Body builder Arnold Schwarzenegger was cast in the film before I was hired on Conan the Barbarian. We had a poster featuring Arnold — and his stats — on our wall. The poster proclaimed Arnold to be 6’ 3” (my height).
One day it was announced that Arnold was going to pay us a visit so that he could show director John Milius Arnold’s progress on learning his sword fighting moves.
Arnold walked into the art department, clad only in a pair of red trunks. My first thought was, “My god — this is the most beautiful human being I have ever seen — a true Adonis…”
My second thought was, “…and he lies about his height. I’m 6’3” and I’m looking down at him.”
Milius came into the room.
“Okay, everybody. Let’s all go over to the park where we can watch Arnold go through his sword moves.”
We followed Arnold to a little pocket park just outside of our A-Team offices. He went through the sword routines he had been practicing. When he finished, Arnold turned to Milius.
Arnold is gifted when it comes to reading people.
“John,” he said, “something is wrong.”
“No — I’m fine. It’s all fine.”
“No — I can tell. You don’t like something.”
“Don’t worry about it. There’s nothing you can do about it.”
“It’s my body —right?”
“Yes, it’s my body.” Arnold continued. “You don’t want a body builder’s body for Conan — you want more of an athlete’s body.”
“That’d be great, but…”
Arnold made carving motions down the length of his arms and legs.
“So, if I trimmed here and here, and here…”
“You can DO that?!”
Two weeks later, Arnold returned to the A-Team offices. I had never seen anything like it. Through diet and exercise, he had completely re-sculpted his entire body. I knew right then that if Arnold Schwarzenegger set his mind to a goal, nothing could keep him from accomplishing it. Years later, as soon as he announced he was running for governor of California, I knew he was going to win.