Bill Cosby's Fall From Grace

Q&A: Tom Arnold On Being A Redneck, 'True Lies' Sequel Rumors & Goldilocks

Noelle Talmon Noelle Talmon
January 20th, 2009 9:06am EST
Tom ArnoldTom Arnold is a sports fanatic, a redneck, and a pretty cool guy. Arnold voices the role of Mac Bear in a new CGI animation film called Unstable Fables: Goldilocks and the 3 Bears, and he talked to Starpulse about this film and other projects that are keeping him busy these days.

1. What's different about this Goldilocks version and the traditional tale?

This is the same close, funny family at its core but with a contemporary storyline. These bears live in this new, contemporary, reality TV Paris Hilton world, but they hold onto their innocence and sense of family, which makes it funnier to me.

2. Tell us about your character, Mac Bear.

Mac Bear reminds me of Jackie Gleason on The Honeymooners. He is big, loud - not the brightest bulb but he loves his family more than anything and wants the best he can do for them. He's also the kind of guy you'd want on your bowling team. He doesn't always win, but he always gives it his best and that is good enough for his family. I relate to Mac. This is my idea of a perfect family.

3. How was the experience working with Henson Productions?

The Henson Productions name on anything immediately assures you that you're going to see quality. In both the animation and the storytelling. I was proud to work with them.

Watch a clip from Goldilocks & The 3 Bears HERE!

4. Will there ever be a "True Lies" sequel?

If all goes as planned, the day Arnold (Schwarzenegger) leaves office we will again team with Jim Cameron and do a comedy. Jim says it might not be called "True Lies II," but it will be fun. "True Lies" was my first real movie experience, and we've all stayed close, which I've realized, 50 films later, is very unusual. I love those guys. The only role Arnold has done since he became Governor was a cameo with Jamie Lee Curtis in "The Kid and I," a movie I wrote and produced based on my real relationship with my next door neighbor. He's a talented young man with cerebral palsy who watched "True Lies" 100 times and dreamed of playing the action hero in a film like that, with me as his sidekick, and we couldn't have done it without Jim Cameron's blessing because we used scenes from the original "True Lies" so that was very special to me.

5. You were the host of "Best Damn Sports Show Period." What are your favorite sports teams?

Well, college football is my favorite sport, and I'm a Hawkeye through and through. Though I love watching all the great rivalries. The Cubs are my baseball team, which teaches humility. The NY Giants are my football team because in 6th grade our colors were red and white, but they couldn't find a size 8 helmet for my huge head so I got a blue one, stuck a NY on the side and that was that. Luck would have it my godson's and best man's family are owners of the team so last year's Super Bowl was a dream come true and it hurt when Shaq (O'Neal), my next door neighbor of 8 years moved, but Kobe (Bryant) has won me over and I'm a Lakers man, but the truth is I could enjoy any game anywhere. Sports are my drug of choice. It binds us in ways religion and politics never could.

6. Your hometown is Ottumwa, Iowa. How much of it is still a part of your life, and what are some of your favorite things from the state?

I just took my girlfriend back to Thanksgiving in Ottumwa. That's kind of the litmus test of a relationship. If a big city girl can deal with a big, loud, small-town bunch of yahoos (my family) then she's got my heart. I still have the same friends I grew up with, and besides the scholarship I give at my old college and other Iowa related charities, I am a loyal Hawkeye and go to at least a couple of U of I football games a year. I worked at the Hormel meat packing plant for 3 years after high school to save enough money for Indian Hills Community College. From there I went to the University of Iowa, and my first time on stage, besides the Ottumwa Community Players as a kid, mostly because my grandma Dottie was one of its stars and I did complete in state competitions in Drama and Speech between football and basketball seasons, was at the Iowa Student Union in 1982. I did a very bad version of unoriginal standup comedy, but my friends were drunk enough to enjoy it and support me, which, because I was too dumb to know better (thank God) lead me to move to Minneapolis in 1983 to become a full-time standup comic - bartender - bouncer - Time Life Book Salesman. But after a couple years, I was able to support myself working clubs on the road and I learned how to write for others which led to moving to LA in January of 1988 to write on Roseanne.

7. What projects do you have planned in the future?

I'm writing films, developing another sports show and doing a couple of internet series, doing more stand-up comedy and looking for the next "True Lies" or Happy Endings. I had the opportunity to do dramatic work with great actors in independent films. I still have 6 or 7 films I've completed that haven't come out yet. I'm working on TV and having a lot of fun doing little films for Hallmark and other cable channels, as well as being the host of CMT's "My Big Redneck Wedding."

8. Talk about "My Big Redneck Wedding" on CMT.

When they first offered it to me, I said "no" because of the title. I don't like relationship shows where there's a contest and women cry. I also don't want to make fun of people, plus I was working hard to cross over to serious films (I'd just done 2 films with John Malkovich, one of my idols). But then Bob Kusbit at CMT called and asked me to just take a look at what they'd shot. I agreed and was blown away with what they'd done. Bob had produced one of my favorite docu-series "Made" for MTV and this was shot in that style. The weddings were already planned, we just filmed the action and its crazy for sure, but I could tell these people really loved each other. I was also struck by how much fun they had with not much money. I said I'd host it on the condition that we didn't make fun of these folks - there's almost nothing on the show me and my family back in Ottumwa, Iowa, haven't done - and that we showed that there were rednecks all over the country and most of all, that being a redneck meant someone who worked hard, played hard and had fun with what they had. There's no such thing as too much fun these days and I also liked that, like my childhood, the women were very strong and the sense of loyalty and "till death do us part, for better or worse" meant something to these people. It was inspiring, ridiculously absurd in its execution, but they have values I admire.


Noelle Talmon
Story by Noelle Talmon
Starpulse.com contributing writer




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