CONAN

 

Okay, what the heck. Since Conan has been broached on this blog, I’m curious – who do you think should play  him in the movie? Don’t be afraid to add links or pictures.

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107 Responses to “CONAN”

  1. I suppose I should read the books. My entire impression of the character is from a few samples of the comic book art and the Arnold movies… Can someone provide a sample description of Conan from the books and I’ll gladly take a shot at suggesting actors.

  2. AD, I suggest heading over to http://www.conan.com, and checking out the forums.

    That being said, I don’t know that there is a “known” actor who could really pull off Conan AND keep fans of the source material happy. This is an issue that has long been debated on the Conan forums.

    Personally, it all depends on how old the character is going to be in the movie. For a young Conan, I like Daniel Cudmore. He was Colossus in the X-Men films. Paul Telfer of the Hercules mini-series also works.

    But, barring the necessity for a known actor, I would say a talent-search would be a good idea.

  3. Happy to be of help!

    Robert E. Howard (REH) wrote in such an impressionistic style that it’s hard to pin down anything in his world. But…

    Conan was often described as “tigrish” or “panther-like” and in other ways conjuring up feline beasts of prey.

    He was strong, large, but not necessarily bulky.

    He was definitely agile and very quick.

    When I first started reading the stories back in the 70s I imagined Sean Connery in the role, which he very nearly got, when Ridley Scott and John Boorman were considered for director.

    Today, I would go with Scots Gerard Butler or Paul Telfer. They both have the physiciality plus they can act. I would stay away from a non-actor; the juiciest way to portray Conan now is to give his character some depth. Not modern angst, but to show him as an interesting man, a primitive barbarian at heart, but no man’s fool, and made of solid iron at the core.

  4. Head-On-A-Pike Says:

    Whoever chose that Gary Gianni painting for this page has definitely got the right idea. Just keep all of his stuff, Mark Schultz’s, maybe some Greg Manchess (and let’s not forget Frank Frazetta) in a big bible and take it with you wherever you go.

    In fact, as Peter Jackson hired Alan Lee and John Howe as production artists for Lord of the Rings, so I would suggest considering guys like Gianni and Schultz for your art department.

    At this point in the game, I don’t want to name some actor whom we all know and recognize. It has to be an unknown, who is exclusively associated with Conan by the general public. I have thrown around a few names over the years, but no actor I’ve seen TRULY fits the bill.

    Now, if you could digital morph some actors together from “yesteryear”, I’d take a mixture of Kirk Douglas, Jack Palance and Charles Bronson from the neck up, plunk it all onto Clint Walker’s broad shoulders and then pump him up just a little bit more. But not like a bodybuilder. Oh, and throw in some of the agility of a Burt Lancaster or Douglas Fairbanks.

    I know, these are all guys from another time, but so is Conan. Although I know this film needs to appeal to a modern audience, it should also feel ancient and historical, rather than modern and over-stylized like 300. If you’re filtering a modern sensibility through a style akin to movies like Spartacus, El Cid, or The Vikings, you’re definitely on the right track (I know, I know…you didn’t ask for advice on how to make the movie).

    I thought I heard something from F. Malmberg stating that they were looking at rugby players in New Zealand/Australia. I think that’s an excellent place to start. But the challenge will be not only finding a massive, imposing brute, but one who has a lot of charisma and can come across as cunning and agile as well. He’s a complicated man. Remember that Conan is of a race that no one really ever sees, so he’s got to stand out in a crowd, and seem like something of a wild animal in the company of more average men. But not with any corny WWE snarling and grimacing. He doesn’t have to go around acting like a badass; he just is one. He intimidates without trying to.

    In another forum, I recently singled out a particular word that R. E. Howard often used to describe Conan, which I think should be plastered everywhere you guys look so that you never forget it. That word is “wolfish”.

    To AD: Yes, I would definitely read some of the actual stories if I were you , and wanting to offer an opinion on who should play Conan in the movie. Howard gives countless descriptions of how massive and muscular Conan is, but it’s passages like this that really stick with me:

    “She saw more fully now his unlikeness to the Hyborian races. In his dark, scarred face there was a suggestion of moodiness; and without being marked by depravity, or definitely evil, there was more than a suggestion of the sinister about his features, set off by his smoldering blue eyes. A low broad forehead was topped by a square-cut tousled mane as black as a raven’s wing.”

