Arnold Schwarzenegger became known for playing hulking action heroes on the big screen in the ’80s and ’90s. Edward Norton, on the other hand, is probably best-known for his emaciated turn as the narrator in Fight Club (the least said about his hulking action appearance in the MCU the better). As it turns out, the two actors are unlikely friends, and have actually known each other for more than 20 years.
During a recent video interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Norton shared the story of how he first met Schwarzenegger at a wedding while he was in the middle of a physical transformation for the 1998 drama American History X, in which he famously played a white supremacist with a muscular physique. And while Norton was pleased with his progress at the time, Schwarzenegger, he recalled, was not particularly impressed with his fitness regime.
“I was starting to train for American History X, and Arnold said ‘you look good, you look trim,'” Norton said. “And I said, ‘well, I’m actually trying to put on some size, so maybe you could give me some advice. And he asked me to break down my workouts. And I was pretty proud, I was slinging a lot of steel back then! I told him my whole workout, and he goes ‘yeah, that’s pretty good, you doing two a day?’ And I said ‘no, just once a day,’ and he goes ‘well that’s pretty pussy, Ed.'”
He wouldn’t be the first person whose gym performance has been criticized by the Terminator; Schwarzenegger admitted in an interview last year that he has the habit of interrupting strangers working out if he sees that their technique is flawed, as he can’t stand to see people training with bad form. But then, you don’t get to win the title of Mr. Olympia seven times without being something of a perfectionist.
Norton and Schwarzenegger (joined as always by his farm animal companions, Whiskey and Lulu) were appearing on Kimmel to promote the Frontline Responders Fund, a crowdfunding campaign they co-founded to help provide protective equipment to emergency workers during the on-going coronavirus pandemic. So far, they’ve raised $7.3 million.