It’s time once again to haul out those hoary old “I’ll be baaack” references. Less than two months after announcing that he was putting all of his Hollywood projects on hold as he weathered the scandal surrounding revelations he had fathered a child with his housekeeper, Arnold Schwarzenegger is evidently ready to get back in the saddle — with a Western, no less. EW has confirmed that, as first reported by Deadline, the former California governor is moving ahead with a long-gestating project called The Last Stand, in which he will star as a small-town border sheriff battling a Mexican drug cartel. The film, which will mark the English-language debut of Korean director Jee-woon Kim (The Good, The Bad, The Weird), is set to begin production in September and will hit theaters next year. Schwarzenegger is also attached to play a horse trainer in the drama Cry Macho and has held discussions with director Justin Lin (Fast Five) about a potential fifth installment in the Terminator franchise, but those projects will move to the back burner behind The Last Stand.
In charting his post-political return to acting, Schwarzenegger, who will turn 64 later this month, has cited Clint Eastwood’s career as a model, and The Last Stand certainly sounds on the surface like it could have come out of the Eastwood playbook. But whether audiences are ready to welcome the one-time action icon back to the big screen in the wake of his personal scandal — and, for that matter, whether he can convincingly take on the Western genre, which might not seem quite as natural a fit for Schwarzenegger as playing, say, a killer cyborg from the future — remains to be seen.