Not Due to $20,000,000 Budget Constraint, but Arnold Schwarzenegger Couldn’t Do This ‘Postapocalyptic Vampire’ Film for a Far More Dire Reason, Years Before Will Smith Did It

Hollywood action icon Arnold Schwarzenegger was past his prime by the late 1990s. So Schwarzenegger was looking into projects with unique settings. One of the projects that piqued Schwarzenegger’s interest involved Ridley Scott. Scott was known for his groundbreaking sci-fi films like AlienBlade Runner, and more. The then-new project would involve postapocalyptic vampires.

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However, Warner Brothers pulled out of the project, citing budget constraints. A decade later, the film was made with Will Smith in the leading role. The bodybuilding legend explained the real reason why his proposal was shot down.

Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled the truth about the postapocalyptic vampire film in his book


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In 2007, Will Smith starred in I Am Legend. A film where Smith’s character was among the only survivors of a disease that turned the population into zombie-vampire hybrid creatures. While the film didn’t receive critical acclaim, moviegoers thoroughly enjoyed it. Directed by Francis Lawrence, I Am Legend remains popular with fans of sci-fi and zombie films.

However, Warner Brothers shelved the project a decade ago. “I was supposed to shoot that fall (1997) with Ridley Scott directing,” Schwarzenegger wrote in his 2012 book, Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story. Scott requested a $100 million budget to shoot the film. However, the production studio “wanted to spend only $80 million.” Instead of negotiating, the producers pulled back.

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However, in Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story, Arnie provided a different reason. “The real reason was my heart surgery,” wrote The Terminator star. Arnie underwent surgery to remove a defective heart valve. Hence, the studios were reluctant to commit to projects with the former Mr. Olympia due to his health concerns. However, the action star didn’t understand what was going on initially.

Many in the film industry involved seemed reluctant to cast Schwarzenegger


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The bodybuilding icon also wrote about other projects, like I Am Legend . With Wings as Eagles would star the Austrian Oak as the German officer during WWII who would help POWs escape. The Hollywood star was also in talks to appear in the sequel to Total Recall (1990). The project was titled Minority Report.

However, these projects were halted for the surgery. Arnold realized that not just Warner Brothers but all production studios “were holding back… slow responding.” It took the former Mr. Olympia two years to return to the silver screen with End of Days in 1999.


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While Schwarzenegger had faith in his ability to bounce back from surgery, it took production studios a while before jumping on board.

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