Schwarzenegger salutes Ivan Reitman, who ‘took a chance on this Austrian action-hero’

A man clutching the opening of his leather jacket
Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger paid tribute to late filmmaker Ivan Reitman, who cast him in “Twins,” “Kindergarten Cop” and “Junior.”
(Willy Sanjuan / Invision/Associated Press)

A “devastated” Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday paid tribute to late director Ivan Reitman, saluting the “Animal House” and “Ghostbusters” filmmaker as a legend who “wrote a chunk” of the Austrian action hero’s Hollywood story.

“Ivan Reitman is a legend. In Hollywood, he was bigger than life. He was comedy royalty,” Schwarzenegger, 74, wrote on Instagram, sharing a photo of him, his “Twins” co-star Danny DeVito and Reitman.

“In life, he was a mensch — a wonderful father and husband, a fantastic friend, a great human being. He was kind, he was generous, he was smart as hell, and he was always there for you,” he added.


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But the former California governor mostly remembered Reitman, who died Saturday at 75, as someone who knew the former Mr. Universe “could make it in comedy.”

“If you knew him, Ivan had a way of making himself a part of your story, and he certainly wrote a chunk of mine,” Schwarzenegger said. “I’ll always be grateful that he took a chance on this Austrian action-hero in a comedy during a time when the studios just wanted me to focus on finding new ways to kill bad guys, blow things up, and show off some muscles.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger, left, with Danny DeVito and Ivan Reitman on the set of "Junior."
Arnold Schwarzenegger, left, with Danny DeVito and Ivan Reitman on the set of the 1994 movie “Junior.”
(Bruce McBroom)

After the body builder established himself in stateside cinema with the “Conan” action flicks, “Terminator,” “Red Sonja” and “Predator,” he said, Reitman saw his comedic potential and cast him in the 1988 mismatched-brothers comedy “Twins.”

“I knew I could make it in comedy, but I needed someone else to know it to make it a reality. That’s why Ivan was a great director and friend: he could see something in you that other people didn’t, and he could help you show the rest of the world,” he continued.

Reitman later tapped Schwarzenegger for 1990’s classic fish-out-of-water comedy “Kindergarten Cop” and re-teamed him with DeVito in 1994 for “Junior.” They also began preproduction on the long-gestating sequel “Triplets” with DeVito and Tracy Morgan, who stepped in for Eddie Murphy.


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“Making ‘Twins,’ ‘Junior,’ and ‘Kindergarten Cop’ with Ivan was heaven for me. Spending the last few years working with him on ‘Triplets,’ and once again seeing his passion and genius up close, was a joy,” he said. “Just last week, I was talking about how excited I was to be on set again with Ivan this fall.”

He added: “I can’t believe I won’t work with him again or hang out with him again or just schmooze about life again. But I also know that Ivan isn’t gone, he’s still with us. He’s here, in so many pages of my story. And if you were ever lucky enough to meet him, or just experienced his work, he’s part of your story, too.”

As a producer, Reitman also worked on “Beethoven,” “Space Jam,” “Disturbia,” “I Love You, Man” and “Baywatch,” among numerous other titles, and was nominated for an Oscar for producing 2009’s “Up in the Air” starring George Clooney and Anna Kendrick.

Schwarzenegger joined a number of Hollywood stars who also paid tribute to Reitman, many of whom starred in the director’s films.

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“I’m in absolute shock,” tweeted filmmaker Paul Feig, who made the 2016 “Ghostbusters” reboot. “ I had the honor of working so closely with Ivan and it was always such a learning experience. He directed some of my favorite comedies of all time. All of us in comedy owe him so very much. Thank you for everything, Ivan. Truly.... One of the most special moments to me was after our last test screening of Ghostbusters:ATC after we did some reshoots and our scores went through the roof. Ivan met me out in the lobby and said ‘I’m so happy for you I feel like crying.’ That’s the kind of generous man he was.”

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Ivan Reitman. Truly a great man and filmmaker who I had honor and privilege of knowing and working with. Deepest condolences to Jason and the entire family. May he RIP,” tweeted “Ghostbusters” star Ernie Hudson.