The Stanley Kubrick movie Arnold Schwarzenegger turned down
If any fledgling actor had the chance to work with the likes of Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Christopher Nolan, Denis Villeneuve or Greta Gerwig, it would be unlikely that said actor would turn down such an extraordinary opportunity. Still, the same cannot be said for countless Hollywood icons, with almost every single actor in the business having turned down a once-in-a-lifetime cinematic experience.
Just one such icon is the Austrian-American actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the star behind countless action movies from the end of the 20th century, including Predator, Commando and The Terminator. Starting off his career as a bodybuilder, the idiosyncratic actor slowly began building an impressive filmography, collaborating with a number of big industry names, including Robert Altman, Michael Schultz and James Cameron.
Having created an iconic profile for himself in the 1980s, by the end of the decade, he was a bonafide Hollywood star, largely thanks to such films as Predator, The Running Man, and to some extent, Twins, with Danny DeVito. Thanks to his action and comedy roles, Schwarzenegger became a multi-faceted star, but his career could have been very different had he taken up an offer from Stanley Kubrick.
The director, known for creating some of the most challenging and technically proficient movies of the time, wanted Schwarzenegger for his 1987 Vietnam War film, Full Metal Jacket. Specifically, Kubrick wanted the actor to play the role of Animal Mother, a maverick, physically bulky character, who was ultimately played by Adam Baldwin in the final movie.
Kubrick believed Schwarzenegger was perfect for the role, but the actor himself thought otherwise, turning down the opportunity to take on Commando and Predator, two films that would ultimately help to bolster his Hollywood persona. Considering the fact that Baldwin possessed quite a bit more acting prowess than Schwarzenegger, we think this change was probably for the best.
Full Metal Jacket is one of Kubrick’s most divisive movies, telling a critical story of the Vietnam War in an unusual style. Split into two sections, the first half of the movie features Pvt. Joker (Matthew Modine) and Pvt. Pyle (Vincent D’Onofrio) as two army recruits going through gruelling basic training, whilst the second half of the movie features the pair in the heart of the war, facing the true reality of conflict.
Considered to be one of the worst Kubrick movies, in a filmography that brims with quality, Full Metal Jacket remains one of the greatest films ever made about the Vietnam War. In addition to Kubrick’s movie, other classics of the genre include Oliver Stone’s Platoon, Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter and Barry Levinson’s Good Morning, Vietnam.