How difficult was it playing Adam Gibson and his clone?
"It was terrific to do a scene which was very complicated - the scene where both of us were on the screen. With the visual effects and the things that we can do make it very believable for the audience when they see two Arnolds or two Adam Gibsons on the screen. It's very difficult from an acting point of view because you do a movie like that in front of and behind a green screen, and you have then an eye-line where you should look and communicate, and you basically do the entire scene by yourself. So you have to kind of imagine what response will come back from the other side, from the clone. You also have to bring in the subtle differences between the real Adam Gibson, who is confident he knows he's the real person, and the other one, who feels 100% the clone and is always unsure - does he have a soul? Is he a different character? Where does he come from? Does he belong in this world? So there are subtle differences in acting for each side, and I think that Roger Spottiswoode (director) was really responsible for making the scene the way it ended up because he guided me through those moments. It was very difficult to think about all of these different elements, and he directed me through and it was very helpful."
How much more pressure is there on you as the star?
"When you do a movie with someone like Mike Medavoy, who has been in the motion picture business I think ever since he was four - 300 movies, at various different studios in his life including a lot of my films, from Total Recall (1990), Red Heat (1988), Terminator, The (1984) - he was directly responsible for the success because of its marketing. It was easy for me to work with him and produce together with him. It was a great pleasure. I really felt I had someone who really cared for the film, the production and the storyline, but it was also at the same time very challenging, to be responsible for the two characters - Adam Gibson and the clone, and on the same screen. The pressure is always on with every movie that you do. You want to make sure that you have a movie that gives you the subject of cloning, make it an issue but not dwell on it too much, because we didn't want to make a serious movie about cloning, so people will be interested in touching the subject and the drama when you come home and see yourself. You have to make the movie entertaining, you have to bring humour into the movie, you have to bring action into the movie, a good storyline, so that's really the challenge. We had such a great time to work together on this and it was a great pleasure creating this project."
I heard there was a demand from the clone on getting extra money!
"As one character in the movie you get one salary, which isn't really good enough! So I went back to the negotiating table and you say 'what about two salaries?' And Mike Medavoy said 'Arnold, you're the producer, why don't you go and sit down with yourself!?'"
The characters you've played have suffered a lot at the hands of scientists. In real life, what's your relationship with technology and sciences? Are you comfortable with it?
"I love what science brings. I love the development of it. I'm not worried about it or scared as some people are. I think cloning, used in the right hands, could be fantastic. Used in the wrong hands, like we show in the movie, the whole thing could be terrible. At the same time, I like the simple life. There's a little bit of Adam Gibson in me. I like the simple stuff where I make my own notes, write things down, work out the mathematic problems in my own head."
So have you ever had that awful moment when you've had to come home and tell your child that your pet has died?
"Yes. The kids came home one day and the horse died for no reason. So of course, you had this huge crying scene. I still have the ashes of the horse in my garage to this day."
"I ran over one of my dogs. Whenever I turn the engine on the dogs usually run away from the car, but on one particular day one dog decided to sleep under the wheel. I moved back and there was the dog, dead. If only there was a RePet, I would have been there in two seconds. There are moments when you think it would be great to have a cloning place where you can go quickly and in three hours have a clone, things like that happen quite often in our family."
I heard you had an interesting visit from some people that came to see you in Boston.
"Three scientists came to visit me in my office and looked for investment in their company. They opened up the laptop and started showing all the things they were doing. They were actually cloning all of these animals, and showed what would happen in the near future, if they actually got into the business of cloning pets. They were looking for a name and I said 'do you guys know that I'm doing a movie about cloning? We have a company called 'RePet'". They said "'RePet'. What a great name!' They were looking for investment because they were getting into cloning pets, cloning animals for zoos, animals that are dying out. I don't think our film is 30 years in the future, maybe 10-15 years at the most."
You have often shown an interest in moving into politics. With your forthcoming movies like Terminator 3 (2002), when are you going to find the time for other work?
"The clone would be a good idea! Whenever there's a political year like this, you see the politicians and you get inspired by it. You find politicians giving lip-service, going to the inner cities taking photographs, then they all disappear and never do anything for these people. They all go out and talk about education reform and eight years later, our education is more disastrous than ever. You see these moments when you read the statistics, the politicians and lawyers, and you think it shouldn't be like that. It needs to be a noble profession. That's when I get inspired and think if I get sick and tired of acting, that's one thing I would be very much interested in."
There's been a couple of years since you underwent surgery and yet you're still taking risks in your movies. Do you not think about these risks?
"Since the heart surgery, I have had much more energy than I ever had before. It was a problem I had from birth so I never knew that I was lacking some energy. I remember asking the surgeon what's going to be the difference after the heart surgery. The surgeon said I was going to have a 1/5 more energy and I said 'oh my God, I can't take it any longer'."
"I'm a physical person, I like to do physical things. It can be dangerous and you can get hurt or killed, but of all the things insurance companies say you shouldn't do, you do anyway, so why not do the stunts? People really like to see you doing those things and it makes it more believable, so I will continue to do it until the time comes when my whole body is busted up and everything hurts."
What's your opinion on the issue of film violence and the effect on society?
"I never felt that violence in movies creates violence in society. We all have to work together in the way we market the movie. In the United States, some movies that were R-rated were marketed to 10 year-old kids and I think that's very wrong. Or for instance, you have the opportunity to see several movie posters that are created. There's one specific poster that you see now, and we said 'why don't we use another poster' because it doesn't have a gun in a hand. I don't think our movie is the subject that deals with shooting and guns. It's not like Terminator, The (1984) so why not use a more interesting poster not a gun, just to create more ticket sales. We all have to be responsible in one way or another, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't do any more action movies or violent movies."
What is your long term strategy for ensuring that you stay in the forefront of movie making?
"The strategy has never changed. From day one, it was always 'let's find the best scripts'. Scripts that I like, scripts that I think have a good story, has some good action, is entertaining. Would the people go and see the movie? Would the people be interested in it? I always say that it's more important that the people are more interested in the story than myself. There's a lot of actors who are in the movies just because it's a Academy Award type of part. I'm not in that business. I'm in showbusiness - which is to do the show, and make business. That's what I'm in."