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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Monday November 19, 2018 

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SCHWARZENEGGER, Arnie: End of Days

Arnie wanted to come back after a two year screen absence (for a bit of heart surgery) with something big: big action, big stunts, big effects, big movie. End of Days was his ticket - but in the end, the big star opted for a finale in which drops his gun, he reveals at his Sydney press conference, where he admitted to ANDREW L. URBAN that no matter what the film says, 1999 is really NOT the end of the Millenium.

ALU: Look, this is a really sore point with me - the movie propagates the myth that this year is the end of the millenium - was there any discussion about that?
AS: We wanted to do exactly that; I'm so happy that it's a sore point with you . . . I love it! This guy…we're gonna have some close ups in my next movie! [laughs] Look, this is exactly why I thought it was great to do this movie, when I started reading [doing research for it]. First there was Time magazine cover about is there a Garden of Eden, is there a devil? Then there was a Newsweek cover, The Prophesy; would it be the end of the world? Then I started reading survival magazines talking about everybody buying up extra water and provisions, storing up for the end of the world! People are arming themselves in America - against I don't know from whom [laughs]. . .

So what I liked about this project is us saying, OK, you're very vulnerable, you're wondering what's going to happen at the end of this millenium. And waity a minute, here's another idea: Satan could return [laughs]. So that's basically what this is, an add-on to this whole [scenario]. And the funny thing is, of course, it's really not the change of the millenium; that's next year. But everyone is celebrating it this year, so it just shows that what is more powerful is not reality but what appears to be reality.

ALU: Was there anything in the script that you wanted to change - did you have any input?
AS: We had a relationship where all of us - the actors - scene by scene, as we rehearsed, when we felt sometimes it worked better this way or that way, sometimes just small little alterations were made. But I think the most significant alteration was made when the script was finished - but not by me or any of the cast, but by some religious leaders. Months before we started shooting, we said, since this is a movie about good versus evil, why not let some of the theology majors, the experts in that subject, go through it one more time. Maybe we missed something. So there was a Rabbi, a Catholic priest and a Protestant priest, a monk…various people we gathered together and let them read the script. And what came up, which led to a significant change, was that in the original script I blew the devil back to hell, with explosive power, with guns, missile launches and all the usual things we usually use to win my battles. They felt this was great - for an action movie, and very visual the way it was written.

But if we really want to make a statement, here was a great opportunity, to say that you can't destroy the devil with his own creation, which is weapons. They thought that if we show that you cannot conquer evil with evil, that you have to do it with good, with inner strength, with the power faith rather than the power of the weapon, you could go into the new millenium with a great message (Ed: A year early…) When I heard that, I said I don't care what anyone says, THAT change will be made, because here was a great opportunity for me, who has done all these violent movies and always confronted violence with guns and all that - to put the weapon down. So it was rewritten, and we had to postpone the shoot for two months, but I thought it was a great change and added a lot to the movie.

ALU: In this film your character dies at the end; was there ever an alternative ending?
AS: Yes, we shot two endings, which is a smart thing to do, because we might think we're on the right track but that doesn't mean the audience will feel the same way. So you always shoot two endings, especially when you get just one shot at it. We had 14 days of shooting in that church - and it's very hard to get permission to shoot in a church, especially for an R rated (US) movie. We were only allowed to do it because the church leaders were very happy with the story; good destroys evil and the devil gets wiped out and so on. So it was just an extra day of work to shoot two endings. It was very from the test screening; there was 90% of the people felt it was more true to the story for the ending you see, versus the typical 'Hollywood ending' where the star is supposed to go off, you know . . . Very good question, I like your style [laughs].

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Arnold Schwarzenegger... End of Days

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As End of Days opens, Arnold Schwarzenegger begins shooting his next movie, The Sixth Day, playing Adam Gibson, a man who meets a clone of himself and stumbles into a grand conspiracy about clones taking over the world. Another day, another dollar….

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... in Sydney

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