[UPDATE: Schwarzenegger has announced that he's putting all of his upcoming film projects on hold.]
After serving as the Governor of California for eight years, Arnold Schwarzenegger announced in February that he intended to return to acting. Since then, he's been linked to a multitude of potential projects - including remakes of past hits like Predator and The Running Man.
Schwarzenegger ultimately decided to resurrect another one of his iconic characters instead. Earlier this week, it was confirmed that he was officially attached to the fifth installment in the Terminator franchise. The film is in the midst of securing a deal for financing and distribution, but Skynet's latest assault on the human race will evidently have to wait just a little bit longer.
Vulture has learned that Schwarzenegger's first post-gubernatorial film will be Cry Macho - an adaptation of N. Richard Nash's novel about an aging horse trainer tasked with bringing a young boy back to his estranged father. It's a marked departure from other projects that the actor is said to be circling - which included roles in more action-oriented fare like Ji-Woon Kim’s The Last Stand and Antoine Fuqua’s The Tomb.
Nash was a renowned Broadway playwright who completed a screenplay for Cry Macho before he passed away in 2000. Albert S. Ruddy, the Oscar-winning producer of films like The Godfather and Million Dollar Baby, had Schwarzenegger attached to the script a decade ago before he embarked on his political career. At one point, Clint Eastwood was interested in taking over the lead role, but that never materialized.
Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer) will direct and production is expected to begin this summer once financing is secured at the Cannes Film Festival. It sounds like Cry Macho could be a unique film that provides Schwarzenegger with an opportunity to flex his acting chops rather than his muscles:
He will play a damaged-goods horse trainer who’s just been ignominiously put out to pasture by his feckless boss. In exchange for some retirement money, the broken — and broke — horseman agrees to kidnap the boss’s 11-year-old son from his rich Mexican ex-wife. Things take an unexpected turn, however, when the ex-wife is all too glad to be rid of her juvenile delinquent.
What I find particularly interesting about Cry Macho is that Schwarzenegger was already planning on using this film to reinvent himself before he ran for office. It seems likely that he wanted to acknowledge the fact that he was getting older and prepare for a career beyond action films. Ten years later, that strategy seems even more imperative.
I have nothing against Schwarzenegger returning to the style of films that made him famous (I really enjoyed Stallone's recent Rocky and Rambo sequels and thought the premise of The Expendables was intriguing), but I still feel that the idea of a 63-year-old Terminator is seriously pushing it. Cry Macho seems like a more age-appropriate role and I like the idea of Schwarzenegger trying something different.
Then again - this is a film he could still do a few years from now, where as the clock is ticking regarding how much longer he'll realistically be able to headline an action flick. I imagine some of his fans will be disappointed that Schwarzenegger's return to acting doesn't involve him kicking ass and taking names, but I'll be happy just to see him back on the big screen at all.