LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two months after putting his Hollywood return on hold following a damaging sex scandal, Arnold Schwarzenegger is ready to get back into the saddle.
The former action star turned politician is scheduled to start shooting the Western movie "The Last Stand" in September, a film industry source said on Monday, despite being embroiled in what could be a messy divorce from his wife, Maria Shriver.
"It's an old-fashioned Western specifically designed for a 63 year-old broken-down guy with a moral decision...We always needed an iconic figure for it," an unnamed movie executive told industry website Deadline Hollywood on Monday. Deadline Hollywood first reported the story, and Schwarzenegger's participation was also confirmed by Entertainment Weekly magazine.
Representatives for the former "Terminator" star, 63, declined comment on the reports, as did a spokesman for the Lionsgate film studio that is behind the movie.
But an industry source who asked to remain anonymous confirmed to Reuters that the movie was going ahead as planned with Schwarzenegger in the lead role.
Schwarzenegger said in May that he was halting discussions for a new "Terminator" movie and all other Hollywood projects in order to focus on personal matters following an admission that he fathered a secret child 13 years ago with his family's housekeeper.
The former California governor's wife last week filed for a divorce to end their 25 year-old marriage, citing irreconcilable differences. The couple have four children together.
Schwarzenegger was ridiculed in the media after revealing he had a child out of wedlock that he had kept secret from his family until now.
A Lionsgate executive told Deadline Hollywood that Schwarzenegger was "still a big piece of news".
"The Last Stand", to be directed by South Korea's Jee-woon Kim is expected to be released some time in 2012.
Before the housekeeper scandal broke in May, Schwarzenegger was also working on a movie called "Cry Macho" and had announced plans to voice a superhero with a double life in an animated TV comic book style series called "The Governator."
Production on "The Governator" was halted and "Cry Macho" has been put on hold for the time being.
Schwarzenegger was California governor for seven years until his second term ended in January. He was last seen on screen in a cameo role in the 2010 action movie "The Expendables."
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte