The actor-politician opens up about his film prospects, reteaming with James Cameron, and the joy of wielding Conan the Barbarian's sword at meetings

EW You said back in October, while you were still governor, that you weren’t sure you wanted to act again. How are you feeling about it now that you’ve left office?
Arnold Schwarzenegger You know, the mind is interesting. When I was governor, all I thought about was the economy and jobs and health care. When I would go on a movie set, and friends would ask me if I wanted to jump in and do a scene with Tom Cruise or whoever’s set we were visiting, I said no. I could not see that happening again. Hanging upside down in the harness and doing all that — that was not me anymore. But the mind is interesting in how it changes. As soon as I finished being governor and I was sitting around with my pals talking about movies, I thought, ”Yeah, it could be interesting to be back on a set again.” The more time goes on, the more I’ve been getting comfortable with the idea.

Doing an animated TV series is a nice way to ease back into the profession.
AS One of the reasons The Governator was appealing to me — along with the fact that I loved the idea of the cartoon — was that it didn’t have anything to do with going to a set.

And it doesn’t preclude you from doing other things…
AS Absolutely not. I’m doing the Governator voice and participating in the story and the marketing. We are partners. But it doesn’t preclude anything else.

Because lately there have been rumors about a True Lies sequel.
AS The idea of a True Lies sequel has been around since the early 2000s, but then 9/11 happened and we didn’t do it because it had to do with a terrorist attack. A lot of terrorist-type scripts were canceled back then, but now they are emerging again because there hasn’t been a terrorist attack in the last 10 years. Then, of course, there’s dialogue about me getting back into the Terminator thing. But you know, I’ve been out of office only two months now. I couldn’t be thinking about doing Terminator 16 while I was still governor.

Have you talked to James Cameron lately?
AS Oh, yeah, I talk to him all the time. We are going to be touring the Amazon rain forest together at the end of March.

So what are the chances of a Schwarzenegger-Cameron reunion? People would love to see you guys work together again on a movie.
AS Could be.

A lot has changed in Hollywood since you’ve been away. It’s all about comic-book superheroes now. He-man action movies aren’t made much anymore.
AS What we had in the ’70s and ’80s was a change from the ordinary-looking action hero to the muscular action hero. Stallone and I started competing against each other over who had less body fat, who was more ripped, who killed more people. Then others jumped into the competition. Dolph Lundgren. Jean-Claude Van Damme. The ’80s were a unique era — the hero had to have muscles or he was not believable. But things change. Heroes still have muscles, but it’s all CGI. Look at the movie 300. I mean, that guy was ripped. I said to [300] producer Mark Canton, ”You have got to get ahold of this guy. I want to know what his training regimen is.” Canton said, ”What are you talking about? [Those muscles] cost me a lot of money.”