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For the record, “I though it would be a terrible idea to do a Hans & Franz movie,” says former Saturday Night Live writer Robert Smigel in this video from Late Night. “But Arnold Schwarzenegger called up Dana Carvey,” who played Austrian bodybuilder Hans, and said he was interested, Smigel adds, and “Arnold was the most gigantic star in the world at that time, so everybody got excited.” Even Smigel — once he got the idea to write the SNL spinoff as a musical.
The idea for the movie, as Smigel fondly retells it, sounds uneven. But there is one part that sounds amazing: Hans and Franz “lived in the Little Austria section of New York City,” Smigel recalls, “where you get off a subway and get out of the subway station and there’d suddenly be lush, rolling hills — like, in between 16th Street and 23rd, it would just be lush, rolling hills, like The Sound of Music, and bodybuilders everywhere.” Schwarzenegger was scripted to play their grandmother, as well as himself. Smigel even remembers one of the songs. Despite his initial reservations, he seems frustrated the musical was never made. I think I am, too. —Peter Weber