After taking a nearly decade-long break from cinema, Arnold Schwarzenegger is making a comeback to the local silver screen in an action flick directed by Korean director Kim Jee-woon.
“You always as an actor try to choose a project that you think could be popular not only in America but in all over the world,” said the famed Austrian-American actor during a press conference promoting his film “The Last Stand” in Seoul on Wednesday.
“You want a story that is understood by everybody. I think ‘The Last Stand’ had that. I thought it had the best script. It was a really great story of the return of an action hero.”
|Director Kim Jee-woon (right) and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger pose for a photo during a press conference promoting their film “Last Stand” at Conrad Seoul in Seoul, Wednesday. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)|
The action hero flick is director Kim’s Hollywood debut; the filmmaker shared his frustration over Hollywood’s filmmaking system during a press meeting in Seoul earlier this month. Schwarzenegger, however, seemed to be only pleased with his experience working with the director who does not speak the same language he does.
“When it comes to communicating, I had no problem whatsoever,” said Schwarzenegger. “First of all, we had translators there. They were really terrific. But second of all, most of the time, I didn’t really need translations because director Kim Jee-woon has a very passionate way of explaining things, actually acting out the scenes.
“Many times he got himself into trouble, when he tried to do stunts for you and explain to you how he wants you to fall down the stairs. He is a very active, passionate director so it’s easy for me to understand exactly what he wants.”
In the movie, Schwarzenegger plays an aging sheriff working in his small, sleepy hometown who chases a notorious kingpin who escaped from an FBI prisoner convoy. He used to be a top hero in Los Angeles, being a former member of the U.S. SWAT team. He left the job after getting wounded a number of times, losing much of his energy and physical strength. In the film, he is an aging man fighting his last battle to save his hometown, rather than the perfect action hero.
“I think the experience I had as the governor of California and the kind of things I’ve seen and witnessed all contributed in making me a better performer,” the actor said.
“But in the end, it’s always the director who is responsible for (an actor’s performance). I think the director is the one who can really pull out the things (from an actor) that no one has even been able to pour out. Whatever you’ve seen in this movie ‘The Last Stand’ ― the acting of vulnerability and everything else ― I think this director here, Kim Jee-woon, had a lot to do with that.”
Aside from Kim, two other famed Korean directors ― Park Chan-wook and Bong Joon-ho ― are also making their Hollywood debuts this year.
“Hollywood always looks for new directors, new talents, new visions, new styles of filming and so on,” Schwarzenegger said. “There are other directors from this that have been discovered. And I think that’s terrific because the movie industry is a global industry.”
This is Schwarzenegger’s second official visit to Seoul; he was here as the governor of California in 2010. “The Last Stand” opens in theaters on Feb. 21.
By Claire Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org