LOS ANGELES – Arnold Schwarzenegger can soon be seen on the big screen ogling a room full of scantily clad women before grabbing at a female guest.

He filmed the scene in the “Around the World in 80 Days” remake (opening Friday) only a few months before women accused him of sexual harassment preceding the landmark recall election that made him California’s current governor.

“It was three or four weeks after we shot that he announced it and we thought, “Oh that’s cool, that means we’ll have a governor in the movie,”‘ director Frank Coraci told Zap2it.com.

“There was no press about that at the time, and it’s ironic that the part wasn’t written with any notion that that was going to be press about this,” Coraci adds. “I had no knowledge of any of this stuff, it was one of those odd things that happened, and I thought “Well, that’s really funny now.”‘

In the film, Schwarzenegger portrays egocentric Turkish Prince Hapi, who has belly dancers wriggling around him as he stares. He invites the world travelers, Phileas Fogg (Steve Coogan) and Passepartout (Jackie Chan) to join him for dinner, and then makes unwanted advances toward the woman traveling with them, portrayed by actress Cecile de France.

The soon-to-be-governor came back to loop his voice for the scene in the middle of his campaign, but didn’t ask for any changes.

“He came into the room, watching the scene – the whole time I’m nervous,” the director says. “He had a cigar in his mouth and he’s watching the scene and he turns after it’s over and says, “Frank you did it again.”‘

Chan adds, “He’s not that tough. He’s very friendly, lovable and a giant big guy doing tiny things sitting in the corner playing chess like this. He’s a lovable person.”

Coogan says, “I think it’s a smart thing for him to do, because he’s kind of laughing at himself. In this part, he’s mocking himself and people like that. It’s like people who say, “No, no one must ever laugh at me,’ it’s not an endearing quality. I think people warm towards people who don’t mind laughing at themselves.”

(c) 2004, Zap2it.com.

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Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.


PHOTOS (from KRT Photo Service, 202-383-6099):


AP-NY-06-14-04 1156EDT

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