Schwarzenegger On How Crusade Failed

Arnie explains Verhoeven's folly

Elsewhere in our mammoth Arnie feature in this month's Empire, The Austrian Oak tells us about how his Total Recall director, Paul Verhoeven, got so close to making his passion project, Crusade – described by some as part Spartacus, part Conan – before it all fell apart.

Not shying away from the anti-semitism and anti-arabian sentiments of the crusaders in question, it was going to be full-on, frank, vintage Verhoeven, with sets already built in Spain and cast ready to roll – including Robert Duvall, Jennifer Connelly, John Turturro, and Christopher McDonald – before it all disappeared into a lick of development hellfire.

"It was all written and ready to go but then Paul started going crazy. We had the final meeting with the studio and we were all sitting at this boardroom table. They said, 'So the budget is $100 million. That's a lot of money. What kind of guarantees do you have that we will get it for 100 and it won't go up to 130?'"

"He says, 'What do you mean, guarantees'?" booms Schwarzenegger, imitating the Dutch firebrand auteur. "There's no such thing as guarantees! Guarantees don't happen and if anyone promises you guarantees, they're lying! We don't even know that if you want out of the building here you won't get hit by a truck. There's no guarantee that we're going to make it 'til tomorrow! I cannot have ocntrol over God – I don't even believe in God, why am I talking about God? But someone, nature, could just rain for three months and then what do we do? How can I give you a guarantee? This is ludicrous!"

"I kept kicking him under the table and trying to tell him to shut up while we're ahead," Arnie adds. "But he just wouldn't, and that was it. That was the end of that movie. Paul always tried to be honest, but you can be a little bit selective about when to be honest and when to just move on with the project. It was a shame."

For much, much, much more Schwarzenegger goodness, be sure to get your hands on the latest issue of Empire (out Thursday September 27), which also boasts a detailed analysis of both Predator and Commando (from the people who made them) as well as tales from Arnie sets in the form of 'Arnie Killed Me!' and plenty more besides.