From The Rock to Vin Diesel, none of our modern-day musclemen have quite pulled off the Schwarzenegger binary. As big as Arnold was, he was practically asexual, a cop wholesome enough to teach kindergartners if he had to (Dwayne Johnson as a hockey-playing tooth-fairy is a distant second). Which is why we so love the nostalgic glory of The Schwarzenegger Trilogy, a 1,600-frame animated film made on commission by L.A.-based animators Harry McGowan and Jimmy Thompson for the Standard Hotel's short film festival, (and which Arnold is watching right now).
Drawn entirely in highlighter and black pen, the Trilogy's part one (aptly titled "5 4 3 2") tackles Arnold's explosions, part two, "Galleria," recreates the "Terminator" scene when John Connor meets the Terminator and part three, "come on...get down," re-cuts famous Arnold lines into a pseudo-rap. There's none of the philanderer here, or the lousy governor. This is Arnold in his prime -- half-robot, half-man, all movie star.
We recently spoke with animator Jimmy Thompson about how the Trilogy came to be. (As a note: At the time of the interview, Arnold hadn't actually seen the Trilogy, as reflected in one of McGowan's answers...but then came Arnold's tweet! Success.) Read on to find out why Arnold is both an illustrator's dream and a modern-day Shakespeare.
So are you guys enormous Schwarzenegger fans or what?
Actually, not at all! When the Standard Hotel approached us they pretty much gave us the freedom to do anything we wanted. We were coming off a big project and just looking to do something that we would really enjoy, something by hand, and we both have a background in animation. So it was just a matter of picking the subject. Arnold was in the news over the summer more than he usually is, and he was kind of on our minds.
Because of the affair.
Right. And then we came across this YouTube video where someone had accumulated all of Arnold's one-liners -- there was one video of 160 quotes and one of 130 quotes, As we watched them, we realized that every single one of them was recognizable. He was so constantly on the periphery when we were teenagers. It's amazing how many of his lines we'd just absorbed.
Like a modern Shakespeare!
Exactly! Plus visually, you know, from an illustrator's standpoint, he's so interesting already, with his craggy features and his physique.
Totally. He's got a fantastic face. That's part of what we love about the video -- the animation you used to bring him to life is so striking, and feels so right specifically for Arnold. How did you hit on highlighter?
We just thought highlighter kind of summed him and his celebrity up -- neon, bold, hyper-nineties -- it's a little bit of a love-letter.
Any idea if Arnold's seen it? Ha! No, but that would be great.
His reps recently announced he'd be making a return to the screen. What do you think the future holds?
Yeah, yeah. We heard that. It's Arnold, so... probably more single lines.
WATCH "The Schwarzenegger Trilogy":
Animation assistance by Leslie Lee, Samir Evol Arghandwall; "5,4,3,2…" edited by Aaron Morris; 'Come on... get down' arranged by Harry McGowan; special thanks to Jason Underhill, Tim Koch, Arnie