Arnold Schwarzenegger Talks Politics, Greta Thunberg, the Afterlife, and His New Movie ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’

The entertainer and former California governor welcomes Howard to Los Angeles on Monday

October 7, 2019

Movie star, bodybuilder, and former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger came by Sirius XM’s newly opened Hollywood studios on Monday, sitting down with Howard for another memorable conversation about his career, his politics, and even what happens after death.

First, the Hollywood legend was eager to officially welcome Howard and the Stern Show to L.A., “the paradise of the world.”

“It’s so great to have you here,” he said. “I was ecstatic to hear you’re coming to L.A.”

“You are a great fucking interviewer,” Schwarzenegger continued, adding he’d also enjoyed hearing Howard and Jimmy Kimmel’s prior conversation during his drive down to the studio. “It’s such a pleasure to listen to you guys talk because it’s natural talk that guys do when they hang out in the gym, or at home, or when you smoke a stogie … or play chess. That’s how you talk.”

Looking around the room at Howard and Jimmy, Arnold saw two men who he believed are just as driven he always has been. Even at the age of 72, the former Governor said he wakes up before dawn each day and bikes to the gym and for an early morning workout—it’s a routine he plans on maintaining for the rest of his life.

Arnold famously got his start as a champion bodybuilder and Olympic weightlifter, winning his first competitions as early as the mid 1960s. Howard wondered how the sport has evolved since Arnold’s heyday. “I think that bodybuilding today is much bigger than in my days because now people are making million-dollar cash prizes,” he said, telling Howard he’d typically only get paid $1,000 prizes.

The paydays were so low, in fact, Arnold and his good friend Franco Columbu—an actor and world-class bodybuilder himself—weren’t able to quit their day jobs as bricklayers for quite some time. Arnold and Franco stayed close for over 50 years, but the Italian-born bodybuilder passed away unexpectedly in late August and Arnold attended his memorial over the weekend.

“How are you feeling about this?” Howard asked.

“Very upset because he was my best friend. He was a friend of mine for 54 years,” Arnold said. “He was there for everything, he was supportive always, I loved the guy, he loved me.”

In addition to being a lifelong friend, Schwarzenegger said Columbu was also more talented than many people give him credit for. “He was pound for pound the strongest man who ever lived. It’s that simple,” he said, explaining he could improbably deadlift 700 pounds on just a 180-pound frame.

“Franco Columbu was a superstar,” he told Howard, adding he was also a “great, great immigrant who always contributed to America.”

Arnold of course knows a little something about giving back to America. The Austrian-born immigrant eventually entered politics and served as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 to 2011. Considering he’s had a few public spats with President Donald Trump in recent years, Howard wondered if Arnold still considered himself a Republican.

“I’m a Republican. I’m a traditional Republican. I’m a Reagan Republican. I’m a Teddy Roosevelt Republican. I’m a Lincoln Republican,” he told Howard, adding, “I stayed true to the Republican principles.”

One issue Arnold and many modern Republicans don’t see eye-to-eye on is protecting the environment. As Governor of California, he helped the state stay ahead of the curve on several environmental initiatives while many Republicans argued the protective regulations would be bad for the economy. On Monday, Arnold tried debunking the myth once and for all: “We’ve proven it here in California, that you can do both. You can take care of the environment and also the economy at the same time.”

Arnold’s passion for environmental protection didn’t dissipate after his tenure as governor ended. At a climate summit in Vienna earlier this year, he even joined forces with 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who’s made headlines in recent months traveling around the world and admonishing those in power for neglecting the world her generation will one day inherit.

Arnold had nothing but kind words to say about her. “I always love when people have balls,” he told Howard, adding, “She’s brilliant. She’s a very smart girl, she’s a sweetheart of a girl, and she’s very passionate about this cause.”

Saving the planet won’t be easy, but the Governor told Howard the battle was far from hopeless. “Howard, this is winnable,” he said. “Everything is winnable. Remember what [Nelson] Mandela one time said, ‘Everything seems to be impossible until someone does it.’ And we gotta do it.”

Arnold has fought his fair share of impossible-seeming battles in Hollywood, too, whether saving mankind from the robot apocalypse or arguing with a movie studio behind-the-scenes about how to promote his films. Howard asked him about his upcoming “Terminator” sequel “Dark Fate,” which arrives in November and once again reunites him with actress Linda Hamilton and franchise creator James Cameron.

Arnold said he’s seen the movie and he can’t wait for his fans to see it, too. “I was very happy about the fact that Jim Cameron, who created the story … was involved because he’s so brilliant. So, to have him back was very important to me and also to have Linda back because she is a badass. She sells so well this badass woman and she’s in great shape,” Arnold said. “It’s really extraordinary.”

Another sequel Arnold discussed was the long-awaited followed up to his and Danny DeVito’s beloved 1988 action-comedy “Twins.” Arnold said Ivan Reitman, the director of the original, is still developing a script for the film, which is rumored to be called “Triplets” and supposedly introduces comedian Eddie Murphy as DeVito and Schwarzenegger’s other long-lost brother.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” Arnold told Howard. “People came up with some great, great stories and I cannot wait to do it because Eddie Murphy would be absolutely hilarious.”

Howard and Arnold also tackled a few existential questions on Monday, including life, death, and the possibility of an afterlife. “I’m not afraid of death. I’m just pissed off about it, especially when you have a life like we have and one day it’s over,” Arnold said. “I mean that really pisses me off.”

“Governor, where are we gonna go when we die?” Howard asked him. “Be honest with us.”

“The truth is we go six-feet under, and we’re going to rot there,” Arnold concluded, adding, “After we’re dead we’re not gonna sit here like this and do interviews and have a great time and have laughs and have Robin [Quivers] there, you know, giving us this beautiful smile.”

“Terminator: Dark Fate” opens Nov. 1.