- Lou Ferrigno, The Hulk, TV, 1977-1982. Verbally abused by Arnold in Pumping Iron, Lou beat him to The Hulk - by three inches. Not biceps; height. At 6ft 2ins, Arnold was found too short, compared to Big Louie’s 6ft 5ins.
- Jim Morris, Sexette, 1978. One of the few muscle-men - maybe the only one? - to turn down Mae West.
Sam J Jones, Flash Gordon, 1980.
Mr Olympia had made just three films, the barely seen Hercules in New York,Bob Rafelson’s classy Stay Hungry and the Pumping Iron documentary whenhis agent Larry Kubik finally arrangeda meet with mighty producer Dino De Laurentiis. Puzzled by the size of Dino’s massivedesk, Arnoldcouldn’t stop himself spluttering: “Why does a little guy like you need such a big desk?”Dino stared: “You havva an accent.I cannot use you. You can-a not-a be Flash Gordon. Flash Gordon is American. Ah.”Arnie replied:“What you mean I have accent? Vot about you?”“This meeting is over!”Mr Agent went bananas “One minute 40 seconds,”he screamed, filling the outside corridor with the F word. “The shortest meeting I’ve ever had with anyproducer because you decided to fuck it up.Do you know how many months it took to get into this fuckingoffice?”Most of Jones’ dialogue as dubbed) andthe two accents made up after Conan The Barbarian, although Dino hadn’t wantedArnie at first.him again. “He’s a Nazi!”“No, Dino,” said director John Milius, “There’s only one Nazi on this team.Me!”
- Harry Hamlin, Clash of the Titans, 1980. Chicago critic Roger Ebert called it a Greek mythological retread of Star Wars. Also in the frame for Skywalker - er, Perseus - were Richard Chamberlain and Michael York… even an unknown body-builder. Except producer Charles H Schneer told Schwarzi that Greek heroes (apart from Hercules) were more athletic and cunning than muscle-bound cliches as in the 50s/60s Italian schmepics. This did not please Arnold. His inspiration was Hercules, himself. Steve Reeves.
- Dan Aykroyd, Neighbours, 1981. A John Hughes idea: Arnold and Stallone hellbent on destroying each other with stupid vendettas.
- Harrison Ford, Blade Runner, 1981. UK wiz Ridley Scott spent a long time sniffing out the perfect Deckard. From top notchers, Sean Connery, Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman (keen… but on making it a totally different character, of course), Robert Mitchum, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson Al Pacino… to such excellent journeymen as William Devane, Robert Duvall, Peter Falk, Frederic Forrest, Scott Glenn, Cliff Gorman, Tommy Lee Jones, Raoul Julia, Nick Nolte, Christopher Walken. Then, in sheer desperation, choices lowered to Cliff Gorman, Judd Hirsch. Even the Virginian Morgan Paull stood a chance, having played Deckard in Scott’s tests of potential Rachaels. (He was given Holden for his pains). Plus Schwarzi, not yet seen as Conan, much less Terminator. And for probably the last time in such an illustrious list, the fading star of Burt Reynolds.
- Michael Biehn, The Terminator, 1983. Director James Cameron loves recounting the phone call he had from Orion boss Mike Medavoy. "He asked if I were sitting down... he had the perfect casting: OJ Simpson as the Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger as Reese. And I'm thinking this is the dumbest idea I've ever heard. But I thought Schwarzenegger was pretty cool. " When they met, Cameron said: "You're a bulldozer!" And that's why he became The Terminator. With Biehn (of course) as Reese.
- André The Giant, The Princess Bride, 1987. A serious contender for the giant Fezzik in 1975, although scenarist William Goldman wrote it with André in mind. Co-star Billy Crystal was similarly impressed by The Giant - Crystal’s next scriptwas My Giant, 1998. André has a cameo in Schwarzi’s Conan The Destroyer, 1984.
- Peter Weller, RoboCop, 1986. Peter Weller, RoboCop, 1986. Arnie had problems with the RoboSuit. He couldn’t squeeze into it! He loved the movie and immediately wanted to work with its Dutch director Paul Verhoeven and got the Carolco company to buy Total Recall for them.
- Michael Douglas, Fatal Attraction, 1987.
