Schwarzenegger offered his take on the Hollywood union strikes and talked about one of his most quoted movie lines while promoting his new book “Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life” during Kimmel’s first episode since the end of the Writers Guild of America strike last month.
Schwarzenegger, who was the governor of California during the 2007-08 writers strike, told Kimmel he wished he could have locked studio execs and union representatives into a room together, like his father did when he squabbled with his siblings as a child.
“Imagine now, the studio executives can’t go to Spago,” he said, referring to the Beverly Hills celebrity haunt owned by Wolfgang Puck. “There’s an urgency there that you can guarantee in a few days the strike will be settled.”
Despite his drastic negotiating plan, the actor said he learned his lesson about butting in on screenplays while making 1984’s “The Terminator” with director James Cameron.
When Schwarzenegger tried to get Cameron to rephrase the 1984 film’s iconic “I’ll be back” line, he was quickly put in his place.
“With ‘I’ll be back,’ I remember as a matter of fact, we had at the beginning a dispute, the director and I, because I didn’t feel comfortable with this ‘I’ll — I’ll be back, I’ll,’ this ‘L-L’ type of thing,” the Austrian actor recalled. “So I said to him, I said, ‘Why don’t I just, since I already talk like a machine, I might as well just say, “I will be back.”’”
Cameron put his foot down though.
“He says, ‘No, no doesn’t sound as good.’ I said, ‘Well, it sounds better to me. Let’s just forget about the ‘I’ll be back’ and let’s just do ‘I will be back.’ And he says, ‘Arnold, are you the fucking writer here? What is going on here?’”
It was only after the movie hit theaters that Schwarzenegger realized the impact of that little phrase.
“The movie came out, and I remember walking in Central Park, and someone came up to me and said, ‘Can you repeat this line that you said in “Terminator”?’ I said, ‘Which line?’ He said, ‘I’ll be back,’” Schwarzenegger told Kimmel.
Schwarzenegger said the fan wasn’t satisfied by his casual first try, telling the star, “No, no, no, the way you say it in the movies. The way you said in the movie is just perfect.”
The former Mr. Universe then finished his anecdote by delivering the line with oomph, prompting the “Kimmel” studio audience to erupt into cheers.
Schwarzenegger previously spoke about his dialogue spat with Cameron during a May interview with The Hollywood Reporter, where he said he thought it sounded “stupid” while shooting.