Schwarzenegger takes a "Stand" in new film, with cue from Eastwood

Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:05am EST
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Arnold Schwarzenegger, taking inspiration from his idol, Clint Eastwood, returns to the big screen on Friday in the action film "The Last Stand," his first starring role since he took a seven-year break from moviemaking to serve as California governor.

In a departure from his typical superhuman roles, Schwarzenegger plays a retired Los Angeles policeman forced to protect a tiny border town from a notorious drug kingpin. The 65-year-old former bodybuilder looks every bit his age and admits in the film feeling "old" as he takes a ribbing from some of his significantly younger deputies.

As he embarks on a movie comeback in which he will star in three films over the next 12 months, Schwarzenegger is embracing his age rather than trying to relive his glory days as an action star.

He is taking his cue from the 82-year-old Eastwood - the gun-toting former macho "Dirty Harry" star who eased into more senior roles, winning plaudits for movies like last year's "The Trouble with the Curve," and "Million Dollar Baby" in 2004, for which he was nominated for a best-actor Oscar and won for best director.

Schwarzenegger said he was inspired by Eastwood in the 1993 film "In the Line of Fire," where Eastwood's character, a Secret Service agent, is short of breath after running alongside the president's limousine.

"I thought that was so cool," Schwarzenegger told Reuters TV recently. "I remember how smart it was to acknowledge that because it took the curse off. No one was trying to say, 'Isn't he too old for this job?' That's what I tried to do in this film since (Eastwood) is a big idol of mine and I always like to learn from him."

Schwarzenegger said he felt great physically, but that reality had set in. "I'm not a 30-year-old action hero anymore," he said. "I'm now 65 years old, but I'm still doing action movies. I acknowledge that it's a different ballgame now. I'm an older guy."

In "Last Stand," Schwarzenegger said he agreed to play the part of Sheriff Ray Owens because "it was kind of a traditional Schwarzenegger action movie" with "big blow-ups, a great story, good drama, fight scenes and action from the beginning to the end."   Continued...

Cast member Arnold Schwarzenegger attends the premiere of the film "The Last Stand" in Los Angeles, California January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Phil McCarten