    It would be a huge bonus if the chosen actor didn’t have to wear colored contacts to have those “smoldering blue eyes.” They tend to look very fake and cosmetic. Unless there have been some recent advances in the technology.

    Anyway, good luck with this. The more I hear about you guys and see you reaching out to the fans, the better I feel about this movie’s prospects.

  5. Thanks guys. That helps a lot. I’ll definitely have to pick up the stories when I get a chance. I’ll give it some thought and see what I can come up with.

    I’m a pretty huge fan of “last of the mohicans” and pretty much any Michael Mann movie. One thing he excels at (besides being a stickler for details) is taking actors and casting them against type to the point of having them disapear into the role. Think of Daniel Day Lewis in Last of the Mohicans, Will smith/ Jamie Foxx in Ali – Before Ali Jamie fox pretty much only did comedy, Russel Crowe in The Insider. It’s an interesting process and I think it’s part of what’s needed here.

    It doesn’t have to be an unknown but it does require finding someone who, while they may be a “star” they can actually act. The two things aren’t one and the same. Look beyond their other roles and rather at what they are capable of as an actor. Who cares if they’ve only done romantic dramedies. Maybe if they bulk up they’re able to give the character an intensity not available in the ‘roided out WWF star.

    Granted there’s going to be some physical requirements as far as stature and general features are concerned but don’t limit the pool to people who are already bulked up.

  6. Head-On-A-Pike Says:

    AD, while I agree with a lot of what you say, including the idea that it might be better to bulk up an actor than hire an athlete, I also feel very strongly that Conan should be played by an unfamiliar face. The kind of “against type” casting you’re talking about usually results in an actor’s showpiece as opposed to an immersive movie-going experience. I want the movie to be about Conan, not about how versatile some movie star is.

    Anyway, who says that they won’t find some rugby-playing Aussie or Irishman who happens to also have a talent for make-believe? That’s the guy I want playing Conan; not some showboating marquee name.

  7. For sure. Russel Crowe and Daniel Day Lewis weren’t well known at the time of those respective parts. But I’m also not against a familiar face if they are able to disapear into the role. I think getting a relatively unknown may be better option as well but it isn’t the only one.

    The sad truth is that many studios though will count the marketability of a film by how much draw they think the lead actor will will bring.

  8. Here’s a wierd one: IMDB has Scarlett Johansson listed in the Conan cast… but not in the Amazon one. Someone must have mixed the two up.

  9. Head-On-A-Pike Says:

    AD, I really don’t mean to drag this on or split hairs here, but you’re wrong about Lewis and Crowe and their status at the time they made these movies. I — for one — was well aware of these two actors at the time. Anyone who was more than a casual movie fan would have been more than familiar with them.

    Crowe — who was already known to lovers of international cinema from his extensive work in a number of world-renowned Australian movies such as Romper Stomper and Proof — had just made a big splash with his performance in L.A. Confidential, and there was a lot of buzz over his “against type” casting in The Insider. Daniel Day Lewis had already WON AN OSCAR for My Left Foot, but was — prior to that — well known to film lovers for such films as The Unbearable Lightness of Being and My Beautiful Launderette.

    Both of these roles could be considered against type, for actors who had already made names for themselves in other roles, which they both had. Just because Entertainment Tonight wasn’t talking about them every day doesn’t mean they weren’t already known to a large percentage of moviegoers, and well-positioned for an “unexpected” performance.

    These respective roles were meant to show the versatility of the performer, rather than cast the best man for the role (although, really, I think that Last of the Mohicans is a poor example, because I don’t think it was necessarily casting against type at all). I’m not denying that they did a good job, but for cripe’s sake, couldn’t they find an actual overweight actor in his ’50’s to play Jeffrey Wigand?

