Arnold Schwarzenegger discusses his subdued performance in zombie film “Maggie”

By Carter Glace

Via Polygon

The phrases “Arnold Schwarzenegger,” “Zombies” and “Movies” should create certain images in most filmgoers’ minds. One could easily see 100 minutes of explosions, chain guns and bad puns. But “Maggie,” the upcoming zombie film staring the ex-governor, is something different. It’s quiet, mellow, and focuses on questions instead of action.

That was the prevailing question that surrounded the 30-minute “Maggie” press conference with Schwarzenegger and director Henry Hobson: how Schwarzenegger could go from the world of big budget action films to the low-budget realm of independent horror-drama, but Schwarzenegger didn’t seem to think it was that odd a transition. “The first Terminator was a low budget film, we only had $60 million,” he said. Regardless, he didn’t shy away from the fact that this is a radical new direction for his long career. “This is the most human story I have ever been in, and the most human zombie movie. This is the first time my character can’t over come a challenge,” Schwarzenegger said.

“Maggie,” centering around a farmer who finds his daughter slowly turning after being bit by a zombie, came off the Black List, the annual list of most popular un-produced screenplays.

“We really wanted to stick with what the community liked about the screenplay,” Hobson said, “We didn’t change anything when we cast Arnold.”

Despite his lack of experience, Arnold swore by this new director. “For me, it’s not about how many films you have, but whether you have a vision, and when he [Henry] was talking to me about the film, he had a very clear, unique vision,” said Schwarzenegger.

His co-star Joely Richardson reiterated: “Many have a vision, but few know how to follow through on it. [Hobson] had the balls to step in and tell them how he wanted for a scene.”

While he wouldn’t comment too far on whether or not he would be primarily focusing on independent films now—“I go with scripts that excite me”—Arnold did seem a bit rejuvenated by the challenges and positives lower stakes filmmaking presented, both for his performances and the environment on set. “It’s surprising that brain work takes much more than body work, but it [brain work] is even more rewarding.”

Moreover, he was highly positive of the freedom a union less set provided. “There was a great amount of spirit. If there was great lighting in the middle of the field, no one would say, ‘I need to get someone to move the camera.’ They’d run it out themselves.”
When asked about what drew him to this role specifically, Schwarzenegger said, “I thought it was a role I could do because I am a father. I would just walk around the hospital [a set in the film] and get the horrible things that had occurred. I really believed that my daughter was dying.” Only time will tell if this sudden acting turn by Schwarzenegger will last, but definitely don’t miss the chance to see if it works out this time.

Carter Glace is a staff writer. Email him at film@nyunews.com.

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