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What's next for Schwarzenegger?

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger walks through a crowd as people take pictures.

TEXT OF STORY

BOB MOON: A number of incumbents are getting set to finish their terms come January. One of those coming to terms with his future is California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. His recent appearance in the movie "The Expendables" has many wondering: Is Arnold returning to Hollywood?

April Dembosky reports.


APRIL DEMBOSKY: Last time we saw the Governator starring in a major motion picture was in "Terminator 3."

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: I'll drive.

Arnold Schwarzenegger made $30 million for that movie. But that was back in 2003. And now he's 63. It's not an age that would typically have Hollywood directors rushing to cast him behind a machine gun.

But producer Stephanie Austin can imagine a different cinematic future for Schwarzenegger.

STEPHANIE AUSTIN: He's reinvented himself time after time after time.

Austin worked with Schwarzenegger on "Terminator 2" and "True Lies." After his suit-and-cigar cameo in "The Expendables," she can see him playing more polished characters -- like a suave, distinguished veteran spy.

AUSTIN: As the baby boomer audience ages, maybe there's more receptivity.

But seven years after trading Tinseltown for policy-making, Schwarzenegger may not want to return to the silver screen.

STEVE ROSS: He doesn't need Hollywood anymore.

Steve Ross is a history professor at the University of Southern California. He's writing a book called "Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics." Schwarzenegger wasn't born in the U.S., so he can't follow in Ronald Reagan's footsteps and run for president. Ross sees him fast-forwarding to the role of a former president.

ROSS: A Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, maybe even a Jimmy Carter, that is a world ambassador. He'll pick a certain set of issues that he will be passionate about and he will represent those issues.

The Special Olympics, the environment, whatever the issue, the role of elder statesman may appeal to Schwarzenegger. It seems he's always had a desire for greatness. In the 1977 documentary "Pumping Iron," he talked about the drive behind his six victories in the Mr. Olympia bodybuilding contest.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I was just always impressed by people who could be remembered for hundreds of years, or even like Jesus, you know, being like thousands of years remembered, you know.

I'm April Dembosky for Marketplace.

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