    Robert Downey Jr.’s whole shtick in the Ben Stiller comedy Tropic Thunder is about that annoying way Hollywood has of overlooking dozens of people who would be far more appropriate for a role so that some “brilliant actor” can show off his chops. I’m sure that this was inspired by — among other things — Angelina Jolie’s portrayal of Mulato Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart.

    Of course, I am kind of an anti-celebrity movie lover. I hate stars (not to say that I don’t like some excellent actors who have had the misfortune of becoming stars). If every movie could feature unknown actors, I would be very happy indeed. The moment someone becomes famous to a certain degree, the movies they make are all about them and what was going on with them at the time they made the movie and whether they will adopt or have their own kids, and blah blah blah. It stops being about the movie, and some non-existent controversy has to be drummed up, or on-set romances have to be fabricated.

    Or everyone has to gush about the amazing actor who is playing against type.

    I just don’t want the Conan movie to fall victim to the oppressive cult of celebrity that rules everything else in the entertainment world.

    Sure, I am well aware of the “sad truth” of the movie biz, but I choose not to succumb to it. At this point in the progress of this movie, I can still hold onto the hope that such things as casting decisions will be made with the best interests of the movie in mind, rather than as offerings on the altar of fame. I am not going to automatically assume, right off the bat, that the folks behind the Conan film are going to make these disappointing concessions, or that there is no such thing as a man who can cut a Conan-like figure, but can also act.

    To be honest, I don’t know if I would even bother seeing Conan if they got someone famous or recognizable in the role. That’s sort of where I’m at with this thing now. I love Conan, and have for over three decades, but I don’t need to see anything simply because they slap the name Conan onto it. I already went through that with the Milius/Arnold movie. If I don’t like the way things are looking, it will just cease to hold my interest. I’ve always got the original R. E. Howard stories.

    To hell with celebrities — established or up-and-coming — and their “versatility”. I want to see Conan, not Joe movie star flexing his acting muscles in dazzling and unexpected ways. No one famous “disappears into a role” because everyone will still be more interested in that disappearing act than the character being portrayed.

    I say save the name-actor casting for a couple of supporting roles or whatever. It’s unavoidable that someone familiar will show up in this movie, but we can keep it down to cameos and smaller roles, can’t we?

  10. From Black Colossus:
    He seemed reassured when she deposited herself on a satin divan opposite him. He lifted off his basinet and laid it on the table, and drew back his coif, letting the mail folds fall upon his massive shoulders. She saw more fully now his unlikeness to the Hyborian races. In his dark, scarred face there was a suggestion of moodiness; and without being marked by depravity, or definitely evil, there was more than a suggestion of the sinister about his features, set off by his smoldering blue eyes. A low broad forehead was topped by a square-cut tousled mane as black as a raven’s wing.

  11. I think deep down everyone wants to discover some amazing new talent in every movie they go see. If they find the absolutely perfect nobody to play the role of Conan, that would be fantastic. But that would definitely stifle the original question of this post.

    Now I know Crowe and Lewis had some standout roles prior, but my whole point was that they weren’t really stars at the time, nothing more. I don’t really feel like getting into a semantics argument over this. I’m just saying it could work, not that they *should* or necessarily *need* to do it. And I don’t see the point of making an issue over it if the actor or even – god fordid – star actually suits the role. Tropic Thunder takes the notion to the extreme, and for sure it would suck if they chose someone for the wrong motives. There are a lot of really great character actors out there that don’t go to the extreme to get roles. But they’re almost never top-billed and quite often apear in more films that the stars even do, but they’re not really in the public eye, even if they do get an oscar nod.

    On a different humorous not, I have too much time to think about things at work… Regarding Amazon, Maybe lionsgate has some brilliant marketing scheme where Scarlett’s character is written into Conan and thus a ‘spinoff’ movie will be released shortly thereafer (even though it’s originally an entirely separate story…) That’s my conspiracy theory for today ;). Care to comment dirk? It’s instant publicity and marketing for Amazon really.

