Gladiator Strong: Ralf Moeller

The bodybuilder-turned actor is another example of how fitness creates opportunity.

When you see Gladiator on TV do you stop and watch it?

Most guys do. Absolutely. I mean that film…I still can’t believe sometimes when I watch it. When we grow up as kids, there are certain kinds of films you watch over and over again, even if you’ve seen them. This is also that kind of film. I haven’t seen it for a while, but of course, when I see it, I watch it and suddenly I appear and I say to myself, “You were in that kind of movie.” With Russell Crowe, Richard Harris, Oliver Reed, Joaquin Phoenix, there were so many great characters in it, and of course, Ridley Scott, the legendary director.

Arnold sounds like he’s always been there for you. How did you guys meet?

We became friends in 1982 when he came to Germany to promote Conan. He told me he felt comfortable because I wasn’t trying to bother him and asking, “Could you do this and that for me?” I wasn’t trying to become the next Arnold. That’s not possible. But he was always a big inspiration and helped. He helps people. He was always a big supporter, but you have to do it on your own. The only film we did together was Batman & Robin. It wasn’t the most successful Batman. I was the guard and Jesse Ventura was also a guard. Suddenly, the director, Joel Schumacher, said, “OK. Let’s start the scene. Action!” So, I started my line the same time Jesse Ventura started the line and I said, “Jesse, that’s my line, I’m Guard No. 1,” and Jesse says, “No, you’re mistaken. I’m Guard No. 1. That’s my line.” So, we went back and forth. Arnold was looking and said, “Come on, guys, let’s get the scene done.” By the end, we split up the lines...Arnold is an inspiration for many things. After he went to Iraq, I went to Germany and Afghanistan to bring gym equipment to NATO forces. It’s funny, the soldiers didn’t ask about Gladiator. They asked about Beerfest.

What projects do you have coming up?

Right now I’m an ambassador for Audi and I have a deal with IWC, a watch company. I have a movie called Wonder Girls coming up next year. I play the coach of the East German swim team in the ’70s. Instead of taking vitamins, the girls didn’t know they were getting a kind of steroid. In the meantime, they were 16 and 17 and their bodies changed because of the kinds of steroids they got. The coach loved the girls. He was like a father figure to them, but he wanted success, also, and allowed them to use steroids. It’s all a true story.