Arnold Schwarzenegger Beyond Fest

Late last week, Beyond Fest 2017 hosted a double feature of Predator and The Running Man to celebrate the 30th anniversaries of both films, and star Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared in person for a Q&A session beforehand. It was everything an Arnold fan could have hoped for: great stories, terrific jokes, and even a surprise appearance by Predator co-star Bill Duke.

Read on for some highlights of the event, including a video of Arnold arm wrestling a young fan and the actor’s recounting of how he orchestrated one of Hollywood’s all-time great troll moves during the height of his feud with Sylvester Stallone.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Predator

Arnold had a particularly memorable experience making Predator

If you listen to the Empire Podcast, you may remember a recent interview with Predator co-star Carl Weathers talking about the testosterone-heavy set and how there were constant competitions among the film’s actors to see who would have the biggest muscles on any given day. They’d wake up every day, run five miles, come back and work out at Arnold’s private gym (which he had delivered from Los Angeles), eat breakfast, and then go to the set. At Beyond Fest, Schwarzenegger confirmed this and added an embarrassing story about himself for good measure:

“There was one day, I have to admit, I only ran one mile. What happened was, I got really sick – dehydrated, some flu or something like that. And when you’re in Mexico, you eat the wrong thing and inevitably the shit hits the fan. So I went on an early morning run, and all of a sudden, I started throwing up. So I tried to be ballsy, wiped my mouth, and continued on running, but then all of a sudden it came out the other side. So I had to quickly run to the side of the road and pull my pants down. I tell you, I was in big, big trouble that day. So it was not five miles that day, it was much, much less than that.”

Watch Schwarzenegger arm wrestle a 9-year-old boy

At every Q&A session, there’s inevitably somebody that hijacks the room and makes the situation about them. You know the types: people who ask if the actors will read their screenplays, etc. There was one of those people at this Q&A as well, but it turned into the best possible outcome: it was a young kid named Bailey who wanted to arm wrestle Arnold…and The Governator accepted the challenge:

Arnold credits Stan Winston with Predator’s success

After telling a story about doing a life-cast for make-up guru Stan Winston during the making of The Terminator, Arnold took a moment to praise Winston as the secret weapon behind Predator’s success and ultimate longevity:

“We started Predator, and the Predator was built by another special effects and makeup department. We did all of our scenes without the Predator, and then we started using the Predator. And it went south very quickly because it didn’t look good on screen. It had nothing to do with Van Damme being inside the rubber suit, like some people have written about it. Because it was just too small – he was supposed to be much taller than us.

When they finally got rid of that Predator and finally went to Stan Winston’s shop – he was more expensive because he was the best. Academy Award-winning guy, right? So when they went to his shop, we had to stop shooting for six months, they finally built that great Predator, and they found a great guy to play the Predator and do all of those athletic jumps and athletic stuff. It was amazing what an athlete he was. And then it was really fantastic. So Stan Winston is responsible for Predator to become that successful. Stan Winston is really the best of the best, and he was the best of the best in this business, and as you say, we miss him dearly.”

His history with Sylvester Stallone was rocky (pun intended)

In the ‘80s and ‘90s, Schwarzenegger and Stallone were locked in a vicious battle for action hero supremacy. Arnold recalled some of the silliest aspects of their long-time rivalry:

“I’m so glad we straightened out our mess because it wasn’t pretty. We were attacking each other in the press relentlessly. We called each other names and called out our weak points, and it was so competitive. It became so silly that all of a sudden it became a competition about who has the most muscular body. So I said, ‘Sly, forget about that now. Because there’s only one seven-time Mr. Olympia, and it’s me!’ But then he had to use bigger weapons. So then it was a competition of who had the biggest gun, and then who uses the biggest knife. Do you remember the Rambo knife became so big it was like a sword? No one has a knife like that! But Stallone had one built, so I had to come in with a bigger one. This is how it went. Who has the most unique killings? Who kills more people on screen? Who makes more money at the box office? Who has less body fat when he goes into production? All of this shit started happening, and it didn’t stop! It was unbelievable.”

He says the creation of Planet Hollywood is what brought the two together and eventually helped resolve their rivalry, but I had one more question about their battle that needed to be answered.

Escape Plan 1

Schwarzenegger confirms one of Hollywood’s all-time great troll moves

Some of you may already be familiar with the origin story of how Sylvester Stallone came to star in the abysmal 1992 action comedy Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot:

But I had to ask Arnold if the rumors I’d heard were true. Legend has it that Schwarzenegger read the script, thought it was terrible, but decided to purposefully leak it to the press that he was interested in starring in it in order to lure Stallone into getting jealous and trying to steal the film out from under him. So is it true, or just an apocryphal Hollywood story that’s been blown out of proportion over the years?

“True. I read the script. It was so bad. You know, I’ve also done some movies that went right in the toilet, right? That were bad. But this was really bad. So I went in – this was during our war – I said to myself, I’m going to leak out that I have tremendous interest. I know the way it works in Hollywood. I would then ask for a lot of money. So then they’d say, ‘Let’s go give it to Sly. Maybe we can get him for cheaper.’ So they told Sly, ‘Schwarzenegger’s interested. Here’s the press clippings. He’s talked about that. If you want to grab that one away from him, that is available.’ And he went for it! He totally went for it. A week later, I heard about it, ‘Sly is signing now to do this movie.’ And I said, [pumps fist] ‘Yes!'”

As the Q&A wrapped up, Schwarzenegger took a moment to throw a quick jab at the Dotard-in-Chief in the White House. Someone asked Arnold to name his favorite character that he’s played in his career, and he responded:

“That’s very hard to say. It’s almost like asking me, ‘What is your favorite muscle?’ (laughs) How do you answer that, right? It’s like asking me, ‘What is the worst tweet of Donald Trump?’ Where do you start?”

Despite not fully committing to a single answer, he name-checked his characters from Predator, The Terminator, True Lies, and Aftermath as some of his favorites. And Arnold fielded the final question from the audience – a joking “Who is your daddy, and what does he do?” – with sincerity, explaining how his father was a police officer who instilled in him the discipline that helped him overcome all of the obstacles in his career thus far.

As I was leaving, I heard one guy tell his friends, “That was hands-down the greatest Q&A I’ve ever seen.” And after watching the way Schwarzenegger masterfully controlled the tone, played to the crowd in just the right moments, and mixed in inspirational messages along with fun insider stories, it’s hard to disagree with that sentiment.

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