With “Maggie,” Arnold Schwarzenegger is getting something he’s not used to: acclaim for his serious acting. In the zombie drama — not horror film, but an actual drama — he plays Walt, an unusually buff Midwestern dad watching over his teenage daughter (Abigail Breslin), who has been bitten by one of the undead and is gradually turning herself. It’s a rare case where his muscles and brawn won’t help, and for the onetime “Predator” star that was a real thrill.
Why it’s unusual: “It’s the most human story that I’ve done. It’s the most human character that I’ve played. It’s the most human zombie movie that was ever made. I can’t even [think of a zombie movie] that focused so much on people and the dilemma that this man is in. There is baggage that I bring to the movie, being an action hero and all of a sudden I can’t overcome this challenge and become very volatile as a character. That appealed to me.”
Doing drama: “It is very draining. The brain takes much more energy than the body does. … I remember when I was in the governor’s office, I was totally wiped out in the evening. It was the same here. It’s tough but at the same time you’re having such a great time doing it. You feel so passionate about the character and the movie is so fun to do. But you do get wiped out.”
His character’s reluctance to let his daughter be taken away: “Under normal circumstances she should have been quarantined, but as a father you can’t let that happen. You can’t just send someone to quarantine to get this painful shot and then she dies slowly. I could not let that happen as a dad. Therefore I protect her as much as I could.”
Low budgets: “’The Terminator’ was a small movie. We only had 6 ½ million dollars. Everyone had to do things way beyond what they do in a big studio movie. There’s a certain camaraderie that comes in, where the people behind the camera are as enthusiastic and passionate as you are in front of the camera.