CONAN UPDATE – 5/28/09

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Hey Conan fans, long time no see. Sorry about that. It’s been one crazy motherf-ing ride, I will tell you that. I’m sure you have all heard the news that Brett Ratner is finally out of the picture. I think he came onto the scene sometime in September of 2008 and only now has his involvement been settled. Millennium is now searching for another director and will hopefully have someone soon. I hear they’re out to Uwe Boll. I kid.

As for the big news from our side, we are actually writing Conan 2, not Conan 1. For reasons that I am happy to tell anyone should I meet them at Comicon, we never got the chance to write a single page of Conan 1 although that was what we were hired to do. Instead, they stuck with their original script, the Donnelly/Oppenheimer draft. As a result, we were asked to come up with a new tale and we are presently at the end of the second act on that one. So yes, we are writing the sequel to a movie that has not only not been shot, but which does not even have a director yet.

So there’s a little bit of news for you.

Anyone out there read the O/D draft? Any thoughts?

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65 Responses to “CONAN UPDATE – 5/28/09”

  1. If the review from Latinoreview is really the main storyline of the screenplay from O/D, then this is the most unimaginative, boring, generic, non-howardian, non-conan, non hyborian style script they could EVER write and i have no idea how you guys, no matter how you try, can manage to get back to Howard.

    Wiping out the Cimmerians with Werewolfs… jeez…

    • outlanderthemovie Says:

      For obvious reasons I can’t make any comment on the O/D script, positive or negative. I can only say about ours that we are actually basing it on source material. (Altho I’m not going to tell you what source ;).

  2. […] Dirk Blackman just wrote on his private Outlander blog, that himself and Howard McCaine never got a chance to write the screenplay for Conan 1, but to write a sequel to the movie based on the screenplay by Oppenheimer/Donelly! This is strange news, as the recently leaked Oppenheimer/Donelly script is miles, yards, aeons far away from anything that Howard ever wrote, be it style, storyline, character, motivation, world-canon. […]

  3. So, what happens to your Conan 2 script if the O/D movie sucks ass, and doesn’t warrant a sequel?

    • outlanderthemovie Says:

      It just sits on some shelf somewhere gathering dust along with tens of thousands of other scripts. Or, they cut out half the action, film it for $15 million and send it straight to DVD. Let’s just hope that doesn’t happen. Let’s hope the first one is bloody good fun and whets everyone’s appetite for another one.

      • Well, maybe if they have to do the DVD route, they’ll change the names, and just make a good, low budget S&S film. :)

        But, as you said, let’s hope…

    • outlanderthemovie Says:

      So again – who else has read the o/d script and what are your thoughts about it? If you haven’t read it, is there someone out there who wants to share a copy?

      • You’re still not answering whether or not the latinoreview-leak is INDEED the O/D script that they’ll be using. If that IS the script the movie will #%!@ big donkey &#@% because it’s so far from Howard’s Conan that the damage to the new franchise is irreparable. And that from movie ONE.

      • Amra the Lion Says:

        I would like a copy of it as well if anyone still has it. I hope that the LatinoReview leak is just a joke and not a serious review on a proposed script.

    • Well he basicly says the same Latinoreview said, while leaving the “all Cimmerians get wiped out by werewolfs” part out.

      * He says mumbo-jumbo about Conan being the chosen one – epic fail not howards
      * He says the story is uninteresting, but the choping of limbs is great – fail not really that much howard.. who had great stories
      * Conan saving a wizard girl? – Well not too howardy as Conan mostly is suspicious towards casters
      * Conan being on a blind revenge trip through the world – fail not really Howard.. while Conan sometimes runs of because of a revenge, its not the MAIN theme of REH Conan to run around like a maniac killing people because of revenge.

      I am underwhelmed :(

    • outlanderthemovie Says:

      Aesir – that is the script Brett fell in love with and as of now is the one they are going with.

  4. I don’t see evidence that anyone is adapting a Howard story. I can’t assume that one script is better than the other if I haven’t reead either. It’s possible that they both suck. Sorry, Dirk, I am still skeptical. :)

    • outlanderthemovie Says:

      I think you should approach any Conan film with a heaped pile of skepticism but allow yourself a ray of hope. As I mentioned elsewhere, we are indeed adapting REH material, but I’m not free to say which. Yes, it’s possible that both scripts will suck, but I can tell you if ours does, it won’t be for lack of love.