  12. Warren Wheeler Says:

    I think Conan has to be an unknown actor, with great facial expression like a Clint Eastwood, who could convey volumes with a sleely eyed stare. This is going to be a tall order, but in my mind, Conan has to be head and shoulders over everyone, when walking up a crowded street, but not too gigantic, about six foot four, and he should have an impressive phisique. There is no getting away from it, he must be built like a brick shithouse, not polished like a bodybuilder, but conveying great strength, like a powerlifter, striated with battle scars and fresh wounds. He must be blue eyed, the eyes are his most redeeming quality, jet black hair of course, and please pay special attention to the details, little imperfections like, crooked or gapped teeth, hair in the small of his back, or on the shoulders, dirty fingernails, etc. What words he does utter, he must speak as a common man, and speak only the truth, even if the truth is brutally honest…in a low gruff voice…with no catchy one liners… no sarcasim.. and No love interest… he cares for women… enough not to risk their lives, … too many enemies. He is a lone wolf, never to be tamed, or conquered, who serves only his god Crom.

  13. AD, The original question was who should play the role? A “star” might be defined as someone whose fame is bigger than their role; if that’s the case, I wouldn’t advise picking anyone for their star appeal.

    Fred Malmberg’s comments about an “unknown” were probably pointed in that direction. They wouldn’t place an untested talent in such a major role.

  14. Head-On-A-Pike Says:

    AD, I wouldn’t keep replying to your comments if I didn’t find them to be somewhat condescending and dismissive. Maybe you don’t mean to come across that way; maybe it’s just the way I read it.

    My comments had to do with more than just semantics. As far as the original question of this thread goes, I think it absolutely allows for an answer like mine. That’s who I think should play Conan: an unknown; someone who isn’t going to be “that guy from…”. We are even encouraged to post pictures and links, which — to me — suggests that unknowns are welcome in the discussion. And that there’s a lot of mileage in such a subject. Just visit the link suggested to you by Reaver in the post immediately after your first for proof of that.

    If you have so much free time at work, I would respectfully suggest that you spend some of it here:

    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Author:Robert_E._Howard#Essays

    where you’ll find many of the original R.E. Howard writings — Conan-related and otherwise — which are in the public domain. You can even chose whether to read them in the order they were written, or in the estimated chronological order in which they occurred in the life of the character. And most of them are a pretty quick read.

    It might be considered a prerequisite, by some, for participating in a discussion such as this. Especially since, in a way, any Conan story is — in and of itself — a description of who and what he is. You can’t get the whole picture from one or two paragraphs from this story or that one.

    Warren Wheeler, I like the way you think. In fact, other than your take on his relationship with women and with Crom (a Cimmerian would fear Crom’s wrath for appearing servile in any way), I think you have a really good take on how Conan should come across on screen, scars and all.

  15. outlanderthemovie Says:

    In defense of AD – I’ll vouch for him. He’s one of the good guys. Let’s not turn him off to Conan – we know he’ll love him. For my money, casting Conan is fantastically difficult. I don’t know if he is going to come out of the Hollywood talent pool, but I kind of hope he doesn’t. (Unless there’s someone out there who just happens to blow everyone away. Could happen.) I think part of the danger of Conan is his badass outsider quality. We shouldn’t know him well, as we would if he were in a bunch of movies. On the other hand, to find him in an open casting call could be very needle-in-a-haystack. You’re looking for a guy with a big physique, a face like Russell Crowe’s (that is, ruggedly handsome) and the presence of a Clint Eastwood. And… he has to be able to act. Not Lawrence Olivier, but enough to inhabit the world, not just look like some moron in a costume. It’s gonna be tough….

  16. @Head-On-A-Pike: Me stating possible options for casting(As Dirk says, a difficult, even dangerous proposition) is in no way attacking or being condecending of your feelings about Conan’s character. I do have a habit of playing devil’s advovate even if it isn’t my own personal feelings on a matter, and honestly, I don’t really know Conan yet. So I’ll apologize if I sounded dismissive. I’m trying to think objectively from all aspects here, and my comments are in no way intended to invalidate your opinion. But I must admit to taking my own offense at the way you seemingly attack my replies in all your comments. We already know I’m the outlander here. Also, I said I had time to think at work, not time to read. Reading (books) would be a safety hazard.