- Bruce Willis, Die Hard, 1987. Director John McTiernan had been due to make Commando 2. When Arnold passed, the script was spun into Die Hard. Arnold passed anew. There were 15 other possible John McClanes. From Tom Berenger, Michael Madsen and top TV heroes Richard Dean Anderson, Don Johnson to A-listers: Tom Berenger, Charles Bronson, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Michael Madsen, Nick Nolte, Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone. And Frank Sinatra had to be contractually offered the hero. In his 1980 move debut, The First Deadly Sin, Willis is seen leaving a bar as Sinatra walks in. So it flows.
- Richard Gere, Internal Affairs, 1989. UK director Mike Figgis said Paramount wanted Mel Gibson or Kurt Russell (big hits in ’88’s Tequila Sunrise) as the badass cop-cum-hit man. “If we’d hired a movie star to play Peck,” noted producer Frank Mancuso Jr, “we might not have been able to so successfully explore the darkness of the character.” Some 19 other stars - Schwarzi, Alec Baldwin, Tom Berenger, Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costner, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Ed Harris, William Hurt, Don Johnson, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Keaton, Nick Nolte, Al Pacino, Christopher Reeve, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta… and four outsiders Richard Dean Anderson, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Ron Silver - all passed Peck to Gere for a double whammy comeback with Pretty Woman. “I’ve never been away,” snapped Gere. Oh, but he had. Almost to Palookaville.
- Danny Glover, Predator 2,1990.
Producer Joel Silver wanted an Arnie sequel. Arnie warned him off it. The movie would take a major dive, the director and script were all wrong…“ The story was in Los Angeles. Nobody wants to see predators running around downtown LA. We already have predators. Gang warfare is killing people all the time. You don’t need extraterrestrials to make the town dangerous.”He wuz right, The sequel was one of the biggest 1990 bombs, while his Terminator sequel went through global roofs. Schwarzi never worked with Silver again.
- Steve Martin, My Blue Heaven, 1990. Arnie didn't even reply to the offer to replace his twin Danny De Vito as a gangster in a witness protection program me.
- Hulk Hogan, Suburban Commando, 1991. The deal was simple. Schwarzi and Danny De Vito had a choice - Twins or Commando. They twinned. Hogan and Christopher Lloyd commandoed.
- Matt Salinger, Captain America, 1991. The famous heavy accent did not prevent him becoming Governor of California in 2003, but Captain America could not talk like that!
- Kevin Kline, Dave, 1992. As the clone of the US President. Long before he ever thought of being California’s Governor.
- Sam Neill, Jurassic Park, 1992.
- Keanu Reeves, Speed, 1993. The studio wanted someone with more clout than Reeves as the hero of Bus 2525 - the one with a bomb aboard! Couldn’t have worked with Arnie. He would have simply picked up the damned bus and hurled it to safety. Also up for the surprise hero Jack Traven: Billy and Stephen Baldwin, Jeff Bridges, George Clooney, Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks (!), Michael Keaton and, of course, Bruce Willis - well, it was Die Hard On A Bus.
- Sylvester Stallone, Judge Dredd, 1994. Three years beforeStallone ruined the 2000 AD comic hero, Schwarzi was due to star for director Tim Hunter.Sly had never heard of the (UK) comic hero. And it showed in the way he mistreated the script. Director Danny Cannon vowed he’d never again work with a Big Name.
- Leo Rossi, Mutant Species, 1994. Director David A Prior had big ideas - Arnold Schwarzenegger as Lieutenant Hollinger opposite Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dee Wallace Stone, Bill Duke and Michael Ironside. The suits cut his cloth to match his his B-horror flick. However, Prior got his way about Powers Boothe… and the ex-Captain Marvel, Jackson Bostwick.
- Sylvester Stallone, Assassins, 1995. Wesley Snipes was set with director Joe Johnstone until helmer Richard Donner proved interested - if Arnold would join. He didn't. Sly did. And Donner stayed. Going to the action... like Sly... once more too often.
- Robin Williams, Jumanji, 1995. Two kids find a jungle board game with magic powers unleashing grotesque animalia and some poor sap trapped inside the game since playing it as a tot. Schwarzie, Dan Aykroyd, Sean Connery, Richard Dreyfuss, Rupert Everett, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Michael Keaton, Kevin Kline, Bill Paxton, Kurt Russell fled the incoherent script. Williams just gobbled it up. Jumanji, incidentally, is Zulu for “many effects.” And how.
