One thing that strikes us in our Sabotage exclusive trailer is star Arnold Schwarzenegger’s hairstyle for his latest action flick. “I cannot take credit for my haircut, and I refuse to take credit for my haircut. I just want to make this very clear,” Schwarzenegger said to Movie Fanatic recently.
“It was pitiful. I wore a hat the whole time I was getting off the set because people always asked me, 'Geez, you look weird!' But it was David’s (Ayer, director) way of authenticity."
Speaking of realism, even though he’s done dozens of action films (check out our 15 favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger quotes!), the superstar still trained hard and shadowed pros to truly capture what it would be like to lead an elite DEA crew who brings down the world’s worst drug cartels, like they do in Sabotage.
“David was the one that was the fanatic about bringing authentic realism to the screen. So he made us for months go down to see the L.A. SWAT team and hang out with them. 'I want you to think like them, I want you to look like them, I want you to train and work like them,'” Schwarzenegger recalled his director saying.
Besides the storyline of Schwarzenegger’s DEA team leader having his family kidnapped by the cartel, $10 million going missing from a huge drug bust and each of his team being picked off one by one as the movie progresses, the action hero adored the challenge of getting inside the head of a character that wasn’t simply two-dimensional.
"From an acting point of view, it was the most challenging because I’ve never played a character like this. My characters are usually black and white -- I’m the good guy and there are the bad guys, then with a little bit of humor throughout the movie and that’s it,” he said.
“I knew David Ayer’s script and his writing (Training Day quotes) and his directing (watch End of Watch online). I thought that it would really be great for me to be challenged like that. When we got together, David had a whole list of things that he wanted me to do. I love that he pushed me because sometimes directors get intimidated when they meet someone like me."
Schwarzenegger admitted that is not what usually happens.
“They say, 'You know, I’m looking forward to working with you. Let’s just figure out how we’re going to get ready for the movie.' David came in and was very clear with a set of things that needed to be done. There was weapons training. I said, 'Why do I need weapons training? I mean, I’ve shot more guns than anyone in movie history. I’ve killed more people than anyone, so why do we need to go through weapons training?' He said, 'Go down to the L.A. SWAT team and you have to figure this out. I want you to learn the ballet of this team.' And I said, 'Ballet? Oh, here we go again,'” Schwarzenegger said and laughed.
“David wanted me to hang out with those guys, learn how they think. Why are they the kind of guys that they are? They’re willing to risk their own lives to save others. What kind of a mentality does it take? It’s a very complex world. I wanted to get into that, so all of this was just really great advice.”
It was a cinematic rebirth for the action hero, and he clearly appreciates Ayer for putting him through the wringer. “As David says, when you get to the set, today it’s not any more like in the 1980s and 1990s where a studio throws $100 million at you and you do a great action movie. That was the old days. Now you have half of the money and you have to be very frugal and you have to really rehearse and be prepared,” Schwarzenegger recalled.
“So to have all of this stuff be second nature I think is very important and to understand the character really well I think is very important. I’ll tell you, what we’ve learned, they don’t hold a gun the same way as when you’re in the military or when you’re just playing an action hero. The authenticity of this was really important.”
Schwarzenegger knows things have changed since he was governor to now, and since he is looking to keep making movies for some time, the Sabotage experience should prove quite fruitful on many levels.
“The style of shooting is different -- the younger directors that are being hired because they have new ideas and new visions. So it’s a different world but you have to adjust to that,” he admitted.
With superhero movies grabbing most of the action movie headlines of late, Schwarzenegger actually feels between The Expendables franchise and other films, that the action movie has really never gone anywhere.
“I think the action genre has always been very popular. There’s action movies that are multi-layered and have really interesting characters, they always will be popular. The key thing is to entertain people,” Schwarzenegger said.
He feels that Sabotage is the perfect example. “I think that what this movie has to offer [is] the realism. We had a director that was insisting on being as real as possible and was a fanatic about that. I think it all paid off. "