Arnold’s Debut as Director


The Scene: The screening of Turner Network Television’s remake of “Christmas in Connecticut” Monday at the Directors Guild. The TV movie, which airs April 13, marks Arnold Schwarzenegger’s directorial debut in feature-length films. Yes, the Austrian bodybuilder, movie star, restaurateur, Kennedy in-law, and presidential confidant has gone on to Conan the Director.

Who Was There: The director and his wife, Maria Shriver; the film’s co-stars, Dyan Cannon and Richard Roundtree; plus 750 guests including Martin Landau, Edwin Moses, Carl Weathers, Jeff Berg, Al Ruddy, Chris Lawford, Lou Ferrigno and a number of Arnold’s director’s--Ivan Reitman (“Twins”), James Cameron (“Terminator”), John Milius (“Conan”).

Hollywood Logic: A lot of studio execs have lost out on a lot of money underestimating Arnold Schwarzenegger. At this point in his career, if Schwarzenegger wanted to star in “Hudson Hawk Takes Howard the Duck to Havana” somebody would listen.


Party Decorations: A mall operator’s idea of heaven--Christmas in April--with two decorated trees, Dickensian carolers, wicker angels, reindeer and sleighs. It was all shipped in from Oregon where, apparently, Christmas decorations spend the off-season.

Quoted: “He just does,” said Maria Shriver on her husband’s work ethic. “He’s a big one on ‘don’t think about it or talk about it--do it.’ ”

Also Quoted: Executive producer Stan Brooks said when he and Arnold had disagreements, Schwarzenegger’s idea of arbitration was to say, “OK, let’s arm-wrestle over it.”

Vocabulary: “Package Position.” When a talent agency is the sole agent for a project and fills the cast with its clients. As in: “Even though ICM has Arnold for a client, they didn’t take a package position on the film.”

Observed: Schwarzenegger seems to gain energy from working the room. He flirts, remembers everyone’s name, poses for photos, jokes with the fire marshal; he’s a born politician. When someone said, “If Bill Clinton had your political skills, he’d be President,” Schwarzenegger replied, “If Bill Clinton had my political skills, he’d be a Republican.”