Arnold Schwarzenegger said he did not take a salary on 'Twins' so he could prove to Hollywood he could do comedy

UniversalArnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito in ‘Twins.’
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger told Business Insider the only way he could prove to Hollywood that he could do comedy was to not take a salary on the 1988 movie “Twins.”
  • It went on to be the first movie of his career to make $US100 million domestically.
  • Schwarzenegger’s love for lighthearted material is one of the reasons he’s involved in “Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten,” Lee’s final project he created before his death last year.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

By the late 1980s, Arnold Schwarzenegger had solidified himself as one of the biggest action stars in Hollywood with movies like “Conan the Barbarian,” “The Terminator,” “Commando,” “Predator,” and “The Running Man.” But it was his first crack at comedy with 1988’s “Twins” that scored him his first $US100 million movie at the US box office.

And he didn’t take a salary so he could be in it.

While promoting the announcement of his next starring effort – voicing the lead in the animated series “Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten,” Lee’s final project he created before his death last year and Schwarzenegger’s first time starring in an animated show – the actor recalled how difficult it was to persuade Hollywood to let him do anything other than action movies when he was becoming a superstar.

“They were like, ‘No, we know we are going to make money with you if you do action movies,'” he told Business Insider.

So Schwarzenegger decided to take a drastic step.

“Literally for ‘Twins’ I took no salary – I just wanted to give it a shot,” he said, talking about the classic comedy in which he and Danny DeVito play twins separated at birth who reunite as adults, both living very different lives. “And it just happened to be my first movie to make $US100 million domestic. So they realised that it works, Schwarzenegger can cross over.”

Genius Brands   Superhero Kindergarten 2Genius Brands InternationalSchwarzenegger will voice the lead character in ‘Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten.’

It’s likely Schwarzenegger had a back-end deal on the movie, so he probably made out well despite passing on a salary. (“Twins” made $US111.9 million domestically, which in today’s ticket sales would be about $US250 million.) And the success led to him make “Kindergarten Cop,” which also became a comedy classic, two years later.

Though some comedies Schwarzenegger made after, like “Jingle All the Way” and “Junior,” were not as well received, he said he never lost interest in doing lighthearted fare, and that led to him and Lee teaming up.


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“We would get together every so often and talk about ideas and projects,” Schwarzenegger said. “And he asked me, ‘What is your ultimate dream project?’ And I said beside doing more ‘Conan’ and ‘Terminator’ movies, the movie that I always wanted to do a sequel of was ‘Kindergarten Cop.’ And he said that he loved that movie. I told him I would love to do more shows for the kids.”

“Superhero Kindergarten” is what came out of those talks. Schwarzenegger will play a former superhero named Arnold Armstrong who is now a kindergarten teacher tasked with teaching kids with newly discovered superpowers how to use them for good.

“Superhero Kindergarten” currently doesn’t have an air date.

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