Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in the acting world. Before fans get to watch him at work in July’s Terminator Genisys, they can see a more serious side of the Govenator in the indie film Maggie. Schwarzenegger plays Wade, a farmer who sticks by his daughter’s side after she becomes infected by a disease that turns humans into zombie cannibals.
The former California governor spoke about his experience working on Maggie —“It’s completely opposite, where you don’t rely on kicking some serious ass,” as he put it—while in New York City to promote the film’s screening at Tribeca Film Festival on April 22. During the Maggie discussion, Schwarzenegger also paid homage to his most classic role, his time as governor and what it has taken him to get to where he is now. Here’s what we learned:
1. Maggie was one of his favorite projects to date because of the father-daughter relationship the film depicts. “I’ve been a father for 25 years now—I can completely relate to the horrible feeling of what it’s like to watch your child die.”
2. Because the budget for The Terminator was $6.5 million, a lot of scenes had to be shot illegally without permits—even a scene where he broke into a car as the Terminator. Scenes for Maggie also had to be shot that way.
3. He hopes to spearhead an “environmental crusade” to stop issues like pollution and oil spills. “Forty years ago I was a body building champion and wanted to help others get healthy through a health and fitness crusade. I now want to help our environment.”
4. He wanted to come to America because it would have been much harder to achieve any of the goals he had in Austria. “America really is the land of opportunity.”
5. He was initially told he was “too big” and his accent was too thick—and his name was unpronounceable—when he tried to break into the American acting business. “I never paid any attention to naysayers…I wanted to be a body building champion, come to America, make movies and make millions of dollars. I stayed focused and didn’t let anything get in my way.”
6. He won’t be doing any screenwriting anytime soon. “I don’t have the patience for writing. The only writing I do is writing emails so I can keep practicing my handwriting.”
7. During his time as governor, he learned that acting and politics are “pretty much the same thing. You need the people to buy in, otherwise you have nothing. You’re serving the people, so you need to include and connect with them.”
Schwarzenegger also stopped by EW radio to talk about the film. Hear a clip from the interview below.