A Newsweek interview and profile by Lloyd Grove portrays ex-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, now 63, as mired in "a titanic clash between human frailty and dazzling possibility."
“I feel terrific about where I am in my life, when I look back at what I’ve accomplished,” he says over a late lunch at London’s Savoy Hotel, his much-mimicked Teutonic rumble competing with a teatime pianist. “But I feel shitty when I look at myself in the mirror.”
It’s a jolt to hear Schwarzenegger—a five-time Mr. Universe and seven-time Mr. Olympia before he was Conan the Barbarian, the Terminator, and ultimately the Governator—musing about his own decay. Although his friend James Cameron, the director who cast him in True Lies and the Terminator movies, points out, “Arnold’s version of ‘shitty’ and everybody else’s at that age are two different things.”
Still strapping in shirtsleeves, a fine specimen of aging movie star, he has lost an inch and a half from his previous 6-foot-2 height, the 31-inch waist has ballooned to 36, and the vaunted 57-inch chest has shrunk by half a foot. The famous face is framed by eternally reddish-brown hair (the handiwork of his favorite Beverly Hills salon) and layered with a coat of tan; the blue eyes are notched by crow’s feet, the granite jaw draped by incipient folds of skin.
“I’m not competing, I’m not ripping off my shirt and trying to sell the body,” he tells me. “But when I stand in front of the mirror and really look, I wonder: What the fuck happened here? Jesus Christ. What a beating!”
After the jump: Schwarzenegger defends reducing the prison sentence of ex-Speaker Fabian Nunez's son.
“I understand people’s disappointments. I understand the parents’ anger. I would probably feel the same way,” Schwarzenegger tells me in his first public comment on the commutation, which he granted hours before leaving office, arguing that his friend’s son didn’t inflict the fatal wound. “My office definitely made a mistake in not notifying the parents beforehand … and I’m ultimately responsible.” But, Schwarzenegger adds, “I feel good about the decision … I happen to know the kid really well. I don’t apologize about it … There’s criticism out there. I think it’s just because of our working relationship and all that. It maybe was kind of saying, ‘That’s why he did it.’ Well, hello! I mean, of course you help a friend.”