Story and photos by Chris Stone
Updated at 9:50 p.m. June 14, 2015
Arriving in a Humvee, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was greeted Sunday by a thousand Marines and family members at the world premiere of his latest Terminator movie — at the Camp Pendleton base theater.
“Get to da choppa!” Schwarzenegger yelled, stirring cheers for his famous line as Maj. Alan “Dutch” Schaeferd in the 1987 movie “Predator.”
He also roused the troops with his other signature lines — “Hasta la vista, baby” and “I’ll be back.”
And he posted a 10-second smartphone video to his Facebook page, writing: “I was so proud to make the Marines at United States Marine Corps Camp Pendleton the first audience in the nation to see Terminator Genisys today. Thank you for your service.”
Marine Gabriel Parks, attending the premiere, is a huge Schwarzenegger fan.
“He’s my hero,” Parks said. “He’s gotten me through a lot that I’ve done in the Marine Corps, thinking about him and what he’s gone through and everything he’s done.
“He has motivated me through everything.”
The motivation comes from “his appearance and the way he conducts himself and all the stuff he has competed in physically and mentally,” he said. “I’ve listened to a motivational speech that he’s given.
“He’s just my idol.”
Marine Anthony Suarez, first in line at 6 a.m. for the 3:30 p.m. showing, also is no ordinary fan.
Suarez was 7 when he first saw Schwarzenegger’s movie “Predator.”
That’s still his favorite movie, he said.
The Marine describes Schwarzenegger this way: “Whenever something seems difficult, he overcomes the challenge and moves on.”
Suarez admired the way the movie star molded his body to be a bodybuilding champion. “He’s so inspiring,” Suarez said, and consequently, “he made me want to make myself better, and today is a happy day for me.”
The movie screened (for free) at the Vandegrift Boulevard cinema two weeks ahead of its July 1 nationwide release by Paramount Pictures.
Brig. Gen. Edward Banta — the top Pendleton officer — introduced Schwarzenegger, who arrived at 3 p.m. The 67-year-old actor said he wanted the Marines to be the first to see the movie because of their role in the nation’s defense.
The sci-fi action hero of “Terminator: Genisys” — reprising his role as T-800 — signed autographs for 15-20 minutes and then spoke 10 minutes before the start of the movie. It is his fourth Terminator movie.
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