There was naturally a lot of speculation circling Arnold Schwarzenegger leading up to when his term as Governor of California ended at the start of the year. His expected return to acting is now official, with production on Liongate’s Last Stand just begun.

The film will see him star opposite Jaimie Alexander (Thor) as the female lead, with a supporting cast the includes Peter Stormare (TV’s Prison Break), Rodrigo Santoro (Che: Parts 1 and 2), Eduardo Noriega (Vantage Point), and Zach Gilford (TV’s Friday Night Lights).

Variety are now reporting that the cast has been further bolstered by the awesome Oscar winner Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland), Johnny Knoxville (the one and only Jackass star), Luis Guzman (Yes Man), and the acting veteran Harry Dean Stanton (The Green Mile).

The film will see,

“Schwarzenegger playing the sheriff of a sleepy little town who runs up against an escaped drug cartel leader heading for the Mexican border.”

Last Stand is being helmed by South Korean director Kim Jee-Woon (The Good, The Bad, The Weird; I Saw The Devil), from an original script by newcomer Andrew Knauer, with rewrites done by Jeffrey Nachmanoff (The Day After Tomorrow) and most recently by George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau). Lorenzo di Bonaventura – what a name – will be producing, and his credits include all three Transformers films, Red, Salt, Shooter, and Constantine. Essentially, everyone involved knows what they’re doing.

A US release date is currently scheduled for 18th January, 2013, so we’ve got some time before we see Last Stand on the big screen, but it sounds like it could well be worth the wait. We shall see in a little over a year. Naturally, a lot of people will be interested to see what Arnie’s return to acting will be like.