Aging action star, noted adulterer, and former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzeneggar has a new book out today: the highly anticipated and partially crowdsourced autobiography Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story. The PR blitz leading up to the book's release culminated with last night's 60 Minutes interview with Lesley Stahl, which prompted biographer Laurence Leamer — author of 2005's Fantastic: The Life of Arnold Schwarzenegger — to claim Arnold "never should have written this book."
See, Leamer did his own interview with Schwarzenegger recently, but promised to keep it under wraps until the book was on shelves this week, which makes Leamer's interview something like the DVD Bonus Features for superfans of Schwarzenegger schadenfreude. Although Leamer describes Arnold as "an immensely calculating man" who plotted the book's release like "Eisenhower plotted the D-Day invasion," in practice Arnold was more likely to be the guy out skiing the day before his first big State of the State address in 2004. Some other classically unrepentant Arnold quotes:
On turning down Simon & Schuster's book deals for 20 years:
I said, 'Thanks, I’m getting $20 million a movie and you want to pay me only $5 million? That’s not going to cut it. You work a year on a book. You work only three months on a movie. And it’s a tedious job.'
On aging action stars and their entourages:
“You always have people around,” [Arnold's] publicist insisted. “I mean when he does trips he’ll bring two friends with him because he wants them hanging around. Stallone also brings two friends, and Bruce Willis brings three friends.”
On never flying commercial again:
Lots of these politicians fly around with Secret Service and Air Force One and all that... Then they step down and all of a sudden they’re flying first class on a commercial plane. I don’t have to do that. I have a private plane. But I fly commercial when I go to environmental conferences.
On how he feels about Maria these days:
I’m very proud of Maria because of the way she’s dealt with me and the kids.
On being 65 years old:
It sucks. Mentally I’m young. But you cannot stop the body from aging. Someone like myself despises the thought of death.
Leamer, who just sounds like a delightful interviewer with plenty of barbed and leading questions, wraps up the interview with an existential movie question: "In Conan the Barbarian, you end up killing your nemesis, the evil Thusa Doom, but with your victory comes emptiness. The hero always ends up alone. Does that make sense to you?”
You'll have to read on to see how Arnold defuses that bomb.