difficulty involved in sculpting his body in the gym for competitions. One question still remains, however: Schwarzenegger obviously has the ability to manipulate his mental and physical commitment for numerous causes, but does he have what would most certainly be needed for a truly ‘serious’ and endearing role – raw, natural acting ability?

Kindergarten Cop proved Arnie isn’t necessarily just a concoction of explosions and gun fights, that there’s some depth burrowed away beneath the testosterone

Well, in 1990, Schwarzenegger went some way towards showing us that. Kindergarten Cop held him in an entirely different light, showing a comical, innocent and at times romantic side, proving he isn’t necessarily just a concoction of explosions and gun fights, that there’s some depth burrowed away beneath all that testosterone. Could it be said that the jump between The Terminator and Kindergarten Cop is as big as what’s needed for the jump between the latter and Maggie? And lest we not forget that playing an entirely emotionless role such as the Terminator is not as simple as it seems – it’s akin to the difficulty involved in an actor playing an actor who can’t act. It’s almost a paradoxical role.

The question is, though, could Schwarzenegger “nail” it? Unfortunately the truth of the matter is that we’re simply not going to know until we see Maggue, but surely you can’t help but think, “why not”? Arnold Schwarzenegger’s spent the last 40 years doing everything everybody told him he wouldn’t be able to do, whether that’s becoming the greatest bodybuilder ever in a time when bodybuilding was desperately unpopular, or becoming the king of Hollywood with a name no one can pronounce, or going on to have a surprising political career. They say he would obviously be ineligible to run for president with him being a foreign-born citizen, but, my God, if he was 20 years younger, he’d probably still somehow manage that too. This man knows and does exactly what he wants. If he wants to nail it, he will do.


Read more: We re-evaluate John McTiernan’s Predator


Featured image: Lionsgate/Lotus Entertainment

Inset image: Universal


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