Schwarzenegger is back... as a cartoon Governator

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"I'll be back," Arnold Schwarzenegger famously growled in "The Terminator," and after his eight-year run as governor of California, he is indeed back in show business -- as a cartoon character.

The 63-year-old bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-politician was on the French Riviera to promote "The Governator" on the opening day of the MIPTV international television trade show.

He lends his voice to the lead character of the animated comedy series that borrows its title from the nickname Schwarzenegger acquired during his time in the state governor's mansion.

And the plot? It centres on a former governor who turns into a superhero upon leaving public office, living a double life as an ordinary family man.

One of the people behind the series -- which its creators hope will go global and eventually grow into a feature film -- is Stan Lee, who helped create such comic book stars as Spider-Man, X-Men and The Hulk.

"It's all about having a great time, entertaining people and not taking things too seriously while tackling all types of crime," Schwarzenegger told reporters in Cannes.

"There is a tremendous amount of action and comedy -- but definitely no violence," he added.

Supported by a crack team of four computer wizards, all teenagers, the cartoon Governator creates a Batcave-like nerve centre beneath his home from which to fight crime and disasters worldwide.

Through it all, the hero still gets home in time for dinner with the unsuspecting wife and kids.

Schwarzenegger's real-life achievements were recognised in Cannes when French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand declared him a knight in the order of the Legion d'Honneur, the nation's highest civilian honour.

"You really are one of the most remarkable people of our time," said Mitterrand, citing Schwarzenegger's achievements as an actor and his efforts to help the environment during his term as California's Republican governor.

"Never in my wildest dreams as a kid did I ever image that I would get this honour or make my dreams come true," said Schwarzenegger, who emigrated from Austria to the United States at the age of 21 to pursue body-building.

He recalled the important role that Cannes played in launching his film career in 1977, when he attended its annual international film festival to promote "Pumping Iron", the docu-drama that made him a household name.

That was one of the reasons, he said, that his cartoon series was being unveiled in the Riviera seaside resort.

Asked if he was planning a return to the big screen, he replied that he was considering many different scripts, but was holding off for the moment to concentrate on rolling out "The Governator".

Pressed to sum up has life in just one word, he replied instantly: "Fantastic. That's how happy I am with my life and accomplishments."

© 2011 AFP

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