Thank God He’s Governor

Here’s an interesting fact I discovered today. Arnold Schwarzenegger spent the better part of the 90’s, off-and-on at least, trying to get a medieval movie made. It was to have been titled Crusade and even went into pre-production at one point, only to be canceled when it became clear that it was going to seriously exceed its $100,000,000 budget.* This teaser poster was made but (mercifully) never used:

According to Variety, the film was meant to go something like this:

Schwarzenegger long has been expected to play the hero, Hagen, a reluctant warrior who begins the film as a prisoner set to die. He’s freed when he burns the image of the cross into his back during a visit by the pope, and he’s drafted to recapture Jerusalem. The 11th century drama has shades of both “Conan the Barbarian” and “Braveheart.”

According to other rumors, Hagen was going to reclaim the True Cross once he got to Jerusalem!

Man, we medievalists really dodged a bullet on this one. As if Kingdom of Heaven wasn’t bad enough, I’d hate to have to be the one to break the news to a student that the First Crusade wasn’t actually led by a cigar-chomping, one-liner spouting former body builder with a penchant for bad puns and self-mutilation.

Nevertheless, Arnold still has the rights to the script, and he mentions it every now and again in interviews. Back in 2003 he told Entertainment Weekly, “I will get it done no matter what. I will be 105 years old and I’ll have to be strapped to the horse, but I see it happening.” To me, that reads more like a threat than a promise. Thankfully, Arnold has sworn off movies until after his gubernatorial term ends, so we still have a few good years ahead of us yet.

You can read more about the movie, including excerpts from the script, at

*As a cost-cutting movie, the studio decided to axe one of its two big budget productions that year, and Crusade was the victim. The film that was spared? Cutthroat Island!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Matthew Gabriele

    True, but we’re not out of the woods yet.

    New Regency to get Medieval. My favorite part? “The script’s story line plays like The Dirty Dozen in the age of castles, plagues and serfs.” Sigh…

  • Notorious Ph.D.

    Rumors about this one were flying around the listservs when I was in grad school, but I never saw the mock-up of the poster. I did know that Bruckheimer was mentioned, so I thought that Kingdom of Heaven was the evolution of the idea. But the plot sounds fairly different.

  • Steve

    As entertainment pieces, I enjoyed both 300 and Kingdom of Heaven. The problem, though, is that not many people in the general populace understand how egregiously inaccurate some aspects of the films were. Consider 300 as a case in point; according to some military historians, the Spartans were able to put up such a strong fight because of their defensive position in the gorge, but also because they were more heavily armored than the conscripts in the Persian army. In the film, however, you have half-naked men with big red capes, shields, helmets, and their weapons.

    I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to who mistook artistic license for historical fact.

  • raven-moon

    1. I never thought I’d have reason to be grateful that Arnie was the governor…

    2. Ironically, there is even a passage specifically prohibiting the branding of the cross, I think in one of the liturgies for Crusaders.

    3. Conan + Braveheart? Spare us, spare us all!

  • Nathan

    Cross brands must have been getting pretty common if they had to ban it.

  • cliftonwillis

    The Medieval Templar Knight Shield is an effective piece of medieval defense piece marked with the Templar symbol; these kind of medieval weapons helped saved the lives of thousands of medieval warriors. If you’re a medieval weapons collector like me I would recommend adding a replica of this piece to your collection. And what’s cool is that u can get it right now from

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