It’s been just over a decade since Arnold Schwarzenegger first sat down with 20/20’s Barbara Walters to talk about his remarkable life.
Schwarzenegger’s life story began in the village of Graz, Austria. His determination to succeed — aided by his powerful physique — propelled him through the ranks of professional bodybuilding to Hollywood’s stratosphere.
Now, at 53, Schwarzenegger emerges after battling a potentially fatal heart condition with a new movie on a controversial subject. Once again, he meets with Walters to discuss the movie, his health and his political future. The interview airs on 20/20 on Friday, Nov. 10, at 10 p.m. ET.
Health and Cloning In his new film, The 6th Day, Schwarzenegger’s character is cloned, and the result is a sci-fi, special-effects extravaganza with some very serious overtones. Especially since the actor believes the film’s plot line is not too far off in the future. “What I have found out [is] that it is around the corner … within five years,” he says.
“I think we are so close to it that if the government restrictions are gone, I think it would be like a big explosion,” he adds.
Cloning holds a special fascination for the actor, particularly in light of his recent health complications. Three years ago, Schwarzenegger was diagnosed with a defective heart valve. After two surgeries, the action star is doing well. “I didn’t even know that I was less energetic beforehand because I always had a lot of energy,” he says.
Schwarzenegger’s renewed energy translates into enthusiastic involvement with charity and politics. His favorite charity is the Inner City Games, which helps disadvantaged children by involving them in sporting activities. And while his involvement may puzzle those who wonder how a man so concerned with children can also make violent films, Schwarzenegger believes the movies are not the problem. “What has changed tremendously in America in the last 20 years is that … both parents are working,” he says, “that is the real problem.”
A Political Future? Schwarzenegger’s political stance remains solidly Republican. And that can make for some tension at home, since his wife, TV journalist Maria Shriver, is a Kennedy family cousin.
“[She] has tolerated me being a Republican, but any Republican that goes up in the polls, she puts an extra lock on her bedroom door,” he says, tongue firmly in cheek.
Jokes aside, Schwarzenegger tells Walters that in order to help America meet his ideals, he might someday seek a larger role in Republican politics. Ultimately, we can expect to see a lot more of him — and not just in the movies.
“I may be in politics, I may be running a studio, I may be a successful businessman,” he says. “[Because] to be out there… it stimulates the brain, [and] the brain needs continuous exercise.” Said like a true sportsman.