“I have not seen him for years, but this year was exceptional. We met at Andy Vajna’s two funerals – the first time in Budapest this January, followed by a few weeks later in Los Angeles. After the sad event, he promised to give me a long interview for my new book. And a few days later, he called me on FaceTime; a few hours later, we arranged a meeting at his residence.” Anikó Návai did an interview with the world-famous Hollywood actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
During the 2.5-hour-long interview, the world-famous actor did not hide his emotions. Arnold Schwarzenegger has never denied, in fact, he has always been proud, to have Andy Vajna to thank for his career.
“Andy was a fantastic person. It was very useful for the country that the Hungarian National Film Fund was led by him – several foreign productions were lured to Budapest, numerous jobs were created, and it also enhanced the economy as well. I spent three months in Hungary while shooting the film, and I really enjoyed our shared dinners – the goulash and Wiener schnitzel he prepared. He was a great cook. Few months after we said goodbye, he died unexpectedly. I could not believe it, Andy would have deserved to live much longer, and the film industry would have also deserved to have him around for a longer time. I am terribly sad that he passed away, he was an extremely important person in my life,” said the world-famous Hollywood actor.
“During the shooting of Red Heat, Hungary was a Communist country, there was no freedom.”
“Budapest is a wonderful city. One of the most beautiful cities in the world. I used to say it in the Austrian capital as well that Budapest is much better than Vienna. Which is a big word from an Austrian, isn’t it?”
“The Viennese are not happy to hear that, but that is the truth. Hungarians behave very politely with foreign filmmakers – they do their best to please them. The film staffs are great, and the tax benefits are also favourable. They also help with everything.”
“I would absolutely recommend Hungary as a filming location.”
“Sure, they are. Getting older is not easy. Especially for me – when I look in the mirror and I recall the years of being Mr Universe and Mr Olympia; the time when I was able to push out 300 kg and could lift 400 kg. At this age, my body is far from this achievement. Ok, I am 72 years old, but it makes me sad that I was once at the top, and I cannot be there anymore. Of course, I do sports every day; however, it is medically proven that by ageing, a man has less testosterone in his body, and it takes much longer to build muscle. And my health is not the same either. I need to take care of my heart. As one gets older, pain is an inevitable factor. However, I am thankful that I am still in good shape, and I can do sports every day. In the morning, I always go to cycle in the fitness room. It was funny when we sat down with the film director to discuss where I need stunt doubles. Nowhere if it is possible, I answered. But then I needed to work extremely hard, including cardio training and armed workout as well. If you remember, you know that the Terminator does not blink when someone is firing at him, I had to practice this as well. All in all, I am fine, thank you, really fine.”