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Patrick Knapp-Schwarzenegger: The Dealmaker

He is one of the leading entertainment attorneys in Los Angeles and represents many of Hollywood’s biggest stars. His clients include Nicolas Cage, Jason Statham, and Jackie Chan, and for decades, he has been the most important counsellor to his uncle, Arnold Schwarzenegger. For all of the “Terminator” star’s big deals, top attorney Patrick Knapp-Schwarzenegger pulls the strings behind the scenes. The 51-year old with youthful appearance – he looks like a man in his mid-thirties – is connected in Hollywood like few others. Recently, the dealmaker with dual citizenship has become increasingly active as entrepreneur, acquiring stakes in booming enterprises such as Kreisel Electric and top-shelf Tequila brand Padre Azul. OOOM met Knapp-Schwarzenegger for an open chat about his fatherless childhood (his father died when Patrick was three), the brutal Hollywood business, President Trump, and his Uncle Arnold.

Georg Kindel23. Oktober 2019 No Comments
patrick knapp schwarzenegger ooom magazin

patrick knapp schwarzenegger ooom magazin

Interesting that you invested in an Austrian tequila brand. After all, Austria is better known for white wine than for tequila. Did you take your cue from George Clooney, who showed that a tequila brand can be built into a multi-billion dollar company? Or are you simply a tequila aficionado who loved that particular product so much that you felt like investing?

The comparison to George Clooney is one that is drawn frequently, and it honors me. George is a great guy. But George Clooney, with his very specific coolness factor, is a singularity. In terms of branding and marketing, his company did everything right. There is a global trend towards tequila right now, which of course was part of my reasoning to get involved. Padre Azul has a fantastic team, an awesome brand, the tequila tastes amazing – it’s just great fun to be involved as a partner. The company distributes Padre Azul in the German-speaking world as well as in the USA, and I assume the wider strategy is a global one. We are growing very fast – Padre Azul is already on the shelves in top locations like the Four Seasons, Park Hyatt, Nobu, Ritz, Ushuaia, and many others.

You appeared on the US TV show “The Celebrity Apprentice” with your Uncle Arnold in a format where celebrities with big egos compete against each other. Trump, Arnold’s predecessor on the show, attacked Arnold at some point via the media, criticizing that the ratings for the show were lower under Arnold than under Trump. Arnold responded brilliantly by offering Trump his old job as host of “The Celebrity Apprentice” back in return for the job as US President, so that Americans can finally sleep again at night. What was your first thought when Trump attacked your show?

It was quite funny. It was his show before we took over, and someone at MGM made the decision that he could keep his executive producer credit. Everyone thought that by the time we’d start our first season with the new team, Trump would be history. Then he was nominated, and everyone kept thinking it doesn’t matter, there’s no way he’s going to win. And then he actually won and became president. There were calls to boycott our show on the internet. Everyone who was against Trump saw his executive producer credit for our show and assumed he was involved in the production. Funnily enough, the Republicans then also called for a boycott of the show, since Arnold had not supported Trump’s bid for the presidency. So they were against us as well. We were boycotted from both sides of the political spectrum. But it was quite funny to have the president comment on our show.

patrick knapp schwarzenegger

Arnold has always found very adequate words of response on social media. Quotes such as “little wet noodle” come to mind, a joking reference to Trump. His role as a public commentator was one of the reasons our jury placed him right at the very top at number three in the OOOM 100 ranking, in which our magazine chooses the most inspiring people of the world. What does Patrick Knapp-Schwarzenegger think of President Donald Trump?

You always vote for a package. He did some things right, and many others wrong. Generally speaking, a political course of integration is always best, and Trump made many mistakes in that respect. He made too many enemies. Let’s say, there’s room for improvement.

Would you represent Trump as an attorney?

I could not entirely rule it out. Never say never. He can get in touch when he is no longer in office, and then we can take it from there. More importantly, though, it is unlikely he would ever choose me as his lawyer.

“Would I represent Trump as his attorney? Never say never. He made many mistakes, he made too many enemies. It was quite funny to have the President commenting on ‘The Celebrity Apprentice.’”

You are fifty-one, but you look much younger. Where do you see yourself in ten years? Will you still be a top-level attorney? Will you be an entrepreneur with a big portfolio of companies and investments?

I enjoy life as it is. Being an active partner in a law firm – that’s something I will certainly continue. We have an interesting time ahead of us in the firm. We are just plotting our general course for the next ten years. I will continue to work in the movie business, and I will expand my portfolio as entrepreneur and investor. And family is very important, of course. I hope to carve out more time, maybe spend two months in Austria at some point, maybe even a whole year to live through the sequence of seasons there. That is a dream I have.

How do you define “luck”?

Luck is a concept almost like karma. Luck is something you earn through work. I believe that if you do good in this world, you are likely to receive good in return.


Photos: Roland Unger

23. Oktober 2019