Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in his first TV series Fubar

Fubar is Arnold Schwarzenegger's first television series. PHOTO: NETFLIX
Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a Central Intelligence Agency operative on the cusp of retirement called in to extract another agent from a dangerous assignment. PHOTO: NETFLIX

LOS ANGELES – In the opening episode of Fubar, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent character is labelled by his handler “the fastest 65-year-old white guy on the planet”.

But the American actor is 75 in real life, and Fubar is his first television series: an eight-episode mix of rough-and-tumble action and comedy that is available on Netflix.

“This was an opportunity that was not available in the 1980s and 1990s, when I was climbing up in my career after Conan The Barbarian and The Terminator,“ Schwarzenegger said of the 1982 and 1984 films.

The Hollywood star plays Luke Brunner, a CIA operative on the cusp of retirement called in to extract another agent from a dangerous assignment.

That agent turns out to be Luke’s daughter Emma (Monica Barbaro) and high jinks ensue in their risky missions around the world to contain Boro (Gabriel Luna), a villain seeking weapons of mass destruction.

“He treats me like a child,” laments Emma, who shares many of her father’s qualities and butts heads with him in expletive-laden lines.

“It is chaos and that creates a lot of fun opportunities,” Schwarzenegger said.

“Some of them are very intense – it’s life and death – and some are laugh-out-loud, and you say, ‘Oh my god, this is really funny’,” he added.

Actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at the premiere of Fubar in Los Angeles on Monday. PHOTO: AFP

American actress Barbaro calls it “quite a complicated relationship” as Emma fights to be anything but her dad, “but then realises the harder we fight to not be our parents, the more we become them”.

Against the serious work and dysfunctional family dynamics, an eclectic crew of CIA colleagues provide comic relief, cracking jokes on Emma’s “daddy issues”, Luke’s mispronunciations and his desire to win back the wife he lost to divorce years ago.

American comedienne Fortune Feimster, who plays a character named Roo, disrupts the CIA mission meetings with what she calls “something ridiculous” to bring levity.

American actor Travis Van Winkle plays her partner Aldon and revels in the juxtaposition of “trying to save the world from extinction and these light-hearted lines”.

And then there is Barry, played by American actor Milan Carter, a nerdy analyst who is also Luke’s handler and part of his family, and who knew about Emma’s line of work, but kept it from Luke.

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“On any given day, I might be scared of Arnold, but when I get to play Barry, it’s no holds barred and I get to hold him accountable,” said Carter. “It’s a dream.”

For the younger cast members, who grew up watching Schwarzenegger in the Terminator films (he has appeared in five, from 1984 to 2019) or Kindergarten Cop (1990), they praise what the famous actor and former bodybuilder brings to the set, namely discipline, teamwork, motivation and a mischievous side.

“He’s just mechanical with his schedule. He goes to bed at 12, after he studies all his lines, wakes up at six every day,” said American actor Luna, adding: “He always says, ‘People say you have to sleep eight hours. To those people, I say sleep faster’.” REUTERS

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