By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated February 14, 2002 01:00 PM

Arnold Schwarzenegger, riding high at the box office this week despite the controversy surrounding his latest effort, “Collateral Damage,” is prepared to take on a new enemy. Speaking to the Associated Press of his upcoming “Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines,” the action star confirmed that he will face a female foe in the movie. “The idea of the female terminator is great,” said Schwarzenegger, 54. “She will have additional powers that Robert Patrick in ‘Terminator 2’ did not have. She will have control over machines and over anything mechanical, therefore including myself. So you will sometimes see me as the villain and sometimes as a terminator that tried to save the world.” Schwarzenegger is expected to take home $30 million (according to Variety) for making the $170 million film, the second sequel to his 1984 smash, “The Terminator.” Warner Bros. (which, like PEOPLE, is part of AOL Time Warner) paid $50 million for the U.S. distribution rights to the new picture, which is scheduled for release in summer 2003. As for “Collateral Damage,” which took in $15.1 million at the box office last weekend, a variety of protesters have criticized the film for everything from its portrayal of Colombians as terrorists to the plot, which to some too closely echoes the real-life events of Sept. 11. The story concerns a firefighter out to avenge the deaths of his wife and child in a terrorist explosion. As reported by, the star simply dismisses the protests, pointing out that “Damage” was finished long before September, and its release was postponed from the original October date owing to the mood of the country.