PARIS (Reuters Life!) - To hear Arnold Schwarzenegger explain the unlikely course of his life as an actor and politician, success boils down to two factors: living in the United States and being a man of the people.
The Austrian-born Schwarzenegger, who came to the United States at the age of 21, started his career as a professional bodybuilder before graduating to Hollywood and starring in blockbusters like "Terminator 2" and "True Lies."
After winning an election to the governorship of California and serving a seven-year term -- where he earned the nickname "The Gubernator" -- he is back on the entertainment circuit promoting an animated series of the same name about the adventures of a comic book alter ego.
Always a showman, he had promised to return to show business, but had kept his next move under wraps.
"That's what I wanted to do: surprise people and entertain the world," he told Reuters television in an interview.
"Am I going to be an action guy in front of the camera and creating all kinds of action? Or is it going to be something else? No-one knew ... This is going to be a big surprise."
Even so, the transition from politics back to entertainment would not be difficult for Schwarzenegger, who said the two worlds were close cousins, based on a sense of people.
"In both cases you have to form a very good partnership with the people," he said. "In politics you are working for the people... The same is true for entertainment... You've got to be in touch with what it is your audience wants."
Asked how he had achieved so much, Schwarzenegger gave all the credit to his adoptive country. "I call it an American success story because I don't think that anywhere in the world would I have been able to do what I did in my life if it wouldn't have been for America."
Reporting by Lucien Libert; Writing by Nick Vinocur, editing by Paul Casciato