Arnold Schwarzenegger revealed on “The Graham Norton Show” that he once hired an accent removal coach to try and do away with his thick Austrian accent for good. Aside from his jacked muscles, the action star’s accent is his most definitive quality as a performer.
“I had an English coach and an acting coach and a speech coach and an accent-removal coach, who has passed away since then, but I should have otherwise gotten my money back,” Schwarzenegger said while looking back on his early days trying to make it big in the industry. “The bottom line is, I worked on it. I remember he’d say, ‘You know you always say s-ree. It’s three, with a T-H.’ So he had me say, ‘Three thousand three hundred and thirty-three and one-third,’ with the T-H and not with the S.”
When Norton congratulated Schwarzenegger on being able to pronounce “three” without his Austrian accent, the actor joked: “After 5,000 years, right?”
“The funny thing was all the stuff that they said, the Hollywood producers and the directors and all the geniuses were saying this was an obstacle for me to become a leading man, became an asset,” Schwarzenegger added, noting that career-defining roles in “Conan the Barbarian” and “The Terminator” were bolstered by his thick accent.
“When I did ‘Terminator,’ Jim Cameron said, ‘What made Terminator work and why it became successful is because Schwarzenegger talks like a machine,’” Schwarzenegger recalled.
Schwarzenegger’s “Graham Norton” appearance also found the actor reflecting on his box office rivalry with Sylvester Stallone. The two actors emerged as action movie icons around the same time that Schwarzenegger released “The Terminator” and Stallone starred in “Rambo.”
“We were movie rivals, but we took the competitiveness to the extreme – we each had to have the best body, we had to kill more people in our films and we had to have the biggest guns,” Schwarzenegger said. “It got out of control and we tried to derail each other.”
“Then when we both invested in Planet Hollywood, we started flying around the world together to promote it and we became fantastic friends,” he continued. “He is a great human being and we are now inseparable.”
Moviegoers interested in Schwarzenegger’s career can watch his three-part Netflix documentary “Arnold,” now streaming.