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Arnold Schwarzenegger: Overcoming Doubt and Defying Expectations in Hollywood

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Arnold Schwarzenegger: Overcoming Doubt and Defying Expectations in Hollywood

If you have seen the best Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, you know the iconic action movie star has sported a godlike physique since his very first on-screen appearance. The former California governor is a Hollywood A-lister now but, recently, he revealed some startling details about the hurdles he faced on his journey to becoming a movie legend. In a candid interview with Rob Lowe, Schwarzenegger opened up about the skepticism he encountered when he first expressed his desire to conquer the world of movies in the 1970s. According to him, execs told him his muscles and more would keep him from being a star and, honestly, I’m shocked.

Challenging Hollywood’s Expectations

In a recent episode of Rob Lowe’s podcast, Literally!, the former bodybuilder shared that in the 1970s, Hollywood bigwigs informed him that he would never achieve the stardom he so craved. However, like most things in his life, he didn’t allow this setback to deter him. He explained just why people told him his body would be detrimental to his aspirations:

In the ’70s, when I said I wanted to get into movies, all the producers and directors and studio executives and agents were saying to me, ‘It’s never gonna happen.’ And one of the three reasons was that my body was too big. They said to me, ‘Look at the stars today… Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, De Niro, Woody Allen. Those are the sex symbols. People don’t want to see big muscles. You’re 100 pounds too heavy. Forget it.’

Defying Stereotypes and Conquering Hollywood

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This revelation is shocking, because the Conan the Barbarian star’s muscular physique defined him and played a pivotal role in his success. He challenged norms, becoming a film icon in blockbuster horror movies like Terminator, where he even had to master the art of not blinking for the role. It’s hard to imagine the landscape of the best sci-fi movies of the ’80s — like Predator and Total Recall — without the former Mr. Universe in the roles.

The Kindergarten Cop actor’s persistence in pursuing his dreams, despite the discouragement he faced, is a testament to his unwavering determination. Not only did he prove his critics wrong about his physique, but he also broke free from the second stereotype industry insiders had imposed upon him. He continued:

The bottom line is that when they said, ‘It’s not gonna work, you getting in the movies, and especially not being a leading man.’ They said it was ‘because of your accent.’ They said that the German accent is scary for most Americans — it reminds them of the Nazis. ‘So yes, you could play a Nazi officer or something like that. That would be fine. But other than that, you wouldn’t get away with it.’ … And then they said that, ‘No one would be able to pronounce Schwarz… What’s your name? Schnitzel, or something like that?’ So they were laughing at my name. And those are the three things why it wouldn’t work.

Rising Above Expectations

Overcoming this “German accent” prejudice, the entertainer became a leading Hollywood man and developed a memorable on-screen voice we have all grown to love. Not only that, but his surname is now one of the most recognizable in the history of cinema. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t at least heard it mentioned at one point in their lives. I just can’t believe execs didn’t see the marketing potential in such a unique last name. Thankfully, though, everything worked out just as the bodybuilding icon hoped.

Explore Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Inspirational Journey

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s inspirational journey in Hollywood is just one of many stories you can explore across various media. For more revelations, check out Be Useful, the 76-year-old star’s book, which released on October 10 and is available where books are sold. In the meantime, fans can watch Season 1 of FUBAR or his three-part docuseries Arnold with a Netflix subscription.

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