Lionsgate pic his first for acting career revival

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has decided to resume his acting career — which had been on hold for the past two months — with the action project “The Last Stand” for Lionsgate with Lorenzo di Bonaventura producing.

Lionsgate made the announcement Tuesday, a day after Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron Mendelsohn confirmed that the former governor was on board the project, to be directed by South Korean helmer Kim Jee-Woon (“A Tale of Two Sisters,” “The Good, the Bad, the Weird”).

Schwarzenegger had verbally committed in late April to star in the indie drama “Cry Macho” without indicating whether it would be his first film after leaving the governor’s office. He then announced on May 19 that he had halted acting to deal with the fallout from the revelation that he fathered a child with a household maid.

“The Last Stand” is set in a border town and is centered on a Sheriff dealing with an escaped drug cartel leader heading for the Mexican border. Schwarzenegger will portray a man who has resigned himself to a life of fighting what little crime takes place in sleepy border town Sommerton Junction after leaving his LAPD post following a bungled operation that left him wracked with failure and defeat after his partner was crippled.

Story’s based on a spec script by Andrew Knauer that was subsequently rewritten by Jeffrey Nachmanoff.

“Arnold Schwarzenegger will bring incredible magnetism to this complex but classic role,” said Joe Drake, president of Lionsgate’s motion picture group. “When he came on the screen in ‘The Expendables,’ it always electrified the audience.”

Lionsgate has domestic and international distribution rights, with the film having pre-sold well in several overseas territories.

After he left office in January, Schwarzenegger had talked up a return to movies, having had bit parts during his governorship in films like “The Expendables.”

Schwarzenegger also was attached to another proposed installment of “The Terminator” franchise, with “Fast Five” helmer Justin Lin attached to direct.

Producer Megan Ellison won the auction rights in May.

Schwarzenegger, 63, had his last starring role in “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.” He appeared briefly in 2009’s “Terminator Salvation” as well.

The deal was negotiated for Lionsgate by Motion Picture Group Senior Exec VP Rob McEntegart.

Schwarzenegger is repped by CAA, who negotiated the deal on his behalf along with attorneys Jake Bloom and Patrick Knapp. Jee-Woon is also represented by CAA.

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