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 TheArnoldFans.com.
*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!