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Interview With Leah Rozen

Aired August 8, 2003 - 20:50   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Arnold Schwarzenegger is the marquee candidate in the California recall race. But what will the other starring roles telling us about the man who would be governor, and whether there might be some movie skeletons in his closet?
Here to discuss Schwarzenegger's onscreen and offscreen history, I'm joined by "People" magazine's Leah Rozen.

Leah, thanks very much for joining us.

I'm sure he never thought, at least in a lot of these movies, he'd be running for political office. But are there elements there that really could embarrass him?

LEAH ROZEN, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Well, yes. They're -- although I think, you know, he certainly -- it is out there on the record, he knows it is there. But there's the famous scene in "Pumping Iron," apparently in the sort of rereleased on cable version, where he smokes a joint. And he's talked about it. He said he didn't ask the director to cut it. You know, he said that was the 1970s. I smoked, I did inhale. But he said, I haven't done it since, (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

BLITZER: As you know, California politics can get ugly. There is two months before the recall election. Are there specific films in which he takes a position, let's say, beyond the joint, the marijuana, that could be used to embarrass him, to contradict some of his stance, stances he's taking right now?

ROZEN: Well, I think just one of the big question is the violence, the use of violence. I mean, you know, his films are full of it. It is not just -- Ronald Reagan may have shot somebody in a movie. But, I mean, Arnold plowed down hundreds, and with major, major weaponry.

BLITZER: All of us remember Ronald Reagan had the chimp he had to deal with when he was running for governor of California.

ROZEN: Bonzo.

BLITZER: And then, of course, when he ran for president of the United States. But Arnold Schwarzenegger has Conan the Barbarian.

ROZEN: Well, yes. Do you really want your future governor running around in a little breachclout? And, you know, that's pretty much all he's wearing. It is also an extremely violent movie, if you watch it. But I think "Conan," it's going to be -- I mean, you can just see his opponents putting that footage up and making fun of him.

BLITZER: Those images, and we're seeing them right now, pretty hilarious when you look at it. There is another movie he made that was called "Twins," I remember that movie. Talk a little bit about that.

ROZEN: Well, this would be the movie in which I think you'd have to say he comes out in favor of genetic engineering as the result of some genetic experiment. He and Danny DeVito are twins, dissimilar as they may be. So you sort of go, Does this -- well, you have to question his grasp of science if you're basing it on the films he's made, between that and "Junior," in which he was pregnant.

BLITZER: I loved the movie "Twins", I thought it was hysterical. You know, the other movie I really loved that he made, a lot of them I loved, but "Kindergarten Cop," that was a wonderful movie.

ROZEN: Well, "Kindergarten Cop" was indeed a lot of fun and very successful for him. But you have to ask, well, you're in favor of education, you're in favor of children. How come you're bringing a gun into the middle of a kindergarten class? Isn't that just a little scary?

BLITZER: The -- but the movie shows a kindler, gentler, more side of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

ROZEN: It humanized him after his cyborg turn as a -- as the Terminator.

BLITZER: It was a nice movie. What about Mr. Freeze in "Batman and Robin"? That was a movie that you and a lot of others did not say was one of his better ones.

ROZEN: Well, it certainly isn't one of the top of the Batman series. But he played the villain. You know, do you want a governor -- I mean, Arnold, do you want him playing a bad guy? You think of him as a good guy, and in this one, he played a bad guy. Then again, as Mr. Freeze, possibly he was anticipating freezing taxes and things like that?

BLITZER: There was some good news. There's one movie in particular that you think that when it comes back now, given the current political environment, that he would be happy about.

ROZEN: Well, that would be "The Running Man." How did he know 20 years ago that, you know, he picked the perfect title for exactly what he was going to do?

BLITZER: Now, what did you think of that movie, "The Running Man"?

ROZEN: Oh, "The Running Man" is a pretty much a typical Arnold movie. He blows away a whole lot of people, runs around, is a tough guy.

BLITZER: Don't you think California voters, though, are smart enough, sophisticated enough, to understand there's a different Arnold Schwarzenegger on the screen as opposed to the real-life now politician?

ROZEN: I guess they have to ask the Michigan voters who voted for Jesse Ventura.

BLITZER: The Minnesota voters.

ROZEN: Minnesota. I'm sorry. One of the M states. I think with Arnold, yes, I think they can make the distinction. But how much is there that glamour factor? How much are you sort of going, Oh, we can have one of the world's biggest movie stars as our governor?

BLITZER: Leah Rozen of "People" magazine, thanks very much for joining us.

ROZEN: Thank you.


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