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Arnold guns for another hit

Theater

Actor doubles as stuntman in new movie 'Eraser'

June 20, 1996
Web posted at: 10:25 p.m. EDT

From Correspondent Sherri Sylvester

(CNN) -- Arnold Schwarzenegger, standing in front of a camera, shooting double machine guns ... This is the kind of scene that has made the actor millions at the box office. It's also a scene from his latest movie, "Eraser," in which Schwarzenegger raises the stakes even higher by performing many of the dangerous stunts himself.

One such stunt involves an apparent free-fall from an airplane, with Schwarzenegger tumbling through flames from the plane on his way down. The fall was real, with the actor dropping 65 feet in front of a green screen. (663K QuickTime movie)

"Of course, what they do then, is put the computer-generated engine in afterwards, with the flames, because you wouldn't want to do a stunt like that towards burning engines," Schwarzenegger said with a smile. "I want to stay alive a little bit longer."

Filmstrip

However, it is hard to push the Austrian-born actor too far. Cast members say his energy on the set is endless, as is his drive to succeed. Schwarzenegger credits his achievements as a body-builder as the foundation for his current success. (136K AIFF or WAV sound)

"You learn how to visualize your goal and always know what you're going towards," he said.

On the set of "Eraser," however, the action didn't end with a 65-foot free-fall. There was also the matter of shooting into a huge reptile tank, releasing a mix of creatures both animatronic and alive.

"I would say that this was the most dangerous scene I did in this movie because they chained a real alligator -- a 14-foot alligator -- right next to my feet," Schwarzenegger said. "As soon as the lights started flickering and the director said 'action,' this alligator started spinning."

That's when the problems began, he said. "They thought the chain was strong enough to hold the alligator down, but they didn't think maybe the bolt is not strong enough, so the bolt broke out of the floor and the alligator was on the loose."

Schwarzenegger said luckily, there were four alligator trainers present to wrestle with the loose animal. He said he told the filmmakers he didn't mind doing stunts, but that was "going a little bit too far." (136K AIFF or WAV sound)

Perhaps Schwarzenegger's greatest stunt with "Eraser" will not even be done in front of the cameras. His goal with the film is to blow away the competition, and that includes an opening day match-up with Disney's latest, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."

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