      • Have you had a chance to look at the new Solomon Kane movie by Michael Bassett? Has been praised by most reviewers up until now. Strange that maybe once the Conan movie is finished, a very small indie production will be more Howard and perhaps even the overall better movie, than what Hollywood could come up with :(

    • outlanderthemovie Says:

      I havent seen the movie but I remember reading the script a while back and thinking that they should just make it because it was pretty damn good. Movies are hit and miss no matter where they come from. I can’t tell you how many dreadful Sundance movies I’ve seen. If this indie Solomon Kane turns out to be terrific it will be just as big a fluke as Conan being good. (And don’t read into that me being negative about Conan. I’m not. I’m only making the point that all good movies are to some extent flukes. The script not only has to survive development but come out better; the studio has to say yes; the right director needs to be chosen; the appropriate cast picked who won’t fuck up the script. )

      • Kortoso Says:

        I, too, have read the leaked SK script. Its appearance created quite a buzz among the fanboys. I didn’t see very much Howard in it; the author seemed merely hell-bent on creating a separate origin story.

        Some photons have been spilt over this already, but how mysterious can a character remain if we see his mother step out of their hut and call “Yoo-hoo! Conan! Dinner’s ready!”

        How badass can he be after that? ;)

  5. Can Outlanderthemovie tell us if they are looking to Frank Frazetta’s art work of conan as a basis to cast an actor as conan?Any info along those line’s would be cool.If the first conan movie suck’s ass because it is not faithfull to REH i will still go see it if conan 2 is faithfull to REH. please tell us something.The powers to be give us nothing.

    • outlanderthemovie Says:

      I don’t believe they will use any art to choose Conan. There will probably be general guidelines of size, hair color, etc. Truth to tell, the biggest pitfall is size. If they feel the need to match Arnold’s size they will paint themselves into a corner. Conan needs to be big, not huge. At the risk of causing consternation, I will add here what Howard and I sent to the studio many months ago as a general physical description of Conan. LMK what you think:

      CASTING CONAN

      He is a big man. But he is not a bodybuilder.

      Well over six feet tall, with longish, jet-black hair. His eyes are a cool burning blue. His physique is absolutely impressive, but is the product of a life lived, not the gym. He has many scars and calloused hands. He is handsome, not pretty, in the way of Russell Crowe. Poised, muscled, his whole body seems ready for action even when relaxed.

      Conan has an air of command and a prefect sense of self. Not egotism – he just knows who he is. He owns a room simply by walking in. Think Clint Eastwood. In fact, the closest to this character might very well be Eastwood’s Man With No Name. (Although not as self-consciously and laconically cool) People notice him and either step back without thinking or are drawn inescapably towards him by the pull of his commanding presence.

      Lastly, Conan is not dumb. In fact he has a great deal of native intelligence as well as curiosity. He should probably not have an accent as that will recall the earlier portrayal, but his voice should be on the lower side of the register.

      • I think your description is spot on. As an example of physical presence, I would point to Stallone in the latest Rambo. He worked hard to get the physique of a strong man who came by his muscles through hard labor and exertion. In fact, if you took Rambo in that film, and added a boisterous side when he was relaxed, it seems you would have a very Howardian Conan.

        Just my take on it.

  6. My partner and I have 5 Conan screenplays already written. The REH fans seem to love them. You can look at them at my website, The Scrolls of Ironhand.

  7. Gulbrand Says:

    Thank you for the update, Dirk. I am not entirely sure I understand your second paragraph correctly, though.

    You say: “We never got the chance to write a single page of Conan 1 although that was what we were hired to do. Instead, they stuck with their original script, the Donnelly/Oppenheimer draft. As a result, we were asked to come up with a new tale and we are presently at the end of the second act on that one.”

    Are you saying that the script you are writing were originally intended to be Conan 1, but now will possibly be Conan 2, instead? Or are you saying that they scrapped your first script, and now you have been asked to write a new one, going from where the O/D-script left off?

    • outlanderthemovie Says:

      Here’s the deal – O/D had written a version of Conan 1. For whatever reason, we were hired to write an entirely new version of Conan 1. While we were preparing our outline, Ratner got hold of the O/D draft and fell in love with it. So, the studio stopped our work on Conan 1. After many months of painful negotiations, we agreed to scrap our story for Conan 1 and come up with a completely new one and write it as Conan 2. That is what we are presently at work on.

