Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Schwarzenegger cameos in '80 Days'

The Associated Press

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger portrays royalty in his latest film role, but the character is no Prince Charming - he's the sultan of swingers.

Just months after facing allegations during his gubernatorial campaign of groping women, Schwarzenegger makes a cameo appearance in a reprise of Around the World in 80 Days.

The $110 million film, starring Jackie Chan, will be released Wednesday. Schwarzenegger has been invited to the premiere but his office said he will not have any role publicizing the movie.

Schwarzenegger is on screen for about five minutes as Prince Hapi, decked out in robes and shoulder-length hair. But, it's long enough for his character to display the appetite for indulgence Schwarzenegger made famous in his Hollywood days.

The polygamous prince is first seen deftly plucking a mandolin in his lavish home while a pair of scantily clad belly dancers twirl around him.

Following a champagne-fueled banquet, he ends up in a hot tub telling jokes and sweet-talking French artist Monique (Cecile De France), the love interest of scientist Phileas Fogg (Steve Coogan).

After feeding her a strawberry, the prince insists she leave her globe-trotting companions behind and become part of his harem.

"You have seven wives?" she asks in disbelief.

"One for each day of the week," Schwarzenegger's character explains calmly. "Do Tuesdays work for you?"

The film's co-producer, Hal Lieberman, said no thought was given to dropping the scene, despite the controversy during Schwarzenegger's gubernatorial campaign.

"We weren't knocking ourselves out about that," Lieberman said. "Although he's a philanderer in the movie ... look at his marriage with Maria (Shriver)."

The cameo was filmed outside Berlin before Schwarzenegger turned his sights on Sacramento. The governor, who has appeared in more than 30 films, put his acting career on hold after being elected.

Coming Wednesday

Margaret A. McGurk reviews Around the World in 80 Days.

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