When the Terminator looks you dead in the eye with that lethal blood-red stare – well, you better run for it, writes Graham Walker.
This unstoppable killing machine, a skin-covered metal endoskeleton, has a nasty reputation for destroying everything in its path.
But now film fans in Yorkshire and London are queuing to pay big money for the privilege to come face to face with the robot from 1984 – or rather the real life Hollywood legend, with the most famous line in movie history.
“I’ll be back,” said Arnold Schwarzenegger. And he is.
Next year, he reprises his signature role in Terminator Genisys, the first of three films to reboot the franchise which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
His @Schwarzenegger Twitter page proudly proclaims he has also been former Mr Olympia, Conan and Governor of California, adding ‘I killed the Predator. I told you I’d be back.’
This weekend though he’s back in the UK for two speical events to meet fans remind us all this is where his story really began.
The former multi-winning Mr Universe started out entering bodybuilding competitions in working men’s clubs, like the 1968 Mr Adonis of England and Junior Mr Doncaster at Harworth and Bircotes Miners’ Welfare Club.
And in an exclusive chat with Graham Walker, which you can hear below, the world’s biggest movie star and greatest-ever bodybuilder tells how it was actually a Yorkshireman who was the ‘blueprint’ for everything he did.
That was former Leeds United reserve player Reg Park, who went on to be crowned Mr Universe and starred in Hercules movies.
Arnold, aged 67, said it will be an emotional time for him when he returns to Reg’s home city for his first UK speaking engagement. He is the ultimate black-tie dinner guest, with host Jonathan Ross, at The Centenary Pavilion, Elland Road, Leeds, this Friday, November 14.
The following night, the Arnie and Ross show moves south for his London hotel-speaking debut in front of a theatre-style audience at Westbourne Suite, Lancaster Terrace.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch the teaser trailer for his Leeds visit.
In his only interview before he arrives this weekend, speaking from his home in Los Angeles, he said: “I saw Reg Park on the cover of a magazine, in one of the sporting goods stores in Graz, Austria. He was a great inspiration for me. But also as a 15-year-old kid, it was like the blueprint for my entire life.
“It was all laid out what I had to do to become a champion and then what I had to do to get in the movies, just like him. I felt I could do it too.
“Reg was the most important motivator for me.
“I have been to Leeds before to visit his parents when they were alive and when Reg was alive. He’s passed away since, too. I wanted to get to know especially his mother, who was a strong influence on him.
“England itself is an important place because that’s where I won my first Mr Universe competition and where my career began so to speak. It’s where I learned to speak English. That’s where I was invited over to do guest appearances, strongman acts, lifting weights and all that stuff. I won Mr Universe contests in London.”
He’s resigned to the fact that he can’t become President, because the Constitution will not allow anyone born outside the USA to stand. But film fans are delighted. They missed him while he played his self-proclaimed role of The Governator, the real life Governor of California, in charge of the eighth biggest economy in the world.
Now he’s about to reprise his most popular role, the Terminator. He revealed he will again play the T-800 cyborg in the fifth installment, Terminator Genysis. But he is sworn to secrecy about the plot, which is rumoured to involve some time-travelling interaction with the first two films and see his aging skin-covered robot model come face to face with the the original, using state-of-the-art CGI film techniques.
He says: “I can’t tell you that much about it, other than it will come out at the beginning of July and it has all kinds of interesting stars in it. It is a great story but I cannot give the story away. The twist and all that stuff.
“But I was very happy that I was asked to play again a Terminator and to play then T-800 model. It’s a great, great story with a twist.
He said of the original: “Terminator was so well written and the way Jim Cameron, the director, wanted to film the character was really brilliant. So I got inspired by that, being able to do those extraordinary violent things in a movie but not really get blamed for it because I was actually not a human being. I was playing a machine.
“It was written as a villain. It became a kind of heroic character, because it was a machine that did all those things and people just really thought that was cool. It was cutting edge the way it was done.
“The whole message was that machines will take over. And, you know, we’ve seen that now in the last 30-years. This is exactly what has happened. We cannot even imagine anymore life without the machines. The only thing that hasn’t happened is that they have not become self aware.
“Cameron is a great, brilliant film maker. I cannot take credit for all that. I always shine on the screen when a director was good. And Jim Cameron is just the best director around.”
Asked what his favourite Arnie movie lines are, he booms: “I think, ‘I’ll be back’ or ‘hasta la vista, baby’...those are the strongest, the ones that have been the most used lines and most popular lines in movie history.
“ I’m also happy that I’m in the category of,” he laughs, “ having killed the most people on screen of any other actor in the history of movie making.
“It was also interesting to be listed in the same year as the best villain and also the best hero, which I think is also very unique.”
He says he was also driven on to bigger and better things due to his one-time rivalry with now close friend Sylvester Stallone.
“It was proof that competition creates performance. I was always a competitive person, so I had to make him the villain on my wall - someone that I had to beat when, in fact, there’s nothing really to beat. That’s the only kind of world that I understood.
“For me he was like this guy having the biggest grossing movies, he was getting a lot of money, increasing his salaries and I was obsessed. This was like Sergio Oliva or any of those guys in bodybuilding that I had to beat.
“And so it became this competition which we added to all the time. Who could kill more people? Who could kill them the most unique way? Who has bigger guns? Who has the least amount of body fat? Who has the most muscles? Who does the most movies? Who does the most interesting movies? Who has the biggest box office? It went on a on for a decade.
“Then eventually we got to an age where we laughed about thee whole thing. And we became the best friends. We just kind of tried to destroy each other and it actually made our performance better and made us much more driven.”
* Tickets are now very limited for the Rocco Bounvino Productions and Olexyfresh Promotions events with Arnold Schwarzenegger - ranging from £350 to £1,500, in Leeds and £148.50 to £1,575 in London. Top prices include photo opportunity. Visit www.roccobuonvinoproductions.com, www.olexyfresh.com or call 0333 012 4031.
Do you have memories or photos and video of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s early days in and around Sheffield and South Yorkshire? Leave a comment below, email firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @GW1962 or leave a message on oour Facebook site at www.facebook.com/sheffieldstar.