“Why Would You Pick Her?”: Maria Shriver Handpicked an Actress for Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1996

Published 11/25/2022, 8:30 AM EST

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Arnold Schwarzenegger had to face many hardships during childhood. However, in 1968, the Austrian immigrated to the United States for a better life. Although he became a seven-time Mr. Olympia winner, the bodybuilding legend found mainstream fame through acting. By the 90s, Arnold had become a Hollywood action star.

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Fans loved Arnold, who starred in instant classics like Terminator and Predator. In 1996, Arnold starred in “Eraser” alongside Vanessa Williams. During an interview with Jay Leno, Arnold mentioned how and why he picked Vanessa as his co-star for the movie.

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Maria Shriver’s suggestion to Arnold Schwarzenegger

 In 1996, Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” to promote his movie “Eraser”. After discussing how Arnold performed most of the stunts, Leno spoke about Arnold’s co-star. “Vanessa Williams did a brilliant job,” said Leno. “She was fabulous… Vanessa was a joy to work with,” said the action star. Leno then asked how Maria felt about Arnold sharing the screen with Vanessa.

However, the bodybuilding icon’s answer left Leno visibly surprised. “In this case, Maria actually suggested her,” said the champion bodybuilder. After hearing his answer, Leno exclaimed, “Really?”“We were thinking about who should we get, that is new, refreshing looking, and is very talented? And then Maria brought it up,” said the Austrian Oak.

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The seven-time Mr. Olympia also explained why Maria Shriver suggested Williams’ name. “I said, why would you pick her? And she said, well, I know you’ve been drooling over the last 10 years,” Arnold told Leno.

“Eraser” was a box-office success. The movie’s budget was around $100 million. However, it made over $240 million worldwide. While the “Eraser” earned about $101 million at the domestic box office, it earned nearly $145 million overseas.

The action icon sang his co-star’s praises

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In the movie, Vanessa Williams played the role of a witness who Arnold was assigned to protect. Arnold complimented Vanessa’s performance in the film and said, “She outperformed, by far, everybody.” He also pointed out how Vanessa portrayed a powerful female character capable of navigating difficult situations. “She’s really very strong in the film and very heroic,” said Arnold.

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Besides giving a powerful performance, the cast and crew liked the actor. Arnold said she was a great addition to the movie. Everyone, from the director to other actors and technical staff, enjoyed working with Vanessa.

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Watch this story – Arnold Schwarzenegger and Other Athletes Who Suffered From Depression and Anxiety

Maria Shriver wasn’t uncomfortable about the prospect of Arnold sharing the screen with Vanessa. However, Jay Leno seemed quite surprised.

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Written by:

Sagnik Bagchi

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Sagnik Bagchi is a US Sports writer for EssentiallySports. He has completed his Bachelor's and Master's in English Literature from the University of Calcutta. He has experience working as a freelance MMA writer for Sportskeeda.
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Edited by:

Simar Singh Wadhwa

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