    THere’s been some great comments here that have given me a bit of insight into the character and I appreciate those fully (thanks). You’re passionate about Conan and that’s great. Because Conan has an established fan base it’s very insightful to hear from said fans. (though there are also some who sadly think Conan has to look like Arnold… browsing the IMDB forum *cough*).

    Different question: Do the Conan stories cover quite a large portion of Conan’s life? If so, which age do you think a new Conan movie should cover and how should that affect casting? (Aside from the casting an apropriately aged actor).

  17. outlanderthemovie Says:

    BTW – I suspect most of you guys checking out the Conan stuff probably came from the Conan site, but if not, check them out here:

    http://www.conan.com/

    Definitely the spot for some mayhem.

  18. Head-On-A-Pike Says:

    AD, I may have come across more hostile toward you than I intended. I guess we both misread one another to some degree. I get a little defensive sometimes, but I really just want to throw ideas back and forth. Text has no facial expression and tone is often difficult to ascertain. Especially from forum to forum.

    I’d always rather make friends than enemies (or an ass of myself), and I certainly don’t want to put anyone off the subject here.

    In answer to your questions regarding Conan’s age, I will say only that if this film is going to deal with Conan’s early days, I believe that an adult actor — somewhere in his twenties — should be cast to play him as an adolescent. Young Conan would have physically matured quite early and appeared to be a few years older than his actual age. In fact, I always imagine Conan to seem a little older than his years, throughout his life.

    OTM you make some great points, although I would hope that whoever ends up with the role of Conan is considerably more rugged-looking than Russell Crowe. He always struck me as more sullen or sulky in appearance than menacing. And somewhat baby-faced as well. Of course that’s just my opinion.

    Conan would have to be good looking in a way that puts some women off. I heard Daniel Craig getting a lot of that mixed reaction when he was cast as Bond. He’s handsome in a pretty rough kind of a way, just as an example.

    To be honest, I’m really hard pressed to think of a lot of present day actors whom I would compare with Conan in any significant way. I’m really not an old fogey or anything, but I do think there’s a scarcity these days of the kind of “man’s man” that I imagine playing Conan. It would almost be a radical move to go out and find the guy who has that mid-to-late-twentieth century movie tough guy quality, like a Kirk Douglas, Jack Palance or Clint Eastwood, and then make him something new for today’s audience without losing that classic edge. Even the biggest, most intimidating actors or screen personalities of today generally come across as overgrown kids with chips on their shoulders.

    There has been a lot of discussion recently on the Conan.com forums about whether Conan was maybe meant to be a bit of an evolutionary throwback, as REH’s Hyborian Age essay seems to suggest. I think that’s well worth thinking about when considering the casting of the role. Someone even linked to a forum where people post pictures of folks who they deem to have cro-magnon features. Here’s the link:

    http://forum.stirpes.net/cromagnoid/12260-post-cro-magnon-male.html

    The first pics posted, of French rugby player Fabien Pelous, are very much in line with the kind of facial features I picture on Conan.

    I’m not suggesting this man for the role (although if he spoke english well and had some acting talent, I wouldn’t rule him out), just pointing out my idea of a Conan-like face. Maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to be looking for the new Conan in places like the rugby fields of the world 😉 Surely one of those guys also happens to be at ease in front of the camera. Many sports figures have moved on from their athletic careers to start acting careers and proven to be genuinely talented. Football player Alex Karras comes to mind as an example.

    I would tend to think that the task of finding a trained actor who could also fill the roll physically would be much more challenging than finding a physically imposing and agile athlete who was also a bit of a natural on camera. A lot of how the guy comes across would depend on the direction he was getting and other things unrelated to acting talent.

  19. Maybe Mickey Rouke. He impressed me in Sin City as Marv. You don’t get anymore rugged than Mickey Rouke, quit acting to box in Mexico, but now he is back. Also the guy who played in Rob Zombie’s Halloween as Michael Myers, he was also Sabertooth in X-MEN. Don’t be too hard on me, just been reading the comments and these 2 guys kind of fit your guys profile.

