Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has put his acting career on hold as he deals with the fallout from the revelation that he fathered a child with a household maid.
“At the request of Arnold Schwarzenegger, we asked Creative Artists Agency to inform all his motion picture projects currently under way or being negotiated to stop planning until further notice,” a representative said in a statement. “Gov. Schwarzenegger is focusing on personal matters and is not willing to commit to any production schedules or timelines. This includes ‘Cry Macho,’ ‘The Terminator’ franchise and other projects under consideration. We will resume discussions when Gov. Schwarzenegger decides.”
A CAA spokeswoman said the agency had no comment beyond the statement that was released.
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.”
Because Schwarzenegger gave no time frame, the statement raises questions about what happens to the projects that were high on his list.
“Cry Macho,” which was to have started shooting this summer, would have seen Schwarzenegger taking on a part different from the action and light comedy roles that were his hallmark during the 1980s and ’90s. Pic is based on the 1975 novel by N. Richard Nash; Schwarzenegger was to play an alcoholic horse trainer who becomes a pawn in an international kidnapping plot after losing his wife and child.
The project’s producer, Al Ruddy, said in an email to Variety, “I have no comment — the statement speaks for itself.”
Schwarzenegger also was attached to another proposed installment of “The Terminator” franchise, with “Fast Five” helmer Justin Lin attached to direct. Producer Megan Ellison had won the auction rights just last week. The franchise’s future had gotten entangled in rights issues, but Schwarzenegger’s involvement helped push the next iteration forward. Ellison’s office at Annapurna Films had no comment.
Producers of a comic book and TV show, “The Governator,” which as originally conceived would have featured Schwarzenegger’s home life as a part of the plotline as he took on the guise of superhero, said that the project has been halted.
Producers said in a statement: “In light of recent events, A Squared Entertainment, POW, Stan Lee Comics, and Archie Comics, have chosen to not go forward with the Governator project.” Update: Producers have issued a revised statement saying merely that the project has been put “on hold.”
Schwarzenegger, 63, had hoped to revive his career even in a moviegoing environment much changed from 2003, when he had his last starring role in “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.” (He appeared briefly in 2009’s “Terminator Salvation” as well.)
The scandal has brought condemnation and scorn, only magnified because of the length of time that Schwarzenegger kept his affair and child secret from Maria Shriver and their family.
Mark Young, professor at USC’s Marshall School of Business, said it would Schwarzenegger’s ability to appeal to middle-aged female auds. “This was something he knew about for so many years but hid it from the one person who stood by him and sacrificed her career for his,” he said.
Judy Smith, prexy of crisis consulting firm Impact Strategies and former deputy press secretary for President George H.W. Bush, said the public has a history of forgiving celebrities. An environment of nonstop news of celebrity travails on TMA, Radaronline and other websites may add a new kind of scrutiny, but such incidents are now common enough in to be less shocking to the public.
“If his goal was to continue in politics, yes, I think it would have had an impact on his career,” Smith said. But there is “a different type of litmus test in deciding to see a movie and deciding to vote for somebody.”