      • Gulbrand Says:

        Thank you for the quick reply. I see. That is sad news indeed.

        From what you wrote about Conan above, it would seem your take on the character is infinitely better than that presented in the O/D script. Granted, I have not gotten a hold of that script, but if what Latino Review posted is just remotely true, that much is pretty obvious by now.

        Who knows; this project has taken a lot of twists and turns before, so it could conceivably still come back in your court. You know the chances of that way better than me, though, and it does sound pretty bleak. How much time do you think you would need to finish the script, if you were given another chance at film #1?

    • outlanderthemovie Says:

      Anything is possible when it comes to Hollywood, and I would love to come back at Conan 1. However, O/D are accomplished writers and have their own viewpoint of Conan. What we all have to hope for now is that a fine director is chosen who can find a Conan to fill that vision.

  8. Carlos the Jackal Says:

    Hi Dirk, hi everybody, glad to hear from you again! I’ve been busy so it took me a while to go through all the new posts here. I didn’t read the script yet (but I am eager to read it so if anyone is willing to share it…), but I’ve seen the reviews that provided the synopsis. First, I have to say I hope it’s not going to be a still-born production, like the new Punisher film for instance. New Punisher (Punisher War Zone, 2008) has good cast, it is hard edged and all, but has nothing original to it, so it was doomed from the start. Regarding the plot of the new Conan, it’s hard to tell just from what’s found in these reviews, but I have to say I’m skeptical about the revenge motif, and the chosen one motif, been used as the main plot device. Scorpion King has something like that, but it’s a bad film (or, two bad films). It’s bad because it tucks down the audience, it does not stir the expectations, it does not challenge the audience in any way. To make a good script, I believe you must not let the clichés take over (unless you’re Tarantino and let them take over too much so they become interesting again because of the over-use), but have to stir them a bit. You got to bring some ambivalence to it. For example, if the new Conan is the chosen one, who than goes around and kills people who did him wrong, and succeeds in his vengeance without anything to question what he is and what he does or what others do, it will be boring. But, if one brings some ambivalence to the above mentioned motifs, it might work. See The Matrix and how it deals with the chosen one thing – yes, Neo is the chosen one, but chosen by the machines to do their dirty work! Or, see Tombstone, a film about Wyatt Earp with Kurt Russel, where at some point Earp discusses the Johnny Ringo character with Doc Holliday, and Holliday says Johnny Ringo is out for vengeance. And when Wyatt asks why is Ringo out for revenge, Doc says: “For being born!” Stuff like that are bringing a whole different view to clichés like vendetta or the chosen one thing, so if that’s how the new Conan is done, it might work. And I really do hope it works. First, I hope it works because I’d like to see a successful new Conan movie, than, I’d like to see what you two, Dirk and Howard, have in store for us in your sequel. And, I have to say I’m sorry it turned out the first one is gonna go without you working on it.

  9. I have a BIG question:

    OK, the “chosen one” is the Donelly/Oppenheimer script.

    But, we are talking about the EARLIER SCREENPLAY?? There is not a second, third or fourth draft?? This is no professional at all!

    In my opinion, the stories, even the good ones, must be improved before the filming, in order to rich its full potential…

    • outlanderthemovie Says:

      Don’t worry on that particular score. There are to my personal knowledge three drafts and there will doubtless be more as a director is pulled in.

      • Then they better find a potent, strong and good director like Ridley Scoot for Gladiator, who together with the writer turned THE WHOLE script around and only a thin red-line stood was it was and it was damn good he did it. ( on the special edition steel case dvd, there was a veeeery long documentary of how they actually came up with the story… crazy, chaotic, but ultimately very creative and great and it turned out to be a good movie in my opinion).

      • I can atest to films changing quite significantly between drafts and then even between the last draft and the finished film. There’s a particular movie I’m quite fond of (which I find fun but isn’t necessarily what I would necessarily call a good film) that I’ve read most of the drafts for. While often certain scenes stay the same, details and plot points often shit significantly with entire characters and even subplots and themes disapearing and being added.

        There’s a number of reasons something might change too. scenes are sometimes simplified and locations dropped or moved to decreaase the budget for example.

        And then, not everything ends up translated on screen either. Some scenes won’t work, or are trimmed out for pacing etc. Just reading a script, not everything that reads great on paper will work out as such.

