Let’s be honest, when you think of an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie does the term ‘leading lady’ come to mind? No, in fact of almost all of Schwarzenegger films the ‘leading lady’ has had quite a little to do, add to that any lack of character development or story arc and you have some fairly unforgettable roles. In fact, most of these ‘leading ladies’ failed to make a mark in Hollywood even after starring in a movie with one of it’s biggest stars.
Here at Media Devour we stop at nothing to uncover the truth, go behind the curtain, and look into those dark corners…and we ask you to consider the evidence: Is there an Arnold Schwarzenegger Curse?
Like, comment, share your thoughts in the area below and be sure to send me suggestions for my next ‘Consider the Evidence’ case file.
Sandahl Bergman (Valeria in ‘Conan the Barbarian’)
After starring with Arnold Schwarzenegger in ‘Conan the Barbarian’ Sandahl had bit parts in 80’s and 90’s TV shows like ‘Moonlighting’, ‘Dirty Dancing’, ‘Cheers’, ‘Designing Women’ & ‘Swamp Thing’. She also had a role in ‘Red Sonja’ as Queen Gedren. In her last credited role she played Dancer in 2003’s ‘The Singing Detective’.
Grace Jones (Zula in ‘Conan the Destroyer’)
The only one of Schwarzenegger’s leading ladies to become a Bond girl, Grace Jones starred as May Day in ‘A View to a Kill’ as a followup to her role of Zula in ‘Conan the Destroyer’. Already an accomplished singer and model, Jones tried her hand at acting, but her biggest role still remains May Day. From there she had forgettable roles in such films as ‘Cyber Bandits’, ‘Palmer’s Pick Up’ and the TV movie ‘Wolf Girl’. Still, she remains one of Schwarzenegger’s ‘less cursed’ leading ladies.
Linda Hamilton (Sarah Connor in ‘The Terminator’ & ‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’)
Starring in two of Schwarzenegger’s biggest films, Hamilton is easily one of the most memorable of leading ladies. She was already an established star by the time she made ‘The Terminator’, having major roles in TV series like ‘Hill Street Blues’, ‘King’s Crossing’, & ‘Secrets of Midland Height’, she had just finished the horror film ‘Children of the Corn’ before ‘The Terminator’ was released. The film was not a initial success at the time, but she went on to star in a few more films and the flop of a sequel ‘King Kong Lives’. She hit the big time with the (then) modern day re-telling of the classic story ‘Beauty and the Beast’ which went on to become a cult favorite, she also starred in the family friendly movie ‘Mr. Destiny’.
It was in 1991 that the Terminator franchise took off when ‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’ was a massive hit. However her career never took off like Schwarzenegger’s did. She starred in one more major blockbuster, ‘Dante’s Peak’, before she was relegated to the back bench with shows like ‘The New Batman Adventures’ (voice only), ‘Rescuers: Stories of Courage: Two Couples’, & ‘On the Line’. Since then it has been false start TV pilots, DTV movies and bit parts on other TV series.
Brigitte Nielsen (Red Sonja in ‘Red Sonja’)
Technically not a Schwarzenegger film, since the title character and main lead is Danish actress & model Brigitte Nielsen. Arnold only signed up for nothing more than a glorified cameo, as a favor to producer Dino De Laurentiis. Much to his surprise, he was stuck on the set for four weeks, three weeks longer than expected, and discovered after watching a rough cut of the movie that his role was basically filled out to that of the co-star, thanks to crafty angles and multiple cameras being used. Schwarzenegger decided not long after to try and terminate his 10 year contract with De Laurentiss. That aside, Nielsen never had a breakout role beyond this cult classic. She had bit parts in ‘Rocky IV’, ‘Cobra’ & ‘Beverly Hills Cop II’.
Rae Dawn Chong (Cindy in ‘Commando’)
The daughter of Tommy Chong and Maxine Sneed, Rae Dawn was already an established actress before she made ‘Commando’ with Arnold Schwarzenegger. The same year as ‘Commando’ she played the part of Squeak in ‘The Color Purple’, easily one of her most memorable films. After ‘The Color Purple’ Chong had bit parts in shows like ‘Melrose Place’, ‘The Outer Limits’ & ‘Highlander’. Her celebrity radar blipped again between 2002 and 2004 when she had regular roles in ‘Zoe Busiek: Wild Card’ & Mysterious Ways’.
Kathryn Harrold (Monique in ‘Raw Deal’)
Having just barely survived the experience that was the TV series ‘MacGruder and Loud’, a show that was a folly that cost ABC dearly. The network created the series as their answer to CBS’s cop-buddy hit Cagney & Lacey with the twist that it was a secret affair between a policeman and his policewoman partner. ABC spent millions and heavily hyped the show for three months with non-stop ads on television and in print and made its premiere an event by having it follow Super Bowl XIX. The premiere got a huge audience despite dreadful early reviews but the ratings didn’t hold and the following week it dropped to #34 in the ratings and continued to plummet until ABC pulled the show after only three months. Could this event have been a precurser to the dreded Schwarzenegger curse?
