“We do what we do because we want to entertain”

It is difficult to have Arnold Schwarzenegger in front of you and not come across your whole life of love for cinema, partly founded, of course, by this legend, by this enormous name that even today does not stop its march and that will soon be on Netflix with his first series, Fubar. At his side, his co-star, Mónica Bárbaro, who, nothing more and nothing less, was part of Top Gun: Maverick, the movie with Tom Cruise that destroys, what a coherence, that the artists of the 80s have more to offer than jokes about his longevity and was something closer to defending a cinema and a popular story that did not seem designed by artificial intelligence (for example, Disney post Avengers: Endgame without James Gunn). Arnold (sorry for the confidence, but he’s almost a guy for those of us who love a certain form of cinema and consider his presence in the foundational popular imagination of our way of seeing the world) is now celebrating the upcoming premiere of Fubar, by Nick Santoro, a series which, in the vein of True Lies, uses action and family lies to shake up and make the action film formula, of the action series, effervescent again. A father, Arnold, discovers that his daughter, Bárbaro, is not -just like him- who he says he is: this little turn rearranges the world of the genre that Arnold and other indestructibles founded in the 80s and even knew how to turn into caricatures and have a second life. Arnold celebrates this series exclusively for PROFILE: “What is beautiful, what has happened, is that everyone responds to that dynamic. Everyone loves the series: for us, whether it’s on film or television, the important thing is that it is understood that we do what we do because we want to entertain people. I know that perhaps now that idea is not celebrated so much, but that has been my life: entertaining. May they be happy watching a movie. That’s why the action, that’s why the difficult filming, that’s why the effort. And to have a series that feels so universal is a lot. I have lived long enough and still, the love I received from your work is never something that is taken for granted.

—What do you love about action movies and when did you understand you could be your world?

MÓNICA BÁRBARO: I have loved action movies my whole life. I grew up in the 90s and my brother would not stop watching action movies. Everything you could imagine, he saw. And of course, me too. In whatever quality it was, wherever it was. And going to the movies was what we did on the weekends. As you well know, action movies were a huge thing when we were growing up, and going to the movies itself was very common, very frequent, tremendously popular. What I had never imagined is that perhaps action cinema had something in its future, it had a corner for me. That was a surprise in my career. From the first series I did, everything began to point to the fact that putting my body into action, in the genre, was something that was going to define my career. And I love throwing myself 1000% into a project, and few genres in movies or series ask you as much as action.

—Arnold, few people like you can understand that you were part of almost the foundation of a genre. At what point in your career did you feel like you had gone from “barely being able to work” to realizing that perhaps you were part of building cinema as a legend?

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: First of all, thank you very much. When I was a kid, I was very drawn to action movies, American cowboy action movies. Clint Eastwood, Gary Cooper, John Wayne… these names were my heroes. It was impressive to see them on a movie screen, it was to see something that only the cinema could convey. Later I would discover the expression “larger than life”, which refers to the icon, the actor who transcends -and at the same time not- the film that contains it, which becomes, as they said, the material dreams are made of. But then something happened: not only did he find legends, heroes, these men with cool morals and who stomped their feet; That’s when I discovered the world of movies with characters like Hercules. These enormous actors, giants, who worked their bodies so much that they were not only able to be on a screen, but also verse like other legends, like legends of yesteryear, from other media. It was a lot, but also, unlike Eastwood, Cooper, Wayne, it gave me the chance to be like them. I mean, I was never going to talk like Wayne, but I could see myself as Hercules. And there I began the work, the hard work, a lot, a lot, that was done under two events: the fantasy of success but also the vision keys, the possibility of understanding, that he was there. I wanted to be one of those names. And that dream drove me: I wanted to get there. One day I could be Mr. Universe, and since that bodybuilding feat, I was asked to be in a movie. I cannot explain, to this day, the joy it was to feel that this dream was a reality, that it finally made it to the cinema. Everything I had proposed, there it was. But there came the fear: what would become of me in the cinema?

—What would you say then that happened to you in the cinema?

S: My body, my work, everything pointed to my dream and vision. The joy was pure: all the effort had led to where I wanted, to make action movies, one after the other. I was fascinated. My job now was to make movies, it was what I dreamed of as a child. Of course there were nerves, but I was never afraid to work, to push myself to comply. And there I feel that there is something that has defined me. But you asked me for a moment, and I think that moment came when Conan the barbarian started to be something out of the norm, and we started traveling around the world, there were miles in every theater, everywhere, and the tickets weren’t there. They stopped selling out. If I had only done Conan, I already felt fulfilled. Imagine then when other titles appear… imagine when titles that today are classics of classics appear, like Terminator. How do you deal with it? With Command, and many more: it’s difficult, and I’m not saying it as a problem but as a horizon, when your reality goes far beyond what you expected.

—And now you arrive at the universe of the series?

S: Yes, now I get a new medium, which continues to be the new big thing, never stopping speaking out of my love of film. Because it’s easy to think that I wanted what I achieved, but all of that stems from the love I have for what a character can move on a movie screen. Without it, there was no bodybuilding, or success on the screens. Then, the series appear, where you can talk differently with the characters. And here we are with Nick Santoro and his Fubar, a series that takes advantage of the fact that series are the new big thing. It is again a dream come true.

An evolution to the formula

—From Fubar’s story, the action comedy based on a father who discovers his daughter is, like him, an undercover agent, what did you feel when you rediscovered your love for stories, for telling?

MÓNICA BÁRBARO: I love that the fact of a father and a daughter is the epicenter of an action comedy, or an action comedy series. It seems simple, but it says a lot about how things have changed. I feel that the father and daughter bond led to action, but with the same proposals that Fubar presents. All of this led to the intensity of the action, which in itself implies laughing, it’s like Trojan putting medicine in food. I love that about the stories, and I love that it is pure action.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: The relationship between our characters. That’s what any good movie is about. About characters and a world. Without it, you have nothing. He did learn that. Everyone thinks they’re a big action star, ok but how do you make that fun today? It doesn’t bother me to laugh at myself, but I love making an action movie, and when you represent, like it or not, so many things on screen, how do you do something new? So what if you can fight an army in the jungle but you can’t fight with the thought that your daughter is mad at you? It seemed like a brilliant thing to me: your biggest problem is the most common of all. You come home and you’re not the last great hero. Being a CIA spy and not knowing how to deal with a home, with a daughter that he adores but that he completely discovers. I find it very funny.

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