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On Friday, January 25th, I was saved the best seat in the house, directly across from Arnold, at the WB roundtable interview session held in The Four Seasons Hotel. My mission to interview Andrew Davis, director of "Collateral Damage", and the movies star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was met and accomplished.

First, what seat would you like? Wait, two seats are already taken. See that heavy Oak chair tilted in to the table on the right? That's Arnold's. You see that one directly across from him with the press kit opened? That seat is saved for me. Sorry, you can sit anywhere but those seats.

First, for a recap let's start you off with the all important The ARNOLD FAN question pertaining to King Conan: Crown of Iron and then we can move onto Collateral Damage and even some T3: Rise of the Machines info.

The Arnold Fan: What about King Conan? Have you spoken to John Milius recently about all the positive buzz of Crown of Iron and will this project happen?

ARNOLD Yeah, I just saw Milius yesterday. We did lunch and a stogie. Youre talking about Conan right? Yeah, hes rewriting it as we speak... because it was a one hundred and sixty-eight page script. One of the brothers called the Wachowski bothers, Ah, thats right, I knew it was a Polish name. The Wachowski brothers called and said he should reduce the script because it would be a three and a half hour movie and we should cut it down to a hundred and twenty pages, and take certain things out and thats what hes doing right now. Because as you know, with John, things take time. Hes not the quickest guy in town. He smokes a stogie and then he writes a page and then he smokes another stogie...

Yes, very exciting news but hey, lets get into the real reason we were brought here: to talk about Arnold in Collateral Damage.

Arnold on why he chose the Collateral Damage script:

ARNOLD:I have to blame my wife for that because it was my wife who brought it to me. She is keen with Ruther and Ruther gave her the script. There was still a time when Harrison Ford was attached to it and when my wife hears there is someone else attached to something she is very competitive and chases the script down like a greyhound. Every day when I was reading scripts she kept bringing me this script and said I should really read it... and I said you read it, Ive got all these other ones and if you think its good then let me know. Then she said it is terrific. Later Ruther called me and said Harrison Ford was no longer attached to it because hes doing something else. Why dont you look at it, please read it he said. And then I did read it and I started getting together with the writers and then the idea came up that I would be playing a Firefighter instead of what was originally written, in what I think was a coach, so the more we talked about some changes the more I started falling in love with the project and then one of my things didnt become a reality, one of the things I wanted to do - and so then I said lets shoot it in the Summer which then really began filming in the Fall. So thats how it happened. I was very excited about the project and then today... when they happened to change the character into a firefighter, which was an idea that I liked very much, there were a lot of people, even in the studio, that said are you sure thats enough heroic stuff there? You know, maybe I should make you a CIA guy, you know all those kinds of people that I have been a hundred-thousand times before. But they AT THAT TIME did not think that maybe a firefighter was heroic enough, and then when the terrorist attack happened, all of the sudden they were saying WHAT A GREAT IDEA. They are taking credit for that now (laughs) but that doesnt really matter because I think firemen ARE very heroic guys. Its not so much a movie about terrorism - its about Collateral Damage and the innocent victims of who get hit by that.

Arnold on why his character doesnt pick up a gun:

ARNOLD:Its just a different kind of storyline. Its just that the suspense goes much better when you go down to the jungle with no weapons, and you get there and you think now what? All those characters carry weapons and it increases the suspense for the audience... also because if I had a sawed-off shotgun with me, or a machine gun or an Uzi or whatever it is, it would take the suspense away because YOU KNOW that I would be killing everybody. So this was done fore different reasons. For story-wise it works better.

Arnold on how he prepares himself for emotional and crying scenes:

ARNOLD:Number one, I think that I do it easier today than I could have done 20 years ago because I can relate to family much more. Number two, maybe Im more in touch with my emotions than 20 years ago. Number three is because I am older. I think it was just THAT KIND of a scene is so powerful, when you sit there, feet away from where your family is lying who you have seen minutes before alive and waving, smiling, full of joy and then to see them blow up. Its this extraordinary kind of thing. Its this kind of thing where you see from this Sept. 11 tragedy where you hear people say their loved one has just called them moments before the tragedy occurs. Id have to say, I dont know when I was 30 years old if I could have related as much.

Arnold on working with his co-star John Turturro and John Leguizamo:

ARNOLD:I always feel that when you work with professional people and talented people its a lot of fun. John Leguizamo was hilarious. There were certain things that were in the movie that werent even in the script. Or cut scenes for time reasons, there were some extraordinary scenes that we had. He was funny on and off the set. And Jon Turturro is the same. Hes very intense with his acting. Theyre always rehearsing, always ready first thing in the morning and I had a great time working with them and I respect them HIGHLY.

To wrap things up Arnold was then ready to give more detailed files on Terminator 3.

ARNOLD: TERMINATOR 3 is terrific, said Schwarzenegger enthusiastically. Its coming along and we start shooting it on April 15.

Arnold on Linda Hamiltons involvement:

ARNOLD:She is [returning], but she is coming back as the past experiences of Linda Hamilton, not driving the current story forward, explained Schwarzenegger. She is in the movie as flashbacks and stuff like that. But I think the filmmakers felt like they did not want to have the exact same cast and have them be limited by the story. But instead, theyve taken certain people out and are of the mindset that, Lets assume that Sarah has died already and John Conner is on his own rather than having still the mother there whining away saying, Get it straight. Remember you have to be the savior. And you cant do this and you cant take that drug. What if she is the Terminator? Director, Jonathon Mostow, was very adamant he wanted the kid now to be 22 or 23, the mothers died and lets move on. Lets have him be on his own. Lets let him have a girlfriend. And lets go to the next level, so that was the idea.

Arnold on director, Jonathon Mostow:

ARNOLD:First of all, Cameron was not interested in doing the movie because he felt like he did not want to tie himself down to any time schedule on any movie, said Schwarzenegger. He just, as you know, finished shooting the Imax movie and he will be finished this summer editing it. Then he will be thinking about the next thing, whatever that is. He does not know probably nor does anyone else. So when you buy a movie like that, I think you have to move on it because the amount of money you put out is extraordinary. So he said right away, No. I dont want to get into that situation. So the next thing became, Lets find someone that is young and that has this young spirit of new ideas and all of that. And when you saw, U-571 we all felt that Jonathan had the kind of talent and patience and know-how to work with special effects, visual effects and all of that. Then when we met him, it became more and more clear that he has the right personality and calmness to do the film. And he has since then proven that by hiring the best of the best people around him from ILM to stunt coordinators to cameramen. Hes been extremely good at prepping the movie and reworking the script and all of that stuff.

Arnold on the Shaquille ONeal T3 rumor:

ARNOLD:Ha, he is the only one thats saying [hell be in the movie], right? Shaq. (huge eye-roll)

Randy Jennings

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