- Val Kilmer, The Saint, 1996. Hard to believe but producer Robert Evans, needing to make money again, actually considered Arnie for Simon Templar… Roger Moore played Simon Templar for 118 tele-chapters, stayed with the company making Return of the Saint with Ian Ogilvy and was due for sainthood again as 80s and 90s plans had Moore set to produce a St Pierce Brosnan (!) or be the ageing hero, finding his illegitimate Saint son - nearly Ralph Fiennes for director Sydney Pollack. Final director was Philip Noyce and Moore was out - “first time I was paid not to act in a film” - and junior Saints were in. George Clooney, Kevin Costner, Johnny Depp, Mel Gibson, Hugh Grant. Plus a certain James Healey, the Irish-born Aussie who actually rejected Mad Max for its sparse dialogue (!) in 1978, leaving the superstar route clear for Gibson. And finally, horrendously, ego-trippingly, Kilmer. He later admitted to Moore: “We really screwed that up, didn’t we?”
- John Travolta, Face Off, 1997. Before it became director John Woo's best movie, it was seen as an Arnold project. "They had a hard time," laughed Woo, "trying to find someone close enough to his kind of measurements to be the baddy."
- Bruce Willis, Armageddon, 1997. Arnold was shortlisted for Harry Stamper - boss of a deep-core drilling squad sent by NASA to stop a Texas-sized astronaut hitting Earth where it hurts. Like, everywhere.
- Whoopi Goldberg, Burn Hollywood Burn, 1997. For the film within the film in his heavy-handed Hollywood"satire," scenarist Joe Eszterhas wanted a superstar trio: Arnie, Bruce. Sly. He wrote to Arnold: "Can we get together and discuss the course of history." Arnold was not amused. Whoopi was and told agent Arnold Rifkin: “If I'm not in this movie by the end of the day, you're fired." Of the big trio, only Stallone agreed (thinking the others had!) to what started as An Alan Smithee Film... and ended that way, too. For real!
- Kevin Sorbo, Kull The Conqueror, 1997. Or Conan the Conqueror, to his pals. When Arnold refused to reprise Conan, the character was suddenly Kull. For the TV Hercules. "With this axe, I rule!"
- Denzel Washington, Fallen, 1997. Nick Kazan script about a cop hunting a vicious serial killer who proves to be... Satan.
- Tommy Lee Jones, Small Soldiers, 1997. Fans thought it wild that director Joe Dante invited The Dirty Dozen to voice the very GI Joe Commando Elite force - Brick Bazooka, Nick Nitro, etc. Ernest Borgnine, Jim Brown, Clint Walker, George Kennedy and Dick Miller agreed. (Charles Bronson refused and Richard Jaeckel died during the production). Cheered or jeered, it was not Dante’s first plan. He’d wanted the 1986 Predator guys, led by Arnold as Chip Hazard and Carl Weathers as Butch Meathook. For publicity over impact as - Schwarzi and Walker apart - most voices of either squad were not instantly recognisable. Not like real stars.
- F Murray Abraham, Star Trek: Insurrection, 1998. The ninth Trek… Schwarzie was first offered the Son’a leader, Ahdar Ru’afo, until director (and co-star) Jonathan Frakes realised he needed an actor. “I was around when the series was first introduced to television,” recalled Abraham. “And it was a hoot.”
- Mark Wahlberg, Planet of the Apes, 2000. Directors changed over a dozen years: Michael Bay, James Cameron, Chris Columbus, Roland Emmerich, Albert and Allen Hughes, Peter Jackson, Philip Noyce, Sam Raimi, Adam Rifkin, Chuck Russell, Uncle Tom Cobleigh... Then, Oliver Stone wanted Terry Hayes to write a re-boot for Arnie: Return of the Apes. Finally, Tim Burton tragically miscast Wahlberg in a wholly moronic mess.
