GRAZ, Austria – He's Austrian, he bears a striking resemblance to his hero and he's got bulging biceps he likes to call "my little Alps." Who better to play Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) in a U.S. made-for-TV movie than local actor Roland Kickinger (search)?
Inspired by the Schwarzenegger film "Conan the Barbarian," Kickinger began bodybuilding at a gym in Vienna in the 1980s. Now he's starring as a young Schwarzenegger in "See Arnold Run," (search) a film being made by the American cable channel A&E (search).
Kickinger, a former Mr. Austria who says he befriended Schwarzenegger and has idolized the California governor for years, told Austrian television Thursday it's a dream role.
"What Arnold has done for me and for every bodybuilder and immigrant is amazing," he said. "I'm one of his biggest fans."
Kickinger, 36, who recently gained U.S. citizenship just as Schwarzenegger did in 1984, moved to California in 1995, where he earned cash by flexing his muscles and posing for tourists for US$3 a pop. He later was cast in a small role with Mel Gibson in "Lethal Weapon 4."
German actor Juergen Prochnow plays Schwarzenegger as governor in "See Arnold Run." The film, directed by James B. Rogers, who was an assistant director on "Me, Myself & Irene," "American Pie," "Dumb and Dumber" and other films, is scheduled to debut on A&E at the end of January.