This week on In Depth With Graham Bensinger, the Emmy-winning journalist presents a blockbuster exclusive with the incomparable Arnold Schwarzenegger. Candid highlights from the former California Governor’s anticipated interview include the following.
· Maria Shriver freaking out over Schwarzenegger’s decision to run for Governor of California
· Former White House Chief of Staff, Karl Rove, trying to bully Schwarzenegger into not running for governor and introducing Condoleezza Rice as the candidate to beat
· Arnold’s conversation with Donald Trump after taking his job on The Celebrity Apprentice
· Stealing O.J. Simpson’s role as The Terminator
· President Nixon’s political inspiration and endorsement
· The impact of his dad’s constant criticism and abuse
The full interview airs this weekend on network affiliates across the country. It was taped over two days with Schwarzenegger in Hong Kong and includes a look at the first ever Arnold Classic bodybuilding competition and expo in Asia. An episode preview can be found here.
Schwarzenegger begins by recounting the candid conversations he and wife Maria Shriver had while contemplating a run for Governor:
Schwarzenegger: “I said to her, ‘What do you think about the idea of me running for Governor?’… I said, ‘Look there is such chaos in California… The politicians are such idiots’… And she just freaked out. And then I said, ‘Look, I don’t want to cause a scene or anything like this. If it’s so upsetting I will just forget about the whole idea’…”
“Maria then changed her mind and she thought she shouldn’t be in my way and I remember that morning before I went to The Tonight Show she left a message and says, ‘If you want to run, it’s okay. I understand. Here is what you should say if you want to run. And here is what you should say if you don’t want to run’… On The Tonight Show I announced and so of course her friends that worked at NBC over there called her immediately – a second later she knew – and by the time I came home she was like freaking out. So I said to myself, this is beyond me – beyond my comprehension because I now for the first time did not understand life.”
Schwarzenegger reveals a meeting he had with Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump shortly after accepting the role to host season eight of The Celebrity Apprentice, and Trump telling NBC who to pick:
Schwarzenegger: “Then I called Donald Trump and I said to him, I said, ‘I just want you to know that I would like to take the position that you had. You did such a great job. I don’t know if I can fill your shoes… And he said, ‘Arnold I think that is such a great idea. That’s fantastic. You’re the right guy. I know all of the other characters that want to get it. I told NBC don’t take them – Schwarzenegger’s the guy.”
Schwarzenegger then shares details of an opportune lunch meeting he had with director James Cameron to discuss the role of the hero in Terminator, and how Arnold’s passion for the villain bumped O.J. Simpson out of a job.
Schwarzenegger: “When I got involved… O.J. SImpson was the Terminator and I was supposed to play Reese, and then I was asked to have lunch with James Cameron… because Jim needs to sign off for you to play Reece and to play the hero… for some reason I started talking more and more about the Terminator…”
“By the end of the lunch he says, ‘First of all I totally agree with everything you say but… I have to say one thing… there is no one that would understand the Terminator better than you… Therefore I think we are all in agreement that you should play the Terminator.’ I said, ‘Jim, excuse me. I say I don’t want to regress in my career, because this guy only says 27 lines.'”
Schwarzenegger then reflected upon the positive and negative impact of growing up with a critical and abusive father:
Bensinger: “You made a point to comment about your dad in your book – you said, ‘Every time he hit me, every time he said my weight training was garbage – that I should do something useful and go out and chop wood – every time he disapproved of me or embarrassed me, it put fuel on the fire of my belly.'”
Schwarzenegger: “…So the more you kind of create resistance… the stronger the person gets, and the stronger your character gets… He was always kind of a tough guy, a military guy… He meant so well and he meant to push me and to make me better in athletics and to make me better in school and to make me better as a person and to always talk about being useful, and don’t waste your time just looking at yourself in the mirror… So he meant well, but the way it came out – the immediate effect was quite different.”
To watch the full Arnold Schwarzenegger interview, check your local listings for In Depth With Graham Bensinger airtimes.
[Featured Image by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP Images]