Lionsgate's Conan Movie on the Fast Track with New Writers
by Alex Billington
August 13, 2008
One of the biggest bits of news today surrounds two writers: Dirk Blackman and Howard McCain. The two have been hired by Lionsgate to write a new script for the Conan the Barbarian movie that's been hiding in the shadows for years. After finishing a script titled Amazon about female warriors with Scarlett Johansson attached, the two were brought on to work on a Conan script separate from the original two writers Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer. Now Lionsgate is anxious to get this into production right away and are trying to launch a franchise by making it a $100 million R-rated origin film. "We all want this movie to go into production as soon as possible. It's a fast-tracked movie."
Blackman and McCain, who wrote the sci-fi flick Outlander as well as the upcoming Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, are not going to be venturing back into the same territory as Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1982 Conan the Barbarian movie. Instead, they're going all the way back to Robert E. Howard's pulp stories first published in the 1930s. Producer Fredrik Malmberg explains: "Fans expect (these types of movies) to be more true to the source material. There's no reason there couldn't be a Conan movie every two years. He's almost like Batman: He's a dark hero. He's a hard hero. He has to be badass, but we also have to like him." Interesting comments from an ambitious producer, let's just hope it turns out that way.
The most integral part of this new Conan movie is the director and unfortunately they still haven't chosen one. If we put two and two together, back at Comic-Con, Robert Rodriguez sort of announced that he would be producing "the" Conan movie alongside of Red Sonja with Rose McGowan. However, considering Rodriguez's name isn't anywhere to be seen in this news, I'm not sure if it's the same movie or not. Iif Rodriguez is involved, let's hope it's someone from his arsenal that ends up getting the gig, otherwise I fear that Lionsgate may be throwing this away if some inexperienced guy directs it. I'm actually pretty excited for this return of Conan, but let's hope it doesn't get butchered. Will this turn out any good?
Reader Feedback - 14 Comments
Every flick has potential to be good, even great! I like to be optimistic about these things and have always understood that even if it's an inexperienced director, as long as his vision and passion remain intact, then that's a start. After all, how is an amateur supposed to turn pro? How do the rookies become household names? There's only one way to find out! 🙂 *** Best example I can conjure at this time would be Kevin Costner(although he was already superstar in front of the camera) . His first directorial effort was "Dances With Wolves", (1990), and it turned out to be a cinematic masterpiece!
Spider on Aug 13, 2008
In my opinion, don't try to make this 'good.' Make it fun as hell, and then in a couple years have the new Conan and Rose Mcgowan's Red Sonja do a crazy awesome crossover movie. Not every film has to aspire to be like the new Batman movies.
vegeta on Aug 13, 2008
Crush your enemies. See dem driven before you. Heah da lamentation of dere women.
Dave Lister, J.M.C. on Aug 13, 2008
The words: Lionsgate, good, and $100M really don't belong together :). Prove me wrong Joe Drake, prove me wrong.
Ryan on Aug 13, 2008
I hate how every studio is throwing around the word Batman as an adjective to describe their film...it's like they think that just by telling us it'll be like the new Batman we're going to throw our wallets at them...fucking marketers
Peloquin on Aug 14, 2008
THAT WHICH DOES NOT KILL YOU, ONLY MAKES YOU STRONGER.... THE RIDDLE OF STEEL: Steel is not strong, flesh is stronger... what is steel, compared to the hand that wields it? As to this new movie, well, hopefully the theater will not be empty like it was back in '82 when I saw Arnold portray Conan....the lamentation of da women...HA!!! that was funny reading that above. Could actually hear the voice in my head as I was reading it. In fact, I think I still own the VHS tapes of both Conan movies. No, I'm not proud. Just pointing out a fact is all. Yes a Sonja and Conan cross over sounds good to me. Plus if it's R rated, Rose McGowen will have to bare her lovely breasts for Conan, oh and for us too, eh eh.