  20. I stumbled across this video. This guy is about what I think would work. Max Navo is his name.

  21. Warren Wheeler Says:

    Max Navo- (cool name…sounds like an action hero) He’s got the look, and the build. How tall is he? Give him blue eyes like a wolf, and a tan like a guy on a road paving crew, and he would definately fit the bill. He has to forget trying to act, and tone it down a little – be more natural, like when he introduced himself, that was perfect! The choreographed sword fighting should look less rehearsed, with more of a rough style. Conan hews and hacks his way through the battle field, with an arsenal consisting of a battle axe, big broad sword, a mall, daggers, and I don’t know what you call it, but that pointy steel ball, on a chain, that he swings around, overpowering, pounding his opposers to a bloody pulp. Conan Relys not so much on swordmanship, but agility, and brute force, for a big man he moves surprisingly fast, like a cat.

  22. Turns out Max is one our own over at the Conan forums. I should have recognized him, I guess. 🙂 Anyways, I was posting him up as an example of how Conan should look, as far as actors go. The actual line-delivery and sword-choreography are things that could be worked on. But without the proper look, none of that makes a difference. Film is a visual medium. So, the actors have to actually LOOK the part, IMHO.

  23. Andrew Bryniarski may be the best choice. He’s got the attitude and the looks:

  24. Warren Wheeler Says:

    I just finished watching Rambo, for the first time. I was impressed with this one. It even rivaled First Blood, which I thought of as the best of the franchise, until now. Stallones portrail of the battle hardened war vet, was surprisingly refreshing. As I watched him play the role, I couldn’t help but compare Rambo with Conan. The only difference being Rambo is depicted as a modern day mercenary. Aside from the simularity, I was struck buy the way Stallone reinvented himself, with less is more acting, which was a nice departure from some of the earlier outbursts in the prequels. I was amazed at his ability to carry the movie, at his age-a valliant effort, with body language and no nonscense lines, accept for the inevitable-“You can live for nothing or die for something” which I found a little cheesy, yet he pulled it off because the acting wasn’t over the top. Though I’d rather the purity and simplicity of lines, in the beginning of the movie like “Fuck off”, and “Fuck the world” Obviously not an Oscar winning performance, but I really appreciated how he captured my attention, when he spoke in that calm low, I don’t give a shit manner. I’m not saying I think Stallone should be cast as Conan, but the way he played the part of a Rambo, was how I envision Conan to be played. Sometimes actors will study other people. Johnny Depp got into charactor, as a pirate, by mimicking Keith Richards. I think Stalone could be that role model, for the new Conan prospect, to draw from.

  25. Head-On-A-Pike Says:

    To Warren Wheeler:

    Again, for the most part, I like your comments. The “tan like a guy on a road paving crew” part is especially bang on.

    I do think you’re a little caught up in the whole “badass” aspect of Conan’s personality, though. To me, modeling the performance after something like Stallone in Rambo would be selling the character short.

    Mark Schultz, the artist who illustrated “the Coming Of Conan The Cimmerian”, wrote a foreword for that book in which he addresses Conan’s character complexity and development quite nicely:

    “Conan grows and matures, and more’s the pity that the popular view of the character is largely restricted to that of a scowling, jaw-clenched, muscle-bound killing machine. Howard wrote him as so much more. Yes, he brawls and slays, but he also reflects and laughs – at himself as well as others – loves and loses, doubts and falters, acts altruistically and empathizes with alien beings. He is, above all, totally charismatic; no outsider comes to command armies and nations without inspiring trust and loyalty and devotion. He’s no simple brute; he’s a multidimensional character …”

    Conan is going to be a seriously difficult casting job. How many truly large men are out there who – while appearing brutish and primitive – also have charisma and exude an air of intelligence and complexity; who appear so profoundly villainous, and yet live by unbreakable codes of honor and loyalty? Conan has a lot of qualities that we generally don’t see co-existing in the same person.

    I’ve got to say, though, that, as challenging as it’s going to be to find this actor, I’d join that quest in a heartbeat.