        For now, lets just hope that this Conan movie is at least mildly successful enough to warrant a sequel, that we know will kick ass and top the first… Right DIrk? ;)

      • Ok, i´m more relax now.

        With a good director, maybe that story can work… (i want to thave hope)

  10. I guess I should clarify that I wasn’t talking about Outlander, which I think is quite good… even moreso considering what it went through just to be here.

  11. Ridley Scott was approached to do the first Conan but turned it down. I don’t think he would do this one, but oh if he did…

    Just watched Outlander on DVD and it was a good movie. I was waiting for it since they shot it in NS as I lived there and even visited the set. The shame of it is that I had to wait for DVD. But alas, the only reason I watch this genre is because as a ten year old boy I watched Conan with my Father when it first came out and it introduced me first to the Comics but most importantly to the REH stories. We need a good Conan movie; don’t you just hear the war drums?

    • outlanderthemovie Says:

      I want to see one just as badly as you, even if I don’t write it. And just like you I don’t want my heart broken by a bad one.

      Thanks for the kind words on Outlander. Definitely appreciated.

  12. Thank you Outlandermovie fore the reply.It look’s like you know the real conan!Do you think you could tell us a little about the plot of your conan 1 story?So we can see what we will be missing out on.

    • outlanderthemovie Says:

      I will think about releasing some of the stuff from our first take. I just have to clean up some of the legal issues as we transition from Conan 1 to Conan 2. However, might you be interested in a quick version I did of Frost Giant’s daughter?

  13. HELL YES! That would be vary badass!

  14. Hi, Congratulations to the site owner for this marvelous work you’ve done. It has lots of useful and interesting data.

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  16. I’m going to make a prediction… Since Andrew Bryniarski was already in a few of Nispel’s movies and his name was dropped a few times on the interweb I am going to say that he will be short listed to play Conan. Not a wish just a prediction.

    • Interesting observation about those two. Andrew looks like he might be difficult to deal with, but if Marcus has him figured out, then all power to them.

  17. I think Andrew bryniarski would have been a good choice 10 or 15 years ago.He is or will be 40 years old this year.But if he can pull of a young conan I think he should do it.If he could get the physique that he had in the movie ”THE PROGRAM” back he would look perfect.He has a natural viciousness about him.Give him black hair,blue eye’s and some scars,and i think we could have a kick ass conan.They want an unknown as conan and he is.Can Outlandermovie or anybody else come up with a better actor for the part?

  18. Carlos the Jackal Says:

    After reading about Nispel being chosen as a director for the new Conan, I rented his Pathfinder on DVD in order to see what this Nispel guy is about. After seeing Pathfinder I cannot but remember a quote from Karl Marx which goes like this “…after a passionate and inspiring night they wake up in the still coldness of the morning after”. This quote is, actually, about all of us here, on this board – we dreamed of the new Conan movie being this and that, and now it seems like the party is over, and we stand frozen in the crude morning light of what is, and no longer under the protection of what could have been or what should have been.

    My wife and I were watching Nispel’s flick and could not help ourselves but comment all the time while watching it: “Oh, this is Conan the Barbarian”, “this is Emerald Forest”, “this is Willow/this is Last of the Mohicans/First Blood/Highlander/Rambo: First Blood Part II/Jeremiah Johnson/Excalibur/Star Wars…” It is simply amazing how uninventive, unoriginal and uncreative this film is. It’s one thing when Tarantino cites American B-movie production, or when Wachowskis cite Japanese manga – they extensively use citations, but they throw a new light on what we saw before, so the old viewed from another angle appears as new. This Nispel’s film doesn’t do nothing like that. But, I’m not blaming Nispel for not being creative. Creativity, inventiveness, originality, talent, those are things that one has or hasn’t got. It was up to the studio to assess those things in him and see if they wanna support Nispel’s project. And, since he produced an unimaginative and an unoriginal film, it was up to them to see what are they going to do with such a product. So, I don’t blame Nispel for being unoriginal, I blame him for being a hypocrite. Because, it can be nothing else at work but the clear case of hypocrisy when one makes a film with vikings, swords, helmets, spears, swordfights, and than in that same movie favoures the anthithesis of all those things, things that are precisely the main reason why someone will go and watch a movie like Pathfinder. We who saw it, saw it because we like swordfights, bloody spears, bloody swords, viking helmets, etc. We didn’t go to cinema or rented the DVD because we wanted to see politically correct Indians (and that thing with Indians here is, by the way, a clear case of racism – Indians were not politically correct people who were “one with nature” and all that, they were savages, so if one wants to truely respect them one can do that by finding something worthy of respect in their savagery, and not by falsifying them into something they were not). So, in short, Nispel believes he can have his cake and eat it at the same time. He wanted us to secretly enjoy bloody swordfights while publicly pretending we are concerned with the morality of the story, the politically correct values it provides, the peace-loving message of it, etc. It is nothing else but obscenity. An obscenity not unlike that of, say, a street cop who stops a woman in the car so he could take a good look at her behind, while pretending he stopped her because of her own safety, because she had a flat tire or something.