Rich L. of New Haven, CT on Aug 20, 2008
The fact that they are going back to the origin of Conan is great news to my ears. When I first heard that they were making a third Conan movie... oh I don't know like ten or fifteen years ago I was happy. then last year I heard they were going to do a family freindly virsion and a cried. (No not realy but I felt like I would have if they acualy had made that movie). But I was verry happy when I heard Lionsgate bought Conan from those who surly would have killed the image of Conan for me. You have to understand, I love the all the short stories that Howard wrote back in the thirties, that is the conan I love, the vengfull, bloodlusting, womanizing, hillman chief. Conan was not at all a hero anyone exept to the reader and the beautifull long haired large breasted woman he would "Save/ Kidnap". He was truly evil in so many ways, but still he had a sence of honor "Belive it or not". Conan is and will always be the standerd in witch all other hero's are measured. Conan is the King Of Sword And Sorcery for all time. So, good luck with that movie lionsgate (No presure).
Patrick L Mooney on Sep 3, 2008
Well I started reading the works of Robert E Howards back when I was 15 in the late 80's and was spell binded to every dark bloody page. It was fast gritty and incredibly dark. If they were to portray Conan (Amra) as they did in earlier films they may very well ruin the Conan Saga's for all time, plus Mr. Howard would again be turning in his grave. My vision would be to start off with Conan of Cimmeria . Some of the best stories that Howard wrote involved elaborate chase scenes where Conan barely survives. He seems to get into a lot of trouble and has to escape from a bad situation while grabbing a girl for the rode (nice). I really hope they don't fuck it up
Robert E Howard on Sep 9, 2008
Still waiting for the new movie. Actually, I still own the old original VHS tape of Conan the Barbarian. Talk about grainy.
Rich Lande on Sep 9, 2008
I just hope they don't screw it up like whoever made that giant turd of a movie Kull the Conqueror. I nearly cried when I seen how much that Howard character got screwed up. I also hope they don't turn it into a "fun" movie full of cheesy jokes and bad acting like the first Sonja movie. I mean after all Conan is a barbarian, I want violence, brutality, women, creatures, oh yeah and a decent musical score. If I remember right the Kull movie had heavy metal music playing over the fight scenes. It just didn't fit. With so much great source material out there and Conan history there's no reason why this couldn't be a great movie. Let's just hope it is.
WS on Oct 2, 2008
Of all the literary fantasy characters in the genre of High Fantasy and Sword and Sorcery no character has become as indelible and profoundly mythic and iconic as Conan. The creation of this character in the 1930’s by Robert Ervin Howard, is a feat of imagination and wannabe desires that rivals and surpasses even the characters of Burroughs’s Tarzan of the Apes, Fleming’s James Bond, Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings, Stoker’s Dracula, Harris’s Hannibal Lecter, Rowling’s Harry Potter, and very likely even Siegel’s and Shuster’s Superman. Conan became every little boys and grownup’s fantasy dream of living in a time of total dominion of your destiny, regardless of your birth’s pedigree. If you had the physical might and sword skills you could cleave a road through life in times of total political incorrectness, lack of scruples, absent social conscience, unrepentant lack of pity, vengeful lust, greed to thwart and ridicule even the most profoundly heartless carpetbaggers, robber barons or the worst manipulators and hypocritical and jaded wall street vermin of our current times. The battles and triumphs Conan had against the darkest and most pestilent ghouls, powerful, wretched and evil sorcerers imaginable, deadliest beasts, treacherous enemies, horrifying monsters that magic and sorcery could imagine in its worst nightmares, was something that left the readers with a thirst for more. Conan; slave, pirate, gladiator, gambler, bully, outlaw, thief, scoundrel, womanizer, slayer, fortune hunter, soldier, mercenary, fighter, lover, etcetera, had no equal. That is until the minds of Barry W. Smith and Roy Thomas created an archetypal ferociously deadly, unyielding, cunning, and viciously efficient and skilled female warrior equal to Conan’s might and skill with a sword, and possibly the only character that might have given Xena a tinge of fear in her heart. I am speaking of Red Sonja. There has been comic books, novels, and movies with the character of Red Sonja, but