Elpidia Carrillo (Anna in ‘Predator’)
Starring in mainly Mexican films until ‘Predator’, Carrillo followed that film up with ‘Miami Vice’, ‘Midnight Caller’, ’21 Jump Street’ and even a minor role in ‘Predator 2’. However she never managed to reach the same heights of success and visibility that ‘Predator’ brought her.
Maria Conchita Alonso (Amber Mendez in ‘The Running Man’)
Working primarily in the Latin market, one of Elpidia Carrillo’s early TV roles was ‘Knight Rider’, however ‘The Running Man’ was her biggest role up until that point. Her next big project is the TV-Movie ‘Arachnaconda’.
Gina Gershon (Catherine ‘Cat’ Manzetti in ‘Red Heat’)
Easily one of the most beautiful of Schwarzenegger’s leading ladies, Gershon’s first big role was in ‘Red Heat’. Gershon followed that up the same year with the role of Coral in ‘Cocktail’, it was then that the ‘Schwarz-Curse’ began to take full effect as she was cast in ‘Cop Rock’, had her scenes cut out of ‘Jungle Fever’ and landed a role in ‘Showgirls’. All seemed lost until 1997 when she landed a role in ‘Face/Off’ and then lent her voice to ‘Tripping the Rift’, ‘Family Guy’, ‘American Dad!’ & ‘The Batman’. Could Gershon have worked her way out of the ‘Schwarz-Curse’?
Kelly Preston (Marnie Mason in ‘Twins’)
The future wife of John Travolta was already a veteran of TV and film with roles in ‘Hawaii Five-O’, ‘Quincy M.E.’, ‘CHiPs’, ‘SpaceCamp’ & ‘Amazon Women on the Moon’. After ‘Twins’ the Schwarz-curse was clealy in full effect as she was relegated to small no-bit roles in various large and small screen roles. She did have some success in films like ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ and ‘Jerry Maguire’, but things clearly fell apart when she starred in ‘Javk Frost’ and one of the most widely regarded worst film of the 20th century, ‘Battlefield Earth’. From there she had small roles in shows like ‘Fat Actress’ and ‘Medium’.
Rachel Ticotin (Melina in ‘Total Recall’)
Rachel’s previous work just before ‘Total Recall’ was a TV Movie named ‘Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs’….nuff said. However Ticotin did have some success after ‘Total Recall’; She had a role in ‘Natural Born Killers’, although her scenes were cut (the curse?!) and he had a fairly significant role in the Nicholas Cage film ‘Con Air’. You may have also seen her in the TV show ‘Skins’ or the Denzel Washington film ‘Man on Fire’, she also had a long stint on the TV show ‘Law & Order: Los Angeles’. She is one of the least likely touched by the ‘Schwarz-Curse’.
Sharon Stone (Lori in ‘Total Recall’)
Ah Sharon Stone, the one-time sexpot of the 90’s 2 years before starring in the (in)famous 1992 film ‘Basic Instinct’ (and the interogation scene) she was cast as Arnold’s fake wife in ‘Total Recall’. By 1990 Stone was already a veteran of the large and small screen with roles on such shows as ‘T.J. Hooker’, ‘Magnum, P.I.’, ‘Remington Steele’ and ‘Silver Spoons’ and films like ‘Above the Law’, ‘Action Jackson’ & ‘Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol’. It was after working with Schwartzanegger that her career took a slightly wonky turn, save for ‘The Quick and the Dead’ and ‘Casino’ Stone was cast in box office bombs like ‘Diabolique’ and ‘Sphere’. She hit rock bottom when she was cast as Laurel Hedare in 2004 incredible flop ‘Catwoman’. She even tried her hand at reviving the magic with a sequel to ‘Basic Instinct’ called, amazingly enough, ‘Basic Instinct 2’.
Penelope Ann Miller (Joyce Palmieri/Rachel Crisp in ‘Kindergarten Cop’)
Penelope Ann Miller already had an extensive resume when she joined Schwarzanegger in ‘Kindergarten Cop’, she was in several 80’s and 90’s TV shows like ‘The Facts of Life’, ‘Family Ties’ and the 1987 movie ‘Adventures in Babysitting’. ‘Cop’ however could be seen as her biggest role to date (‘The Freshman’ not withstanding, because, well, its horrible). After ‘Kindergarten Cop’ the schwartz-curse was in full effect as she Miller starred in several bombs including ‘Other People’s Money’, ‘
Stay tuned for Part II!
About the Author: Michael Regina has spent over a decade deep within the internet fanboy zeitgeist. Directors such as Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong) and Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labrynth, Hellboy) rely on him to reach out to their fan base and be their mouthpiece in order to relay news and quash rumors. The fans flock to his scoop filled websites (TheOneRing.net, KongisKing.net) for behind the scenes goodies and spoiler filled stories. Straddling the line between ultimate geek and Hollywood insider, Michael has effectively brought A-List access to everyone’s computer screen.