- Matthew McConaughey, Reign of Fire, 2001. Who better for Van Dan, the dragon slayer - even if he’s bald. Arnold was involvedfor some years. But then he must have realised, as Roger Ebert did inthe Chicago Sun-Times: “What a vast enterprise has been marshalled in the service of such a minute idea -mankind's battle with fire-breathing dragons in the year 2020.”
- Tom Cruise, Minority Report, 2001. “Envisioned as a sequel to Total Recall, with a script by the same movie writer,” said Arnie in his 2012 autobiography… which managed some text among the ego-trip total of 346Schwarzi photos!!
- Samuel L Jackson, SWAT, 2002. As directors changed again, this time from Michael Bay to John Woo, Michael Mann to Tony Scott, etc,Arnie was once in the mix as the LAPD’s Special Weapons and Tactics team leader, SergeantHondo Harrelson.Impossible. Artnie wassiuddenly running for Governor of California. The Republican Austrian was elected on October 7, 2003 (again in 2006.), second non-American to win and second actor (after Reagan). First movies since were cameos in Around The World In 80 Days, 2004, and The Kid & I, 2005, with his True Liesco-star Tom Arnold… Until the real comeback in The Last Stand, 2012, an instant flop.
- Alfred Molina, Spider-Man 2, 2004.
- Will Ferrell, Curious George, 2006. Arnold was (curiously) first choice when the project was to be live action in 1993. Ferrell voiced The Man in the Yellow Hat in the toon version, something The Governator could have recorded without leaving his Sacremento office.
- Will Smith, I Am Legend, 2007. During the 30-yearhistory of Warners and the Richard Matheson sf novel (two films - one Italian - ten directors), potentials for the last man on earth also included Nicolas Cage, Tom Cruise, Daniel Day-Lewis, Michael Douglas, Kurt Russell, Ted Levine... And Ridley Scott was happywith Arnie. In 1976.The budget was not. Ridley required a $100m, Warner wanted $80m. “That was the reason the studio gave for pulling back, anyway,” said Arnold. “The real reason was my heart surgery.” Various other projects evaporated around the same time - With Wings As Eagles. Noble Father, Crossbow, Pathfinder, I Am Legend, even Terminator 3 - as the phones stopped ringing whenhis surgery was revealed.
- Til Schweiger, Inglourious Basterds, 2008. Quentin Tarantino had the title since 1998 - the US title but not the story of Enzo G Casterllari’s 1978 spaghetti war saga, Quel maledetto trena blindato.The first casting (Michael Madsen, Eddie Murphy, Tim Roth, Adam Sandler) was sideswiped by first making Kill Bills, 2003/4. Next, QT (aka Cute) failed to achieve his dream of having Arnie, Bruce and Sly in the same movie.
- Billy Crudup, Watchmen, 2008. Producer Joel Silver’s ideas - Arnold or Dolph Lundregen as the all blue Dr Manhattan - hardly delighted director Terry Gilliam. Not at all. In 1989-1990, he considered the only answer was a five-hour mini-series. Dolph Lundgren and Keanu Reeves were in the blue loop, while Arnold was plotting his return… As he put it: “Some people say Arnold was gone from acting for eight years. Others say he was never in acting in the first place!”
- Bruce Willis, The Expendables, 2009. For his vast testosterone actioner, Sylvester Stallone wanted Arnie aboard - as the McGuffin man, the guy with the laundry list, setting out the mission for Sly’s mercenaries. Schwarzi could not spare that amount of time - and simply joined Sly and Willis is a memorable one-time only screen meeting. As he left the scene, Willis asked Sly: “What’s his fuckin’ problem?” - “He wants to be president.”
- Dwayne Johnson, Tooth Fairy, 2009. As far back as 1992, this was a Schwarzi vehicle - as a tough hockey player sentenced to one week as the titular fairy. Oh, don’t ask… Just enjoy the one good line (Arnie would have blown it: “You can’t handle the tooth!”
- Ed Harris, Westworld, TV, 2015. Back in 2004. California’s new Governor had no time for movies. Not even the Michael Crichton futuristic thriller he first saw in 1973 “and wanted to remake it for several years.” Sylvester Stallone took over the re-tread. Still nothing happened… The (second) TV series took off in 2016 (the first was cancelled) with Harris as the iconic, robotic gunslinger in a theme park. (Yeah, you’re right… Crichton also wrote Jurassic Park!)