Though known for his impressive physique, Arnold Schwarzenegger recently shared that his muscular frame was initially a roadblock in his budding acting career.
On Rob Lowe’s “Literally!” podcast, Schwarzenegger opened up about facing challenges while shifting from bodybuilding to acting. He noted that during his early days, leading actors such as Clint Eastwood and Robert De Niro had a leaner, more natural physique, unlike his muscular build.
“In the ’70s, when I expressed my desire to enter films, the industry insiders doubted me, saying it was an impossible dream,” Schwarzenegger mentioned.
He reminisced about a time when popular actors would exercise in private. Sharing an anecdote, he mentioned how Eastwood once advised him to suggest they were “naturally” fit, masking the effort behind their physiques.
“Large muscles aren’t in demand,” the star of “Terminator” remembered critics saying. “You’re carrying an extra 100 pounds, it won’t work.”
However, the landscape changed with the 1977 documentary “Pumping Iron,” catapulting Schwarzenegger into international fame and inspiring countless others.
“Bodybuilding suddenly became the trend,” Schwarzenegger observed. “Having a heroic appearance meant having muscles. This trend skyrocketed in the ’80s, with stars like Stallone, Van Damme, Lundgren, and me leading films.”
He added, “Nowadays, fans are curious about a celebrity’s fitness routine. They’re eager to learn about The Rock’s workouts or my gym visits.”
Lowe chimed in, “You set the precedent. Today, a Marvel role almost demands an imposing physique.”
Perhaps he paved the way too effectively. Actors like Will Poulter from Marvel have voiced concerns over the rigorous body standards, highlighting the associated pressures and objectification for such roles.