To land this iconic role, Arnold Schwarzenegger had to bulk up and bite a dead vulture

Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t think twice about changing his appearance or putting a dead vulture in his mouth to become a movie star. Arnold Schwarzenegger is unquestionably one of the most well-known action performers of his period. Schwarzenegger was an iconic action hero of the 1980s and 1990s, appearing in films such as The Terminator, Predator, Total Recall, and others that grossed more than $100 million at the box office. Given that Schwarzenegger was well-known on the bodybuilding and competition circuit, a vocation that he did not want for any of his sons, many assumed it was where he wanted to focus all of his energies. But becoming a bodybuilder or Mr. Olympia was never the end aim for the future California governor. Instead, he had always wished to come to America and become a movie star. Competitions were merely a means to an aim.

The competitions paid off since they brought Schwarzenegger to the attention of producers wanting to cast the lead part in Conan the Barbarian. In reality, it was a documentary called Pumping Iron, which featured Schwarzenegger and demonstrated his unmistakable screen presence, that sealed Schwarzenegger’s casting as Conan. But, in order to get the part, Schwarzenegger had to bulk up and agree to bite a dead vulture. Things Schwarzenegger consented to in order to realize his dream of becoming a Hollywood star.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was cast in ‘Conan The Barbarian’ because of his physical appearance.
Because of his appearance, Schwarzenegger was cast in Conan the Barbarian. However, this did not imply that the Kindergarten Cop star’s physique did not need to be altered in order to bring the character to life. This meant that instead of working out and dieting like a bodybuilder, Mr. Olympia had to become a barbarian. Schwarzenegger’s first major picture collaboration was with director John Milius. As a result, Schwarzenegger looked up to Milius and followed his lead without question.

Milius wanted “Schwarzenegger to look more athletic… the Austrian had to undergo an 18-month training regime that included running, weight-lifting, horseback riding, rope climbing, and swimming.” All of this was done happily by Schwarzenegger, who appreciated Milius’ commitment to the project. “Working with [director and co-writer] John Milius was fantastic, because he was so hard-core,” Schwarzenegger said. “But it’s true that he thought I looked too much like a bodybuilder; I needed to lose some of the cuts because I had just won Mr. Olympia and was far too ripped to be a barbarian.” So he encouraged me to eat normally and not diet; I allowed my body fat level reach around 12%.” By taking on the major role in Conan the Barbarian, Schwarzenegger agreed to do more than just change his appearance. To make the part realistic on the big screen, he had to become a little brutal.

Why Did Arnold Schwarzenegger Feel the Need to Bite a Dead Vulture?
Conan the Barbarian fans will recall a moment in which he appears to bite a vulture. Most people would assume this was a special effect, because what actor would perform this stunt? There were no special effects, so Schwarzenegger took on the chore of putting a vulture’s head, lice and all, in his mouth. “It’s true that I had to bite a real dead vulture because they couldn’t make one that looked good in a close-up back then,” Schwarzenegger stated on Reddit. “They soaked it in alcohol to kill bacteria and then dried it.” It was still infested with lice.” While the experience was not quite as terrible because the vulture was already dead as opposed to going after a live one, there aren’t many actors who would risk their health to acquire a shot. But Schwarzenegger was adamant about realizing his dream of becoming a Hollywood celebrity, which is exactly what happened after Conan the Barbarian entered theaters.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Career As An Action Star Began With ‘Conan The Barbarian’
Many consider The Terminator to be the film that established Schwarzenegger as a true action star. But, without Conan the Barbarian demonstrating Schwarzenegger’s strength and ability to deliver the lines he has in a convincing manner, The Terminator and following action pictures might not have existed. Schwarzenegger’s accent was thick when he was cast in Conan the Barbarian. Milius, on the other hand, saw it as an asset that would help Schwarzenegger stand out with moviegoers. As a result, he “went toe-to-toe with [producer] Dino De Laurentiis, who insisted on cutting much of Schwarzenegger’s dialogue due to his thick accent.” The end outcome of all their sacrifices was a hit.”

With Conan the Barbarian’s box office and critical success, Schwarzenegger demonstrated that he could “carry a movie on his own” as a virtual unknown. Conan the Destroyer was the result of this. While the sequel was not as popular as the first, it piqued the interest of James Cameron, who cast Schwarzenegger in The Terminator. As soon as this happened, Schwarzenegger went from being a solid action performer to an action superstar, making absurd demands for Terminator 3. This demonstrated how far Schwarzenegger had come in such a short period of time. Schwarzenegger’s career may not have taken off as soon as it did if it hadn’t been for his natural screen presence as a weight lifter and Milius’ belief in his ability to be an action star. While his career and personal life have taken many turns since then, Schwarzenegger will always be known as one of the original action stars, a disappearing species in this day and age.

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