  26. outlanderthemovie Says:

    I agree with much of what you say, “Head”. It is a mistake to believe that Conan is an ‘easy’ role that can be filled by a badass with lots of muscles who knows how to swing a sword. While the role may not call for Lawrence Olivier, it does call for an actor with tremendous Presence. The kind where all eyes follow him when he walks in the door. This is not merely attitude – that is the refuge of the small. It is a sense of self so strong that it doesn’t need to self-reference. An actor who asks for attention in the role will fail. We admire Conan because he is always Conan, is never trying to be anything else. The irony here is that an actor playing Conan can’t ‘try’ to be Conan, because… yes… Conan doesn’t try to be what he is not. In other words, this actor will have to possess a natural well of those traits that are Conan’s – self-possession, ferocity, etc. That ain’t easy to find.

  27. head on a pike says

    Conan is going to be a seriously difficult casting job. How many truly large men are out there who – while appearing brutish and primitive – also have charisma and exude an air of intelligence and complexity; who appear so profoundly villainous, and yet live by unbreakable codes of honor and loyalty? Conan has a lot of qualities that we generally don’t see co-existing in the same person.

    Does that not sound like Mickey Rourke.
    Also I know you all are going to hate me for bringing this name up. But he is one the best anti-heroes out there, Vin Diesel.

  28. Head-On-A-Pike Says:

    Nicely put indeed, “OTM”. I’m pretty much always reassured by your take on things.

    MAV: I, for one, don’t hate you, but I do profoundly disagree with Vin Diesel’s appropriateness for the role. Apart from his already being so identifiable (and you can see what I have to say about that in previous posts) I think he is a pretty one-note actor, and lacks the kind of charisma that the Conan actor needs. Diesel’s appeal is much more modern than would fit this character. I think OTM’s comments above about “attitude” very much apply to him. He looks like he’s aware that we’re watching him, and always seems to be posing for the camera. Conan lacks that self-consciousness. He’s not an action movie tough guy; he’s been shaped by the life he leads, not the impression he wants to make on his fans.

    I know that if — somehow — the perfect actor were cast for Conan, names like Vin Diesel or Gerrard Butler or whomever else would suddenly seem quaint and short-sighted to us all (and believe me, I’ve thrown around my share of ideas for less-than-adequate actors to tackle this role). We would laugh to ourselves, remembering how we thought such and such or so and so would make a good Conan.

    As for Mickey Rourke, I mean no disrespect to the man (can’t wait to see him in Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler” actually), but he’s become a pretty serious casualty of cosmetic surgery, and I don’t want to see that kind of self-loathing artifice anywhere near Conan. I don’t even think the movie should have any women with breast implants in it! Also, Rourke gives the distinct impression of being either permanently punch drunk or brain damaged by some sort of substance abuse. Not to mention, very very tired. Not exactly the image of a clear-eyed, sharp-minded, canny barbarian, IMHO.

  29. Warren Wheeler Says:

    To Head On A Pike:

    Yes Conan requires more than a muscle bound freak, we’re all most certainly in agreement of that, but you’ll notice the last statement I made in my previous comment, was that Stallone could be a source to draw from, for the new prospect, not a copycat performance. I’m sure we’re going to see a dynamic character come to life, I’d just like to see a “factor” of realism, I know he is a fictional character, but what I don’t want to see is some kind of hero elevation akin to a Brad Pitt- Achilles adaptation.
    Seems everyone has thrown a name or two into the ring, at the risk of losing credibilty I submit………..Dwayne Johnson?

  30. Ten years ago, Vladimir Kulich — if his hair was dyed — would have been perfect for the role of King Conan, but now he is far too old.

    I disagree with the suggestions of Vin Diesel or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. In my mind, both would be miscast: Diesel has a limited acting range and Johnson tends to insert too much levity into his characters.

    Personally, I hope an “unknown” actor is chosen. An actor who resembles Robert E. Howard’s Conan as much as possible, and forever erases the image of the bumbling “clownish” Conan created by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

  31. Might as well make my thoughts known!

    Conan is described as both being “massive” and muscular: it is his MOVEMENTS that are described as “wolfish” “pantherish” and “tigerish”. Much is made of how he moves deceptively quickly for all his size. I don’t think it means that he’s necessarily of Schwarzenegger bulk, but my impression is more like the strongmen of the earlier 20th Century than cut bodybuilders.

