Movie Reviews

Arnold Schwarzeneggers Only 2 Villain Roles Could Not Be More Different From Each Other

Summary

  • Schwarzenegger has only played two villains in his career: T-800 in The Terminator and Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin.
  • Despite his massive success as a heroic lead, Schwarzenegger’s performances as a villain in these roles remain iconic.
  • Schwarzenegger’s reluctance to play villains stemmed from a concern about losing favor with his audience, but he still made an impact in these roles.



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Despite starring in nearly 80 feature films and television shows, Arnold Schwarzenegger has only played two villains in his career. Schwarzenegger, who first appeared as Hercules in the 1970 adventure comedy Hercules in New York, has played several iconic heroes throughout his 54-year acting career. These include Conan in Conan the Barbarian (1982), Matrix in Commando (1985), Dutch in Predator (1987), John Kimble in Kindergarten Cop (1990), Harry in True Lies (1994), and Trench Mauser in The Expendables franchise (2010–2014).


As a result of Schwarzenegger’s trend to play action heroes and lead protagonists, he has surprisingly only played two villains throughout his career. As outstanding as Schwarzenegger has been as a franchise hero, he is equally talented as a villain, albeit underutilized. Although Schwarzenegger hasn’t appeared in a feature film since 2019’s Terminator: Dark Fate, he recently starred in the Netflix original series FUBAR in 2023 and has several movies in production, such as Kung Fury 2, Breakout, and Outrider.


Schwarzenegger’s Only Villain Roles Are The T-800 & Mr. Freeze

Schwarzenegger’s performance as Mr. Freeze remains iconic


Schwarzenegger has only played two onscreen villains before in films. The first was arguably his most famous role, T-800 in James Cameron’s The Terminator (1984), an antagonist who later becomes the hero in the critically acclaimed sequel, Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). Schwarzenegger’s second and only other villain role was Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin (1997), in which George Clooney played the Dark Knight, Chris O’Donnell played his sidekick Robin, and Uma Thurman played the villain Poison Ivy.

Although Batman & Robin is often considered to be far from the best Batman movie ever made, Schwarzenegger’s performance as Mr. Freeze remains iconic and is one of the best parts of the superhero movie. Even though Mr. Freeze was full of laughable quirks and goofy catchphrases, Schwarzenegger left an impression that was hard to forget. Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator was also unforgettable but for completely different reasons, acting as a relentless, seemingly unstoppable force programmed to kill.


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Why Arnold Schwarzenegger Has Only Played Two Villains In His Career

Schwarzenegger was concerned about losing the favor of his audience

Schwarzenegger was reluctant to play his first villain in The Terminator, famously refusing the project many times because he was concerned about losing the favor of his audience. According to Entertainment Weekly, “Cameron said that he’d shoot it in such a way that all the evil stuff that I do will be totally excused by audiences because I’m a cool machine. And so cool that some of the people will cheer.After the undeniable success of The Terminator, Schwarzenegger would return to his typical heroic roles throughout his career, with Mr. Freeze being the only other villain, who is so over-the-top and opposite of T-800, it’s hard to place the two antagonists in the same category.


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