He'll be back: Arnold Schwarzenegger loves the Capital
Arnie entered the EICC to the dramatic Terminator theme tune accompanied by helicopter sound-effects.
A star had arrived and the city knew it.
The Hollywood legend, dressed in a smart black suit and red tie, strode centre stage to the huge applause of 1200 guests as smoke furled round his muscular physique.
Nodding his head in appreciation at the crowd’s warm welcome, Arnie told fans: “I have never been to Scotland or Edinburgh before but the next time I come I’ll be able to say it’s great to be back.” “I love it,” he said, referring to Edinburgh.
But the star admitted that it was unlikely he would be partaking in one of our country’s most famous sporting activities.
He said: “I am the sh*****est golfer in the world but I hear the golf courses round here are better than California.”
Asked if he would wear a kilt to truly fit in, Arnie smiled and replied: “I’m not going into what I wear.”
Then pulling a serious face, reminiscent of his famous robotic alias, the actor said that the crowd were free to ask questions – but these had better be good, he added, because “you’ll be judged at the end.”
And the Commando actor, revealed he is not just a hardman on screen. He adopts a tough, no-nonsense approach to his everyday life also.
“I believe strongly in utilising the 24 hours in a day,” he said.
“I usually get six hours sleep a night and I work the other 16 hours progressing my career.”
Arnie told how he had gone from a rags to riches existence thanks to the opportunities that the Hollywood dream offered him as a young man.
“I arrived in the late 60s in America with no money in my pocket, a plastic bag and some sports gear.
“When my bodybuilding career took off, I wanted to get into acting but I was surrounded by naysayers, who said I was too big to get into leading roles.”
Arnie also revealed how being an Austrian in Hollywood, in the heyday of classic American movies, was also very tough.
“I had obstacles with my accent too,” he said.
He told how his command of the English language was so bad, he would have struggled to get parts – but he was lucky in that he had a good agent who “hustled” him into auditions, telling him: “I’ll do all the talking.”
The actor landed his first major role in Hercules in New York, a 1970 movie, but he admitted: “They ended up dubbing over my voice because my accent was so bad.
“Everyone at the time spoke with an American accent like John Wayne.”
Arnie said that in the late 60s and early 70s, Europeans like him had traditionally been able to get acting roles – but they were unable to break in to stardom.
However, with a strong and determined upbringing from his family back in Austria, Arnie broke the mould.
“I grew up in Austria surrounded by people who were working all the time and my father said ‘No matter what you do, be useful.’
It seemed that everything was destined to be a fight for the star. Even his name.
He told the audience how when he moved to America, he was told to use the name Arnold Strong, because no one would be able to say Schwarzenegger.
But with determination, even that would soon change as he rocketed to fame for the very reasons set against him in the start – his name and distinct accent.
Looking intently at the crowd, the former governor of California, showed his serious side once again, saying: “Don’t expect good things to come by short cuts. A lot of people are looking for things by short cut.
“You can take whatever you want out of life, but if you’re not willing to work hard, you’re not going to make it.”
The Terminator actor spent the rest of the evening cracking jokes and had the crowd lapping it up – although he ducked a question on Scottish independence, smiling: “I don’t get involved in local politics.”
Fans couldn’t get enough and cheered and whooped as they shouted catchphrases from some of Arnie’s famous films.
One man roared: “Get to the chopper”, and of course “I’ll be back” was a favourite.
One woman shouted: “What shall I call you? Sir or Mr Schwarzenegger?” Arnie replied: “Yah, call me Arnold.”
Arnie even revealed what he thought were his best and worst films.
In order, he listed, Terminator, Predator, Twins, and Kindergarten Cop as his best movies. And though it gave him his first stepping stone to stardom, Hercules in New York, was the biggest raspberry of the lot, he admitted.
The event saw guests gather for an exclusive black tie event and dinner culminating in an interview with the actor and bodybuilding legend.
As they arrived they were piped in, while an Arnie impersonator brought smiles to faces by delivering some of the action hero’s best-known lines.
Amongst them was superfan Josef Svoboda, 23, from Dean Village, who said: “Arnie has been an inspiration and a motivation to me for most of my life. I have grown up with his films and I can’t imagine that I could be any more excited.”
The EICC was decked out with replicas of the The Terminator and other film memorabilia in honour of the action hero.
Some Arnie fans paid up to up to £1500 for the privilege of his company and to hear anecdotes from his glittering career on the big screen.
Oil tycoon Sir Ian Wood’s son Gareth and his wife, former Miss Scotland Nicola Jolly, along with Scots X Factor star Nicholas McDonald arrived on the red carpet from 6pm, though the real star of the show didn’t make his grand entrance until 90 minutes later.
The sell-out event saw the beaming Terminator star take an hour’s worth of questions from radio and television presenter Jenni Falconer in the 2000-capacity Lennox Suite. The interview followed a three-course dinner and charity auction which saw guests bid hundreds, with proceeds going to cancer charity Candlelighters.