Set Visit: The Last Stand starring Arnold Schwarzenegger! (Part 2 of 2)
After witnessing that mano et mano fight between Arnold and the villain being shot, it was lunch time. So I rushed to the set cafeteria (to be first in line, I was starving), got my chow, sat down at an empty table and dug in. Suddenly somebody came and sat besides me, it was Arnold Schwarzenegger. Very surreal for me, in a good way! We shot the shite for a bit till the other journalists came and joined us. We wound up interviewing the The Governator while breaking bread. Charismatic with a good sense of humor, here are some of the most interesting tidbits that came out of our food filled chat with Arnold!
. He’ll talk to James Cameron about being a villain in AVATAR 2 (take that with a grain of salt, it sounded like he was half kidding). He is involved with Cameron in his many causes for the environment though.
. He wouldn’t know what the story would be in terms of a sequel to The Last Stand. He thinks certain movies aren’t set up for a sequel. Doesn’t mean he wouldn’t do it though, he just couldn’t come up with a concept right now. I suggested he do like Crocodile Dundee and go back to the big city; Arnold ran with that. He thought that the FBI angle in the film would be the hook for the sequel, where they’d need him on a case, one he’d be an expert on and bring him back to the city.
. He doesn’t have a favorite in terms of the characters he’s played but Twins, Kindergarten Cop, True Lies and Predator are up there. He could never pick one over the other.
. Much like his other characters, in this film, he brought humor to the role to make him more appealing, humor that wasn’t on the page.
. He would love to do another TWINS, call it TRIPLETS and get somebody like Eddie Murphy to be the new brother. He wants people to say “How does that happen?” and somehow they explain it in the film. He can just imagine the billboard “They found another one” TRIPLETS! Get it out on XMAS and your home free!
. TRUE LIES 2 is still a possibility but he has to wait. TRUE LIES is an action film but is also about a family unit and he doesn’t feel it’s good timing in light of his own current family problems (the maid thing). He jokingly said that he will avoid family subjects in his films for a couple of years.
. In terms of directing again (he directed Christmas in Connecticut (1992) and a Tales from the Crypt episode); he’s getting back into acting first, to get the experience again and he will see how it goes and take it from there.
. Coming back to a set after all that time off, felt like riding a bike. With that, he was a bit concerned when he first stepped on that bike for that first run.
. There was some improvisation during the shoot, not too many one liners in the film though. There was a line at a certain point with somebody saying “You’ll be back” and they took it out of the movie.
. He feels no pressure in making a comeback on the big screen. He’s not trying to outdo his other movies. As he moves forward with his age, this is the perfect character for him. It’s a smaller and more personal movie. And when you have that you don’t feel the pressure. It stands on its own and is a perfect vehicle to come back with. He wanted a smaller project to come back to the big screen. After that he’ll step it up.
. It’s an ensemble piece like Predator. He’s part of that. It’s a Jee-woon Kim's movie rather than a Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. That’s the way he sees it.
. Who’s gonna take over the action mantle from the 80’s? A handle of guys are out there, but he doesn’t know if anybody will really ever punch through.
. His character comes from a heavy weapon background, last time he used them was in LA. In his Sheriff station he only has shotguns and pistols. So when the bad guys show up, they’re outgunned, and that’s why they go see Johnny Knoxville’s character for some supplies out of his weapons museum. There’s one great scene where they have a WW2 rail gun that fires 400 rounds a minute. Yeehaw!
Jee-woon Kim is a pretty chill guy, I loved his energy. He was there with his translator and our little talk went smooth. Here are the most interesting bits.
. He’s trying to get the most out of both the Korean style of filmmaking and the USA Studio style. The result will speak for itself. He feels that time and the way the Americans treat it, is the most valuable commodity in the USA.
. The movie is an hybrid of Korean and US filmmaking. The way he would describe it is an American canvas with his (Korean) colors on it. He’s using the strengths of the American system/process and melding them with his own. With that he’s needed time to get acclimated as there have been some things that he wasn’t comfortable with. It’s like when a man and a woman from different backgrounds hook up. They need time to adjust and then they learn to get along, have a baby and get house he says.
. Jee-woon Kim has a singular goal, to make films and tells stories. Hollywood was never an ambition for him, it was the end result of an organic process that led him here.
. Jee-woon Kim comes from an acting background and likes to show his actors what he wants instead of telling them. That way he gets an immediate response and no translation is needed for that.
. Working with Arnold hasn’t sunk in for him, it is surreal. A lot of people in Korea, friends, fans, and fellow filmmakers are curious to see what type of product will come out of this partnership. One of Kim’s favorite Arnold movie is The Last Action Hero and he feels like he’s in that film with the character.
. Jee-woon Kim wants to give the audience what they want from an Arnold movie, but also give them what they’ve never seen before. One of the films he was inspired by was High Noon (with Clint Eastwood), where a man puts his life on the line for what others find trivial. There’s an ideology about fighting for what you believe in, and what you chose to believe in no matter how big or small, it’s what you believe in. That ideology has made America and he incorporates that theme into the film. With Arnold’s character he wants to convey that he’s a man who’s going to fight for his town, family and what he believes and he’s willing to risk everything for it. It’s an action movie but one rooted in that philosophy.
. The violence in THE LAST STAND is not gratuitous or excessive, it’s within reason, but there’s enough to create a spectacle and give Arnold fans what they want.
Finally we met up with Eduardo Noriega who plays the villain in the movie. An endearing fellow who was obviously very happy to be in a movie with Arnold. Here’s what I got!
. His character is spoiled. He always had everything, came from a very protective family, with lots of money and lots of power. Now he’s grown up and he has the power. In the beginning of the movie he just escaped from prison, all goes well till he arrives to the small town and meets Arnold’s character, a man willing to die for no reason from his character’s POV. He’s just a Mexican that wants to get back to his country.
. Villains have something that is really attractive. Villains represent what I can’t be, what I am not, there’s an attraction cause the villain represents what we can’t do.
. He grew up watching Arnold films like Conan the Barbarian and Predator, so it’s a dream come true for him to be pitted against Arnold in this flick.
. The fight he has with Arnold is a huge rumble; it’s taking days to shoot. It has many segments. He’s done action before, but never like this and specially not with a veteran like Arnold.
. He’s happy with Jee-woon Kim as a director because he’s very specific and detailed oriented. He feels secure with him. If Jee-woon Kim doesn’t like something, he won’t accept it.
. He spends most of the film in a car (a Genesis Corvette). For him that’s new, he’s done stuff with cars before but not with a race car. He didn’t even know these kind of cars were legal. It’s like a loaded gun he says! For one scene, they had a stunt driver on top of the car maneuvering the ride while he was inside at the wheel. He was happy about that cause it meant people would see him and think he was doing the fancy driving. So he told the stunt guy to drive real fast. He got more than he bargained for, trying to act out driving the car at such speed. The first take wasn’t good because he was scared shit-less. But after a couple of takes and once he finally saw the scene edited, it blew his mind.
And that was that on that! Thanks to everybody that made this happen! Not only did I get to meet one of my childhood idols (yes Arnold) but I also got a glimpse of the fun times that is in store with THE LAST STAND. Consider my ticket bought!