Actor Patrick Schwarzenegger follows dad's footsteps with Midnight Sun
Midnight Sun star Patrick Schwarzenegger does not feel he lives in his famous father's shadow
Following actor-politician father Arnold's footsteps into show business, Patrick Schwarzenegger plays the romantic hero in Midnight Sun in his first leading role, opposite US actress Bella Thorne.
"I went in for the audition, and the filmmakers had me do what they called a 'chemistry read' with Bella," the US actor-model said at our interview at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills. "From that, we knew we could create a good love story, and a great project together."
Based on the 2006 Japanese film of the same name and opening here tomorrow, Midnight Sun centres on the summer romance between a young girl (Thorne) who suffers from sun poisoning that prevents her from going out in the daytime, and a high school athlete (Schwarzenegger).
Schwarzenegger, 24, is a handsome young man, born into privilege. Mum Maria Shriver is part of the Kennedy family and had a successful TV career as a journalist. Dad, of course, is the Terminator, as well as former Governor of California.
What was it like to play your first lead?
I have done some other projects, mostly smaller ones, and smaller sized roles. But going onto a set when you are the lead is obviously a different amount of weight, and you do feel a little different when you first show up. I was lucky to work with Bella whom I had known for a bit prior, and she helped me become more comfortable.
What made you decide to be an actor?
I think I fell in love with film and film sets when I was at a young age. If I was a good boy during the week, I got to go to set with my dad, that was the ultimate gold star for me. It was like a kid's dreamland to watch him come in as dad and with the hair and make-up as Mr Freeze or as the Terminator. And then during breaks we got to take the golf cart around and go to the Jaws ride or King Kong.
I wanted to do more acting and my dad was like 'Well, okay, you can start auditioning'. My parents (also) wanted me to get an education, so I got a business degree and a minor in cinematic arts and film from USC (University of Southern California). And I actually filmed (Midnight Sun) while I was in school.
What kind of advice have your parents given you?
Me and my mum are super, super close. We hang out multiple times a week. My sisters always say if I am in a relationship, the girlfriend better really like my mum because she third wheels a lot on a lot of dates (laughs).
Both my parents have given such great advice and words of wisdom. My dad was someone who worked his whole life and had strange hours that actors and politicians do, and I can't thank my mum enough for the life that she's given me and how she's raised me. What I have learnt is finding ways to use my platform, use my life to give back.
Any interest in a political career?
I have learned from my dad as well that you can have your eggs in different baskets and you can have multiple jobs and passions and careers, but you have to be focused on all those eggs like you have them all in one basket.
So a film is what I am doing right now and I want to be laser focused on that. Then if politics come out one day, they come out one day. But again, it could only be in a situation where I could find ways to give back.
Did you ever consider changing your last name?
Yeah, people ask me that a lot. You know, 'Do you feel like you are in a shadow and do you feel like you have to work or do certain things in life to get to where your parents are?' At the end of the day, no, because my dad, in my opinion, is really unique and one of a kind and he really conquered multiple career paths.
So if I am one-tenth as successful as he is, amazing. Maybe I have to work extra hard to prove certain things, that's fine. And maybe certain people will judge me because of my last name, that's also fine. And maybe there's also other people that will meet me because of my last name and that is fine too. So there's always positives and negatives with every situation.