Governor Schwarzenegger to Terminate Deficit by Making More Movies
Above: He may be Governor now, but that doesn't mean we've seen the last of the Terminator
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (SP) — Most political pundits didn't think that it could be done, but California governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger has come up with a way to balance the state's books within the next fiscal year by continuing to do what he does best: starring in a series of blockbuster action films.
Before the election, it was estimated that California would be running a deficit of $8 billion in 2004. Moreover, Schwarzenegger's campaign promise to repeal the recent tripling of the state's automobile sales tax was projected to cost another $4 billion. When he also pledged to neither raise taxes nor make cuts to education, some suggested that he would need to be a magician, rather than a movie star, in order to keep all of his promises. Instead, Schwarzenegger is counting on the industry which made him fabulously rich and internationally famous to revitalize California's economy.
Above: Some say only a magician could turn around California's ailing economy
Essentially, Schwarzenegger's plan is to transform the Golden State's government into the world's largest movie studio. "Nobody would dispute that Hollywood is the movie-making capital of the world," he said. "My plan will simply ensure that the state is able to retain a bigger piece of the action."
At the next sitting of the California state legislature, Schwarzenegger intends to table a Bill which would create a new government agency known as the Department of Cinematic Production. The DCP will be vested with a right of first refusal to produce, finance or distribute any film sought to be made in California.
Many observers have expressed grave concerns that California's film industry will be stifled if it becomes entirely state run. Schwarzenegger dismisses such concerns, citing North Korea as an example of a country with a thriving state-run film industry under the watchful eye of Peerless Leader Kim Jong Il, a noted film enthusiast.
Above: Kim Jong Il, Peerless Leader and film aficionado
Schwarzenegger's plan has also been met with considerable resistance from major Hollywood Studios such as Paramount and Fox, which submit that the DCP's sweeping powers would be in flagrant violation of federal anti-trust law. However, Schwarzenegger also rejects this argument, noting that Microsoft Corp. has an extensive history of engaging in transparently monopolistic practices, yet the Bush administration has done very little to prevent Microsoft from maintaining the status quo.
In order to better serve the cinematic focus of his administration, Schwarzenegger has suggested moving the state capital from Sacramento to Los Angeles. For similar reasons, he has declined to move into the official governor's residence in Sacramento, instead favoring his current residence, a luxurious 20,000 square foot mansion in Beverly Hills.
Above: Will this mansion in Beverly Hills become the new official Governor's residence?
Yesterday, Schwarzenegger unveiled his plan of action for his first 100 days in office. The plan consists of producing sequels to two of the films he referred to most frequently on the campaign trail, The Running Man and Total Recall. "Prior to the election, I was constantly criticized for making superficial, cliché-ridden speeches that seemed to refer more to my films than my position on important political issues," said Schwarzenegger. "But now I think that the people of California will realize that I was simply providing the details of my plan for turning around the economy by making more movies."
In fact, the DCP is poised to greenlight no fewer than a dozen sequels to previous Schwarzenegger hits, all of which will have Schwarzenegger back in a starring role, and which are scheduled to be completed within the next year and a half. In some cases, multiple sequels of the same film franchise (e.g. Terminators 4, 5 and 6) will be shot simultaneously in order to reduce production costs. While the governor has agreed to waive his usual fee of $20-30 million per film, it's quite possible that he could make even more money through his 20% share of the box office revenue of each film. "I may turn out to be one of the highest-paid governors in U.S. history, but California is one of the world's largest economies," said Schwarzenegger. "Also, you'll never get the most qualified movie stars to run for political office if you don't pay them an amount commensurate with their earning power."
Above: Movie stars with political aspirations still expect to be highly paid
Although many of the films that the DCP has slated to go into production are sequels of films made over a decade ago, Schwarzenegger feels that it's important to put a contemporary spin on them. Hence, a planned sequel to Commando is about American soldiers fighting to liberate the people of an unspecified Arabic country from a dictatorial regime, only to find themselves fending off post-war attacks from those same people, who apparently fail to realize that they've been liberated.
Some of the new films will be somewhat autobiographical, such as True Lies 2, in which Schwarzenegger's character runs for Congress and suddenly has to explain a series of outrageous and embarrassing statements that he made years earlier. Also currently in pre-production is Conan the Republican, in which Schwarzenegger's title character attempts to overcome his wild, womanizing past and lack of relevant experience when he suddenly becomes the new regional governor after beating his predecessor in a death match. Both films are expected to be released next November, to coincide with the presidential election.
Due to his hectic film production schedule, plus a steady stream of press junkets to promote each of his upcoming films, Schwarzenegger has already had to cancel numerous official gubernatorial engagements, but he is unapologetic. "Despite what you may have thought after seeing me in The 6th Day, I can't be everywhere at once," he said. "If I have to cancel a trade summit in China in order to make an appearance on Jay Leno, I'm completely confident that the people of California will understand that it's because appearing on late night television is a vital part of my job. Frankly, if Gray Davis had appeared on Leno a little more often, he'd probably still be governor."
Above: Appearing on late night television is an important part of the Governor's job