Roman Polanski and actress Emmanuelle Seigner at the screening of Venus in Fur in Cannes (Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
Schwarzenegger: “I’ll be back (to the UK)”
Arnold Schwarzenegger in London
Arnold Schwarzenegger promised us he’d return to the UK at a party last night in London. In town to promote his new book, he attended the bash to celebrate his big screen comeback with The Last Stand. Taking to the stage, he told guests he’d leapt at the chance to plug the film and would be back when it was released in January. “I’ll be back!” he joked as the crowd cheered. “I’m very proud of the movie,” he said, before adding rather unnecessarily, “I'm a big believer in marketing and promotion”.
Credit to the man, his delivery is faultless. With a wide beam and a happy twinkle in his eye, he talked about his former role as the Governor of California, when his movie millions meant he told the authorities they could keep their cash. “I didn't take a penny of my salary during my terms… After all, it was petty cash!” Sounds pretty arrogant, but it drew a good-natured laugh on the night. Who says the man can’t act?
Once off the stage, the chaos really kicked in. The invite asking us to join Arnie, “for drinks to celebrate The Last Stand” had not only gone out to, ahem, select journalists but to Royal Marines and celebrities like Chris Eubank, who was eagerly hovering around the stage. Everyone wanted their Arnold moment – including me. I’d told my friends I’d be meeting The Terminator and goddammit I would. Not many celebrity encounters get us excited these days but whatever you think of him, this guy’s a megastar.
Elbows out, I stood my ground in the swelling crowd and followed the sway as he posed for photos, grinned at fans and listened patiently to whatever little routine they’d prepared. Mindful of the Guv’s time, I decided to keep it short and sweet and just introduced myself and complimented him on his speech. If I was worried about being the one rendered speechless, I needn’t have been – Arnie looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights as he stared at me, clasping my hand in his undeniably huge one (though if he was ever 6 foot 2 as claimed, he certainly isn’t now).
While I’d love to credit my charisma, I’m pretty sure the 65-year-old was beginning to feel a little overwhelmed by all the flashing cameras and heaving crowds. But the pro pressed on and I returned to my friends at the bar, where we could have a nice chat without getting trodden on. Not much of an Arnie moment but still, he’ll be back.