Returning to what he does best (i.e., saying little and kicking butt), the aging Terminator has signed on to star in Warner Bros.' remake of Michael Crichton's cult classic sci-fi Western Westworld. Schwarzenegger will be stepping into the boots worn by screen legend Yul Brynner.
In the film, Schwarzenegger will play (gasp!) an outlaw cyborg programmed to be killed by rich gunslinging vacationers in a futuristic fantasy amusement park. But, after a short-circuit causes him to go haywire, the rogue robot ends up going on a rampage and terminating the tourists instead.
"I am very excited to be working on Westworld," Schwarzenegger said in a statement. "I loved the original film when I saw it in 1973 and have wanted to remake it for several years. After following the project for some time, I am really thrilled it has finally come together at Warner Bros."
Warner Bros. is banking a revival of Westworld will put into operation another blockbuster franchise for the studio, which has already got two more Matrix flicks in the pipeline, the Harry Potter series, comic book heroes like Batman and Superman and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, in which Schwarzenegger will reprise his most famous robotic role. With a $180 million mega-budget, T3's scheduled to start filming in April with U-571 director Jonathan Mostow at the helm and hit theaters in summer 2003.
Warner Bros.' president of worldwide production Lorenzo di Bonoventura says Schwarzenegger's participation is a "great credit to the studio."
"We couldn't be happier to present Arnold in the highly anticipated Terminator franchise, immediately followed by the remake of Westworld," he said in a statement.
The franchise-happy Warner Bros. is also looking for more projects for the monosyllabic action star, including re-engerizing another sequel.
The 54-year-old Schwarzenegger--who has struggled for a hit film in recent years and reportedly even contemplated giving up acting for politics--will be back for one last installment of Conan the Barbarian, the fantasy franchise that launched his career.
Written by John Milius (who directed and coscripted the 1982 original with Oliver Stone), the new Conan flick will purportedly match the aging Arnold with a younger swordsman as they battle the forces of evil. Coincidentally, Matrix directors Larry and Andy Wachowski are rumored to be helping Milius write the story, which will continue the epic tale of a slave who grows up seeking revenge on the warlord who massacred Conan's tribe.
Schwarzenegger is expected to segue into Conan once he's finished with Westworld, which Warners has fast-tracked to begin shooting in either late 2002 or early 2003 .