they never got the attention that they merited, and the movies made of the Red Sonja character have also been sadly saddled with a gamut of baggage ranging from bad scripts, horrid acting, laughable choreography and just plainly bad choices of actors, actresses directors and writers mostly from the part of the producers, directors and studios who never took a serious effort on making themselves a good giving game franchise bonanza. Sadly, I see the same history being repeated again. Every one is in awe of Mr.Rodrigue’z resident genius status, so much so that no one seems to be willing to say boo! to him. That is very wrong, for Mr. Rodriguez has a penchant to give roles to past resident Joanne the plummer, who may have done a dandy job in cleaning and routering his pipes, and maybe a good amount of competent rubs on his head. If you get a good script, a decently good director who has deflated his ego, a committed studio and crew willing to collaborate and work in tangent, and even challenge gifted directors choices, everyone working together could possibly put together something that will make little boys and large googly eyed big boys come back for more, by giving them something that has a nescient chance of flowering into a cash cow franchise. The best thing that Mr. Rodriguez should have done is to take a very cold shower to sharpen his focus, gone and done his best if need be to find Hand Solo, or studio executive’s willing to use common sense in questioning the choices of actors to carry the tune, then maybe this one more try to make a franchise of Red Sonja, might get off the ground and fly far and wide. Rose McGowan may be nice to look at through dark glasses, but in the light of day, she is not the right one to play Red Sonja regardless of how glossy the posters are, how good the airbrushing is done, or even how much time and effort is spent on exercising, toning up, and acting boot camps. Not everyone is Meryl Streep, Gwyneth Paltro, Hillary Swank, Joan Allen, Emma Thompson, Jodie Foster, Helen Mirren, or Vanessa Redgrave. Sadly, the very beautiful and talented Ms. McGowan is not likewise the right person for the role as much as those in the know seem to assure those of lesser knowledge and abilities like myself, who see her choice to portray Red Sonja on the screen to be nothing but a train wreck coming. Why?, she neither has the temperament, character or body….yes, I said body for the role. So who would this amateur know-nothing have picked for the role…..someone who has the character, looks, and body….yes!, I said body and moves for the role. Unfortunately, no one awake at the switch when Mr. Rodriguez offered the talented Ms. McGowan the title role. So….whom would I have picked that in my humble opinion would be most likely to pull off the Red Sonja franchise off the ground with a good script and competent director………..If she would have accepted the role, I would give for your consideration……..Hudson Leick.
Carlos on Nov 7, 2008
Remember how well hollywood did the "Lord of the Rings" movies well I like everyone else read the books and they stayed close to what J.R.R Tolkin wrote,so don't try and change what Robert E Howard wrote, he is the reason everyone loves those stories,stay close to the original sorce and you'll have successful movies. also do this movie as a redo the original movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger though well done, used bits and pieces of alot of Howards "Conan" stories. just start out like Howard did with Conan and what we know about his character and please leave out what that hack of a writer "l sprague de camp" put into Howards books that clown thought he could change or finish what Howard had done.!
Toby D on Dec 17, 2009
Stick to the original stories - "Queen of the Black Coast" is a natural, Conan is in his late 20's, you can film in a southerly location, and it's a great story... fill it out a bit, and off you go. Toby D. mentioned keeping L. Sprague de camp's work out, but I fear Lin Carter's version far more... Please, no ripped from the womb nonsense, I've read every story, have the complete comic collection, have all the books, seen the movies, the TV show, the god awful cartoon, stick to the feel or the original... no half crazed Oriental sorcerers, he was friendly with the Aesir, not the Vanir, read the originals before you even think about putting a script together... do it right.
Steve R on Jan 1, 2010
They are making one remake after another. This is a sign that we have no creativity or imagination left. Only gore, shock and violence. They will ruin this.
alain on Apr 11, 2010
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