    • Oh man, Carlos! You just knocked all hope from me for the new Conan movie, because what you said is so insightful. It is possible that Nispel did this subconsciously but that doesn’t help matters. I am going to pretend he never made Pathfinder and look towards the mediocre reboots of TCH and Friday the 13TH as I must admit I thought they where okay. I was reminded more of Conan from the imagery in TCH as it reminded me of Frazetta paintings for some reason.

      • Carlos the Jackal Says:

        Perhaps Nispel reads this and decides to surpass himself with the Conan movie? What are the chances of that? I guess we’ll know when the film comes out.

        I also thought Nispel’s TCM was okay, though nothing big and also not an experience worth repeating. That’s my criteria – if a film I’m watching does not inspire me to want to watch it again, it’s not a good film.

        Regarding Nispel and Frazetta, well, Pathfinder occasionally does menage – but only to a certain extent – in bringing some of Frazetta’s work to big screen. But, it stays on the level of staging a photography and not a film scene. Film scene’s got to have some purpose, otherwise it’s just your average tv-commercial, or your average MTV video, or a nice photo, but nothing more than that.

  19. That’s some good shit Carlos the Jackal.

    • Carlos the Jackal Says:

      Thank you, Big V.

      • I totally agree with anything you said about Nispel’s Pathfinder and like to add that his main problem IMHO was that he wanted to make every 5 minutes of the movie look like a tv-commerical or music video and while doing completely lost the purpose of the scenes AND the rhythm of painting out an actual movie.

        Pathfinder is one of those view movies where i want the time back i spend watching… and i can watch Uwe Boll movies and enjoy them… a bit… somehow.

  20. Ill just say i get sick of people bitching about directors.We all agree that Brett Rattner was a bad idea ,but he is out now.So i think we should give Nispel some credit.Maybe it’s a good they got a horror director to do the job.What are your thoughts on Derek Mears as conan? He played Jason Voorhees in Nispel’s Friday the 13.

    • Carlos the Jackal Says:

      I’m ready to give Nispel a chance if his Conan is made in order for Nispel to make penance for what he did with Pathfinder.

  21. Was Nispel’s Pathfinder a remake?

    • Yup it was… look for “Ofelas” which is at a much better movie, even if it is a low budget production from 1986.

    • Yes, the recent patchfinder was a remake of what I believe was a… Norwegian film, or something like that. But the story was transplanted from Europe to North America.

      • Carlos the Jackal Says:

        AD, you wrote “patchfinder” :) It is a patchwork, but a bad one since it couldn’t patch together all its parts.

  22. Thanks guy’s,I will see if i can find it.

  23. Hehehe! Wow… I didn’t catch that typo somehow. Curiously Apropriate…

  24. Carlos the Jackal Says:

    Here is a video for presidential campaign of candidate Boro Miranovic, running for presidency of the State of Montenegro in 1997 (the video has English subtitles):

    If you wonder why am I giving you the link for something such as this here, on Conan board, just take a look, even for a minute or two. It’s really one of a kind, trust me!

  25. Man after my own heart, with a rusty sword. ;)

  26. Can we read “Frost giant’s daughter”?

  27. ArcticDeath Says:

    What is this business of him owning a room, it`s not Shaft. You can`t have a famous thief, i`m supposing that you`re gonna start with that, who enters a room like that. It wold have that old Bond feel to it, the one of a famous spy, when even though he is a spy, when he walks into a bar, every bartender knows his drink. He can be famous in certain circles, like in Tower Of The Elephant. If he was to enter a Tatooinesqe bar, he might act like that, otherwise l aspect him to move in shadows, keep a low profile.

  28. Wow, what was that?

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