Schwarzenegger & Son
Many have denigrated him by calling him the talking muscle. It is certainly true that Arnold Schwarzenegger has never won a role because he was great at heartfelt dialogue or monologues in flawless English. Words almost stumble out of his mouth; almost guttural, without variation in tone or melody.
Even though Arnold Schwarzenegger had enjoyed some hit films, like Conan The Barbarian in 1982, lady luck smiled on him when he was cast as the robot for the Terminator films. The subdued, machine dialogue in the films was perfect for the actor. No one can doubt that his native language is German. And it was obviously a problem in his first film made 50 years ago (Hercules, 1969). It was enough of a problem for the film’s director to dub an American actor’s voice over Arnold’s. To make matters even worse, his name was listed as Arnold Strong in the film credits.
26-year-old Patrick is following in is father’s footsteps. Even though Patrick does not resemble his father’s muscle-bound form, he and his father have much in common, including a love of the gym. But as with the children of many other film stars, it has not been easy for Patrick to outgrow his parents’ shadow.
The first time Patrick Schwarzenegger played the lead role in a film, was in Midnight Sun (2018) and his acting did not receive the attention it deserved. One critic wrote that he was “trapped” in a box-shaped head, which was the double of both Schwarzenegger and John F. Kennedy (his mother is the niece of the former American president). An actor who struggles to say difficult sentences like ‘yes’, ‘nice to meet you’ and ‘would you like more gravy’ in a convincing way. Now while Midnight Sun was nowhere near Oscar nomination territory, it says a lot about just how loyal Arnold Schwarzenegger is as a father, when in a recent interview in GQ Magazine, he said:
“Oh, it’s wild! I have seen it three times. I think it makes an impression. He’s good and I’m proud of him. He worked hard and concertedly to achieve success. It makes me proud.”
Patrick Schwarzenegger says that it is an investment in the future. “I have without luck competed for hundreds of parts. It’s like investing in shares that didn’t pay off. But it helps you to get better – and above all, to become a better person,” says Patrick Schwarzenegger, who also starred this year in the horror film Daniel Isn’t Real.
Three career paths
Arnold Schwarzenegger arrived in the USA at the end of the 1960s. He was born and grew up in the village of Thal, just outside Graz in southern Austria. When a teenager, he became obsessed with body building and he won many titles during his adolescence. He won the title Mr. Universe (for amateurs) in 1969 and in the following year, he won the Mr. Olympia (for professionals) title, which he went on to win seven times (the last time in 1980).
The dream of a life in the USA was not the dream of becoming an actor. To begin with, it was the dream of starting his own business that attracted him, ideally a continuation of his body-building career. But the podium and the stage had a stronger attraction. He also went on to become a politician, becoming the governor of California in 2003.
Patrick Schwarzenegger also dreamed of becoming a success in business life. “I was so proud when one day when I drove the car down Sunset Boulevard, I noticed two boys with a lemonade stall next to the road. It was Patrick and his brother Christopher. They took care of everyone on the road. They knew precisely what everyone wanted to drink. And they sold all of the lemonade,” says Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“I had done something similar when I was a child in Austria. Bought ice cream for 10 shillings and sold them at the lake for 20 shillings. In one evening I made 200 shillings. I’ve always tried to teach Patrick and his siblings how to be thrifty. They hated me for it. But it worked,” says Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Patrick Schwarzenegger also remembers that day: “We earned 53 dollars. Dad and I went down to Fargo bank and I opened my first bank account. It was really cool,” he says. His father remembers a project related to a fitness trade fair in California. It was a threeday event. He suggested that Patrick should rent a stand and sell fitnesswear pictures and autographs. “It was a huge success. Patrick and Christopher sold goods for USD 70,000 dollars. They were able to keep 10 percent – they donated the rest to a good project!” explains Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Patrick Schwarzenegger (who has studied Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California) also remembers that his father followed his sons around the house if they had forgotten to switch off the lights in the rooms. And he still has not given up on the idea of a life in the world of business. "I don’t think I will be an actor for my whole life. During his life, my dad has had three different careers. Bodybuilding, acting and politics. I think: why not be like Mark Wahlberg or George Clooney and combine acting and being a businessman. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be interested in non-profit work, fashion or something else in ten years' time.” “If you follow what you love, what you’re passionate about, you will be successful. I learned that from Dad. And his countless talks about getting our university degree! Most importantly: Even if something is difficult, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.”
Close father-son relationship
It’s very clear Arnold Schwarzenegger and his oldest son have a close relationship. Even though many people will undoubtedly imagine that he has the exorbitant lifestyle of a Hollywood film star, where the kids are left to nannies and expensive private schools, Patrick and his siblings have grown up with a father who has always been there for them. Also when it’s about the small things.
“It’s a little story about trust. But I was very pleased when Patrick was small and came to me and asked me to cut his hair. Even when he grew up and went to a professional hairdresser, he came back and said it wasn’t good,” says Arnold Schwarzenegger.
And Patrick Schwarzenegger still hasn’t finished with his father’s hair-cutting skills. “A a few years ago, when I acted in the National Geographic mini-series The Long Road Home, I needed to have a military-style haircut. So before shooting started, I went home to dad, so he could cut my hair.”
But according to Arnold Schwarzenegger, he kept it long enough so that the stylist on the film crew still had something to do. “But Patrick is one of those people who understands fashion and beauty products. He also has massages and gets his nails done professionally,” laughs Arnold Schwarzenegger who thinks it must be a trait he has learnt from his mother.
The close father-son relationship has also been crucial for Patrick Schwarzenegger’s career choices. First with the business world and later on, with acting. Because some of his best childhood memories from the years when Arnold had a son with him on the different filming locations. “We travelled a lot too – I remember Christmas holidays very vividly, when we skied during the day and talked about business opportunities in the evening” says Patrick.