Arnold's Back: What Should His First Movie Be?

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After a tumultuous California governorship, Arnold Schwarzenegger is returning to show business. And why not? Those last years spent presiding over a perilous budget deficit, gridlocked legislature and flagging poll numbers must have taken a toll on the former weight-lifter turned Terminator. But it's been over seven years since Schwarzenegger headlined his own film (cameos don't count). If he's serious about getting his acting career on track he needs to pick the right first role to curry audience favor.

To do that, maybe he should eschew the inevitable Terminator 5 or Expendables sequel and broaden his range. Would you buy Schwarzenegger in an indie drama? How about as a voice actor in a Pixar title? In an Apatow film? We envisioned how a few of these imaginary roles would pan out:

As an Embattled Politician in a Weinstein-Produced, Oscar Contending Drama:

Deciding to chase that elusive Oscar, Schwarzenegger could accept a role as an earnest Senator who tries to root out corruption in Washington only to become ensnared by special interests. The film would be tonally similar to Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, but without Jimmy Stewart or a rousing ending. In the last scene, Schwarzenegger would be seen gathering his things, dramatically throwing open his office door and switching off the lights as he leaves Congress for the final time. It would look exactly like this. The film would be only a mild commercial success, with Arnold lucky to avoid a Razzie nomination.

As a CGI Hummer in Pixar's Cars 3:

Pixar's Cars and Cars II were decent, but what they needed was Arnold Schwarzenegger as a hulking, yellow sport utility vehicle to balance out the Owen Wilson humor. In this scenario, Disney would green-light Schwarzenegger the Hummer as a disruptive villain careening through the Pixar universe while shouting self-referential lines that hearkened back to his Terminator days. Upon release, Cars 3 would be given the Shrek 4 cold-shoulder by critics. But after toy sales of the yellow Schwarzenegger vehicle skyrocketed, the studio would decide to green-light Cars 4 and 5 anyway.

As Warner Bros. Replacement Superman:

The studio has already cast Henry Cavill in the superhero reboot, but in this version of events once they learned Arnold was interested they'd scuttle those plans and give him the part. Why? Director Zach Snyder promised a more "physical" veteran Superman after the disappointing Bryan Singer version, and Arnold would fit the bill. Even though everyone would hate the Arnold Superman suit and lampoon the teaser trailer, critics would be surprised that they sort of liked the movie. To the chagrin of die hard comic book fans, it would be a hit with a sequel in the works.

As One of the Bros in Apatow's Pineapple Express Sequel:

A shaggy-haired Arnold would immediately bond on the set with Seth Rogen, James Franco and Jonah Hill in the breezy, R-rated comedy. The plot would follow Rogen and Franco's characters as they embarked on cross-country Harold and Kumar-esque road trip. In Nebraska, of all places, they would run into a mysterious drifter (Schwarzenegger) who tags along. Critics might yawn at the Apatow-formula but still enjoy Arnold's character, likening it to Tom Cruise's inexplicable turn in Tropic Thunder.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.