"It was like riding a bicycle. You don't lose it. You don't forget it," Schwarzenegger tells PEOPLE

Advertisement
Image
Credit: AKM-GSI

Thirty years after Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger is stepping back into his iconic role in the upcoming Terminator Genisys, also starring Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor and Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese.

“It was like riding a bicycle,” Schwarzenegger, 67, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, about getting back into the character. “You don’t lose it. You don’t forget.”

The star had to pack on 10 lbs., work out six days a week and guzzle protein drinks, he says laughing. “I always stay in pretty good shape, except with this one I stepped it up a notch … I did more cardiovascular training just to make sure I’m ready for the stunts.”

Also working out just as hard was Clarke, who “was so dedicated,” says Schwarzenegger. “It’s pretty tough to live up to this kind of part, but she did a fantastic job, especially with the handling of the weapons in the fight scenes.”

Clarke did find one weapon particularly daunting, though: the grenade launcher. “It was, like, 70 lbs.,” says the Game of Thrones star. “It was so heavy, and they were like, ‘Here you go, Emilia. Now run up that slight hill firing it.'”

Upping her protein intake and cutting out sugar, “it was really fun to do different kinds of training than what I would do myself and feel strong,” says Clarke. But even so, “[when you finish], you’re like, ‘Please, can I have cake? Like, a chocolate cake, and a beer?'”

The role was also quite a change in terms of hair and makeup for Clarke, 28, who is best known to fans as the elaborately styled Daenerys Targaryen in Thrones. “To be 15 minutes in the makeup chair was amazing,” she says, laughing.

As a woman in a heavily male cast, the star hoped to impress her colleagues with her weapons training.

“Like, ‘Yo, boys. Let me show you how it’s done.’ ” she says. “It gave me quite a ballsy attitude. It was brilliant.”

Clarke also did several chemistry reads with current boyfriend Courtney, who plays Kyle Reese and her love interest in the film.

“Our paths hadn’t crossed [before],” she says. “We met there, and it was just this instant ease and I felt super comfortable around him.”

Both Clarke and Schwarzenegger reveal there’s a twist fans may not be expecting in the new installment, but both are looking forward to the reaction.

“I really didn’t see it coming … and adding that moment into the movie really just brought it to a whole new place, a different level,” says Clarke. Adds Schwarzenegger: “The key thing is the movie plays well you have a very entertaining movie that goes all out with the story and action and visual effects.”

Terminator Genisys hits theaters July 1.