Former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger will return to acting with a leading role in the western The Last Stand, it has been announced.

Schwarzenegger will play a border-town sheriff who finds himself battling a notorious drug kingpin on the run in the movie.

The role is his first major movie part since Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines in 2003. Schwarzenegger made a cameo appearance in Sylvester Stallone's The Expendables in 2010.

The president of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Joe Drake said Swarzenegger will bring "incredible magnetism" to the character of Sheriff Owens.

He said: “Arnold Schwarzenegger will bring incredible magnetism to this complex but classic role.

“When he came on the screen in The Expendables, it always electrified the audience. In this film, the Sheriff Owens character grapples with some really tough stuff, but ultimately triumphs, and we knew he’d truly elevate this high octane ride.”

The film will be directed by Korean filmmaker Kim Jee-woon. No shooting or release date have yet been confirmed.