Arnold’s Visit

Arnold's visit

October 17, 1991, Hoover Dam, Mohave Desert, U.S.A.  Enter Arnold Schwarzenegger on location for the movie Universal Soldier. He had arrived by private jet (borrowed from Tom Cruise as his own was being serviced) to say hello to his buddy, Jean-Claude Van Damme. “The Muscles from Brussels” showed him around the set then welcomed him in his mobile home, where the two of them had a lunch of chicken breast with pasta, and afterwards chatted about mutual acquaintances while smoking cigars.  Suddenly, I noticed that nothing was lost on Arnold: resources available, people present on the set, and film propositions left out on the table. In fact, this friendly visit looked more like a case of industrial espionage, because in 1991, even if Arnold was the undisputed king of action cinema, Jean-Claude Van Damme was the new rising star to watch. And that’s exactly what Terminator did that day.

17 octobre 1991, Hoover Dam, désert de Mohave, USA. Arnold Schwarzenegger débarque sur le tournage du film “Universal Soldier“. Il est venu en jet privé (celui de Tom Cruise, le sien étant en révision) saluer son collègue Jean-Claude Van Damme. “The Muscles from Brussels“ lui fait visiter le plateau puis l’accueille dans son mobile-home, où les deux athlètes déjeunent de pâtes et de blancs de poulets, discutent cigares et connaissances communes. Témoin privilégié de la scène, je remarque qu’Arnold observe tout : les moyens de tournage, les personnes présentes sur le plateau, les propositions de films qui traînent sur la table. En fait, la visite de courtoisie relève de l’espionnage. Car en 1991, si Arnold règne en maître incontesté sur le cinéma d’action, Jean-Claude Van Damme est la jeune star montante, à tenir à l’œil. Ce qu’a fait, ce jour-là, Terminator.

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