At one time, Arnold Schwarzenegger was so focused on his acting career that he desperately tried to ditch his accent. In fact, The Austrian Oak went so far as to hire an accent removal coach. He was afraid that he would not get any acting roles because of it.
“I had an English coach and an acting coach and a speech coach and an accent-removal coach, who has passed away since then, but I should have otherwise gotten my money back,” Schwarzenegger, 76, said while appearing on British talk show The Graham Norton Show in October. He was referring to the strong Austrian accent — which he still has today.
The “bottom line,” according to Schwarzenegger, was that he “worked on” getting rid of it, according to Us Magazine.
“I remember he’d say, ‘You know you always say s-ree. It’s three, with a T-H.’ So, he had me say, ‘Three thousand three hundred and thirty-three and one-third,’ with the T-H and not with the S,” Schwarzenegger shared. Then he joked that “after 5,000 years” he finally got it right.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Remembers People Talking About His Accent
He also remembered that “Hollywood producers and the directors” telling him that the accent was “an obstacle” but he still found success — thanks to roles like Conan the Barbarian and Terminator. Accent or without an accent, or no accent, the actor recalled Conan the Barbarian director John Milius publicly praising his portrayal of the role because “I was the only one that had the muscles to play that character.”
Director James Cameron credited Schwarzenegger’s accent with the success of the first Terminator, which was released in 1984. It would start up the entire Terminator franchise and birthed the film franchise.
While Schwarzenegger eventually made his way to the United States, the actor grew up in Austria — hence the accent. When he married Maria Shriver in 1986 and they started having kids, he adopted a “strict” parenting style — similar, yet different, to what he experienced as a kid.
“For the way I grew up, I was lenient,” Schwarzenegger shared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! earlier this month. “But I think for American standards, probably strict.”
What else would Schwarzenegger say helped him reach success in movies? Would you believe that he credits an over-the-top skit by Saturday Night Live cast members Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon? The two actors would turn into Hans and Franz, a couple of bodybuilders.
In the sketch, you can find the guys creating an illusion of muscles. When we see them, they are always wearing drab gray sweatsuits and weight belts. Then they start talking, all while speaking with over-the-top Austrian accents. The set features life-sized cutouts of Schwarzenegger during his competitive years, adding to the oiled-up ambiance.
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