Three years after returning to acting, the Republican and two-term California governor has plenty of praise for his Democratic successor, Jerry Brown.
In an interview while promoting his action movie "Sabotage," Schwarzenegger said he was impressed by the popular current governor's ability to work across party lines. Brown, 75, isn't expected to face strong competition as he runs for re-election in November.
Schwarzenegger, meanwhile, says he won't be running for anything. Though last year's "Escape Plan" and "The Last Stand" failed at the box office, the 66-year-old actor is committed to his Hollywood comeback.
He plays the vengeful leader of a DEA special operations team in the gritty, sometimes gruesome "Sabotage," out Friday. He'll be in this summer's "The Expendables 3," he's set to return to his cyborg assassin character in a new "Terminator" film that begins production next month, and he may make a sequel to his 1988 comedy "Twins."
Appearing relaxed in a green polo shirt at the "Sabotage" press junket, Schwarzenegger talked with The Associated Press recently about Brown, going dark for his latest character and the importance of making hit movies.
AP: How do you think California Gov. Jerry Brown has been doing? What do you think of his performance?
Schwarzenegger: I think that he has a very challenging job. I know. I was there myself. To bring the Democrats and the Republicans together and to please labor and to please also the business community, to please the people that provide energy and to please the environmentalists—I mean there's so many conflicting kind of characters up there. And I think that he has done as good a job as you can do under those circumstances. And the state is doing well. He doesn't do everything the way I would do it. And I would not do the same things that he does because I'm a Republican, he's a Democrat. But the fact of the matter is that it doesn't matter what party you come from. The key thing is that you work on behalf of the people rather than on behalf of the party. And I think that he has done a good job with that.
AP: Can you see yourself running for elected office again?
Schwarzenegger: No. I have no interest in running for anything. I've done that. I never wanted to be a career politician. I always am interested just to take on challenges that everyone says are impossible to do and to take it on. Right now I'm back into acting. I said 'I'll be back' and I'm back. And that's what I love to do.
AP: You shot this movie about a year after leaving office. When you're on the set, how much are you still dealing with politics?
Schwarzenegger: I have an assistant who will block all phone calls so that I can work and really focus on the film. ... I can multitask very well. But I know exactly when to block off anything coming in from the outside and just stay focused on the film.
AP: Have you ever played this dark before?
Schwarzenegger: No. I don't remember ever doing any role that was ... as dark as this character was. I mean, in 'End of Days' I think I played a little bit of a dark character but I think this one was by far the darkest and also the most complex character, with his own faults and his own twisted way of thinking.
AP: Your last few films have not done well in the U.S. but have done pretty well internationally. How important is it to you that this film and future films be a success at the box office?
Schwarzenegger: I mean, we all like to be successful. And you want to make sure that everyone loves what you do. So this is very important. Now do you ever have a guarantee? No, because this is what makes life so wonderful. I like to have no safety net. I don't like to have guarantees. I think every time you do something, I like the idea of being out there, raw, and kind of like let the people be the judge. And you take the consequences. Sometimes you don't choose the right script or sometimes you don't choose the right character. And other times you do.
AP: Are we doing enough with what's going on with Russia and Crimea?
Schwarzenegger: Well I don't get involved in this foreign policy stuff. But I think what they all need now is to just stop whatever they're doing and watch the movie 'Sabotage.'
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Ryan Pearson on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ryanwrd