The Last Stand - Arnold Schwarzenegger
Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) © 2012 Lions Gate Entertainmen, photo by Merrick Morton

He promised that he’d be back, and he didn’t lie – Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in his first action adventure, The Last Stand, since his stint as Governor of California.

Opening on January 18th, the actor portrays Ray Owens, the Sheriff of a sleepy border town, Sommerton Junction. But his peaceful existence is shattered when Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), a wanted drug kingpin, makes a deadly escape from a FBI prisoner convoy.

With the help of a ragtag group that includes his Deputies Sarah Torrance (Jaimie Alexander) and ‘Figgie’ (Luis Guzman), the town troublemaker, Frank Martinez (Rodrigo Santoro and an outlandish local museum owner named Lewis Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville), Ray soon discovers they must face Cortez and his lawless mercenaries alone.

After being Governor for so many years what was it like returning to the movies?

The Last Stand - Forest Whitaker and Arnold Schwarzenegger
Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) and Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) © 2012 Lions Gate Entertainment

When I got into the Governorship in 2003 I said I only would run the State for the seven years that were remaining, and then I would be back in the movie business.

The only thing is, when you have left the movie business for seven years it’s a scary thing to come back, because you don’t know if you’re accepted or not. There could be a whole new generation of action heroes that have come up in the meantime. Things change very quickly in our business.

I was very pleasantly surprised when I did the cameo in The Expendables, that there was such a positive reaction towards my appearance. Then Sly (Stallone) asked me to do the second Expendables and there was a bigger reaction. Instead of working 4 hours, I worked 4 days, so maybe on the next Expendables I’ll work 4 weeks.

But this is my first starring role and I’m very happy that I chose a movie where I could work with really talented people. Acting-wise I felt comfortable being back again. It’s like riding a bike, you click right back into it again.

What’s it like to make an action movie at your age?

The Last Stand - Arnold Schwarzenegger
Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) © 2012 Lions Gate Entertainmen

Aging sucks! I’m no different than you. We all go through the same trauma, we look in the mirror and say, ‘What happened?’ (he laughs)

But the great thing is if you do workout every day you stay in shape and you feel good. This movie was a perfect example, it required a lot of stunts and action and the director, (KIM Jee-woon), was fanatic about seeing as much as possible done by me. The stunt guys would take over only when it got really dangerous.

But when you’re 65 it’s different than when you’re 35. The great thing in the movie is that we’re not trying to play me as the 35-year-old action hero, but a guy that is about to retire and, all of a sudden, this challenge comes up where he needs to really get his act together.

While you were Governor, what did you miss about acting, and now that you’re back acting, what do you miss about politics?

The Last Stand - Johnny Knoxville and Arnold Schwarzenegger
Lewis Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville) helps Sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) let rip © 2012 Lions Gate Entertainment

I really didn’t miss anything. I think you get so engrossed in what you’re doing. It’s such a huge responsibility to run a State, especially when you have legislators that are somewhat out-of-control. To bring Democrats and Republicans together is always a miracle, because everyone is so stuck in their ideological corners. But it was the most gratifying and challenging thing that I’ve ever done.

After the seven years I did not look for another public service job, because I didn’t want to be a career politician, so I went back into the movie business. There’s not much to miss about being Governor. Jerry Brown is now trying to figure out how to make the budget work!

Arnold was asked to comment on the recent gun tragedies in the States and if he believes the violence in Hollywood movies must take some of the blame. Click below to listen to his answer.

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Want to hear what his co-stars think of Arnold?

Click below for Jaimie Alexander

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Click below for Johnny Knoxville

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Click below for Rodrigo Santoro

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Click below for Luis Guzman

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Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.