End of Days: The Devil makes work for Robin Tunney and Arnie
The Devil Rides Out
Arnie’s back – and he’s ready to save the world all over again. But its not killer robots, legendary monsters or government conspiracies he’s battling this time. This time it’s much worse. This time he’s up against Satan himself…
From the January 2000
Film Review

Arnold Schwarzenegger has no fear of failure: “It’s not really my style to run around feeling vulnerable and concerned and worried about things,” says the superstar. “I think we all, to some extent, feel vulnerable because we all want to be accepted and we all want to have things go well ... But the profession that I have is so out there [in the public eye], which means that every time I have a failure, a billion people witness that. And every time I have a success, people witness that. That makes you even more vulnerable. But I like to have the danger zone, which is why I am in this profession.”

It’s also part of the reason why the Terminator-Total Recall-Eraserstar selected End of Days as his first film in two years, a period that found the 52-year-old megastar recovering from heart surgery.

Scwarzenegger and Peter Hyams on location in New YorkDirected by Peter Hyams of 2010, Outland and TimeCop fame, the $100-plus million production – which boasts nearly 450 special effects shots and creatures devised by Stan Winston – casts Schwarzenegger as Jericho Cane, a New York City security officer with nothing to live for. His wife and daughter are long dead, presumably in Heaven, and he’s contemplating joining them.

Then fate intercedes, as the Devil himself steps into the body of an unnamed man (Gabriel Byrne) and embarks on a quest to rid the universe of mankind, a quest that hinges on his mating with Christine York (Robin Tunney) before midnight on New Year’s Eve. Of course, Cane soon finds himself swept up in the events at hand and must race against time to save Christine, himself and every last man and woman on the planet. The role of Cane seems quite a departure for Schwarzenegger. Cane actually sheds a tear and an old lady (the wonderful Miriam Margolyes) kicks his butt, Terminator-style.

“It was very important to do the film in such a way that it causes surprises all the way through the movie,” Schwarzenegger says during a press conference at a New York City hotel. “Therefore, we did not want to go in the traditional way, which is that you come in as the hero, the knight in shining armour, and you know right away, in the first five minutes, ‘Ah-hah, he is the hero. He’s perfect. He’s gonna kick some butt over here and he’s going to wipe out the enemy.’

"That worked in the Eighties and in the early Nineties. That doesn’t work today. That’s why I chose End of Days. First of all, it shows the character as a very vulnerable character, which is quite important. Number two, it had all the twists and turns. So, people never really know what’s going to happen.

“Here, for the first time, I start out with a gun to my head, wanting to take my life. It’s also the first time I’m on drugs, on alcohol. I’ve lost my family. I’ve lost my job, my friends. This is the end of the road. That’s something I’ve never played. People don’t know, with this vulnerability, will the Devil have success in seducing me? Will I eventually become possessed by the Devil? So, the vulnerability factor was extremely important in what I’d do to make the story work.

"At the same time, on the other side of the coin, we had to show the power of the Devil, what influence he has over people. That made the step-mother/nanny (Margolyes), even though she’s maybe a 65-year-old woman, extremely powerful, internally and externally, physically. “So, she threw me around like a doll. When I read that it was one of my favourite scenes in the movie because it’s another one of those things you’ve never seen before...”

Image copyright: Buena Vista Productions. Feature © Visual Imagination Ltd 1999. Not for reproduction.
Get the full interviews with Arnie and director Peter Hyams
in the January 2000 issue of Film Review

End of Days Review to follow in the February 2000 issue
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