Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “I’ll be back” from 1984’s The terminator. According to the actor, however, director James Cameron had to push him to say it.
What did Arnold Schwarzenegger think of his line in Terminator?
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in a profile on the actor, Schwarzenegger was asked about the legendary catchphrase. The actor said that when they were filming it, he and director James Cameron got into a bit of an exchange over it. Apparently, Schwarzenegger wanted to say “I will be back” instead of “I’ll be back.”
“I think about how it was an accident,” said Schwarzenegger when asked about what he thinks about the line. “[Terminator director] Jim Cameron and I were debating how to say the line because I was not comfortable with saying “I’ll.” I said, “I think it’s stronger to say, ‘I will be back.’ ” Cameron said, “Are you the scriptwriter now? It’s just one word. Don’t tell me how to write. I don’t tell you how to act.” I said, “You tell me how to act every f—— minute! What are you talking about?!’”
Schwarzenegger went on to note that Cameron explained to him that, what makes the line great was how he delivered it.
“So he says, ‘Arnold, you think it sounds weird. It doesn’t. What makes it great is that you sound different than me or Charlie over there. That’s what makes it work. So just say it 10 times. Say it different ways. I’ll keep rolling the camera. Then we’ll choose one,’” Schwarzenegger said. “So they set it up, and I say: ‘(Flatly) I’ll be back … (cheerful) I’ll be back! … (guttural) I’ll beeee baaaack …’ It sounded stupid.”
The actor went on to joke that now, people ask him to say the line all the time, and he has no problem doing so.
“The movie comes out. I’m in Central Park. This guy comes up and says, ‘Say the line!’ … Now, a few days ago, I was skiing in Aspen, and the concierge comes up asking me to say the line,” said Schwarzenegger. “So that’s where it started and where it ended up. It’s wild. I’m the last one to get complicated and say, ‘I don’t want to compare myself to my movies or use a line from my movies.’ Hell, Clint Eastwood takes the clothes from his movies and that’s all he wears. So why would I be worried about using a line?”