April Fools! We’ve Carbon Copied Your Children! (FT 1/4/11 – Print Edition Duplicate Pg 17)
Arnold Schwarzenegger has unveiled his first business venture since finishing his last term as California’s governor with The Governator, a new superhero comic book character.
The character, which has been developed by Mr Schwarzenegger and Stan Lee, the creator of Spider-Man, draws on the former governor’s credentials as an action movie star, who starred in The Terminator films, as well as the persona he crafted during seven years in public office.
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Loosely based on Mr Schwarzenegger’s life after leaving public office, The Governator will fight crime around the world, helped by a quartet of teenagers, each of whom possesses a unique set of talents. Among the character’s aides are Zeke Muckerberg, a 13-year-old computer genius, apparently inspired by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
The Governator character will form the basis of a new children’s television series and will be licensed for toys and other merchandise. Mr Schwarzenegger, who is fielding offers to resume his film career, will provide the voice for the character in the TV series and will formally unveil the project on Monday in Cannes at the MipTV festival.
The series is being produced by A Squared Entertainment, an animation company founded by Andy Heyward, the former chief executive of DIC Entertainment. A Squared is also producing Secret Millionaire’s Club, a new series that features Warren Buffett giving financial advice to children.
Mr Buffett, like Mr Schwarzenegger, is closely involved in the programme, and is providing the voice for his character.
Mr Schwarzenegger was in London on Wednesday, where he discussed the military campaign under way in Libya with David Cameron, Britain’s prime minister, and Conservative members of parliament.
Mr Schwarzenegger told reporters Mr Cameron was “doing a great job on Libya, a great job on Britain in making it live within its means and a great job with policies to protect the environment”.
Mr Schwarzenegger’s successor as governor of California, Jerry Brown, has conceded defeat in his attempt to persuade Republicans to back his plan for a new budget. He wanted support for spending cuts of $12bn to halve the state’s record deficit. But Mr Brown, who promised to restore California to fiscal health in his election campaign, could not muster the four Republican votes needed to pass his budget.
The two sides could not agree on a tax break Mr Brown wanted to cut, he said in a statement. “Republicans demand out-of-state corporations that keep jobs out of California be given a billion-dollar tax break that will come from our schoolchildren, public safety and our universities. This I am not willing to do,” he said.