    However, if necessary, I would sacrifice his size for presence and acting ability for the role. As was said earlier, Conan immediately galvanizes any room he steps in with an electric atmosphere: his charisma’s probably proportionally greater than his muscles. If I had to choose between a modestly-proportioned actor bulging with charisma or a modestly-charismatic actor bulging with muscles, I’d pick the former.

    An unknown actor would probably be the best choice: there’s bound to be someone out there that fits the role. Gary Gianni’s probably my favourite Conan artist, so it would be awesome if you got him on board for art department.

  32. Alright, you want someone new. But I’ll remind all of Pathfinder and Karl Urban, it didn’t really workout. Also you may not like Mickey Rourke and yes (The Wrestler looks awesome) but his surgeries was due to his leaving Hollywood and boxing in Mexico. Also, I notice nobody doubts he has the acting talents to master the role. I’ll get off of this, I just thought I’d mention he’s not a little Hollywood bitch for the surgeries because the surgeries were due to his boxing injuries.

  33. All I can say about Dwayne Johnson is…he’s black/Samoan. Conan is a white guy (REH makes several references to him being recognizably so). There’s nothing racist about that. It’s just a fact. Films are a visual medium, so the actors have to look like the characters. It’s a simple fact.

    I still maintain that an unknown should do it.

  34. Who is making the casting decisions? Usually that’s the job of the director. Is Howard McCain going to direct? 😉
    Perhaps you have actually resurrected Robert E. Howard and “Howard McCain” is his carefully crafted pseudonym! 🙂 (Sorry, you probably get that one a lot.) 😦

    Anyway, unknowns. There must be hundreds of talented young men who could qualify for the first pass. What about a open casting or better yet, a reality show: “Who Wants to be a Barbarian?” Put them through an obstacle course, make them through a 100-lb stone for distance, etc; the more publicity the better. 🙂

  35. Head-On-A-Pike Says:

    Kortoso, as much as I loathe reality TV, I like your “Who Wants To Be A Barbarian” idea. There should be tons of acting challenges as well…and not just delivering growled threats and such; the contestants should have to perform scenes from Shakespeare or Tennessee Williams or something, just to really put them to the test. Give them a little Howard poetry to read or something, to root out the marblemouths.

    MAV, I think the reason for Rourke’s surgeries are irrelevant for this discussion. I didn’t mean to imply that he was some sort of vain, aging pretty-boy (although — come on — he IS an actor, and they’re all vain). But it’s still artifice. He still has the distinct look of someone who’s been under the cosmetic knife (for whatever reason), and that look has no business anywhere near Conan.

    Taranaich, I completely agree with your definition of wolfish, although I do also think that it applies to his untamed expression, and to the cold blue eyes, staring watchfully from his scarred face.

    I would also agree that — with the right presence — a certain, small degree of physical “downsizing” would be acceptable.

    I am also a huge fan of Gary Gianni’s artwork (I believe I mentioned him in another post). Aside from a sentimental attachment to the work of Frazetta, he’s my favorite Conan artist as well. He should most definitely be on board for this movie.

    I too was wondering if Howard McCain is lined up to direct as well as co-write the script. I was looking forward to seeing Outlander before these guys got the Conan writing gig, but now it’s a must-see for sure.

  36. AD,

    Now that you’ve opened the floodgates… enjoying the posts?

    Original Howard stories are few, compared to actual number of ‘Conan’ stories that are out there, but, in the few he wrote, he covered his creation from teen to kingship, so there’s a wide space to work in.

    As for actors, I’ll say only this; Conan never visited a GNC Health Center, and he wasn’t pretty, but Howard’s Conan makes Milius’ version look like a boyscout.

    Now keep us posted! And good luck.

  37. Carlos the Jackal Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I have no idea in the world who would be right to play Conan, but I agree with what Taranaich said about charismatic actor being preferable to a muscular actor.

    Beside that, I’d also like to express my sincerest hopes that this movie will not be made like they make cars in a factory. What I mean is, I hope that:

    1.) It will be more of a 2.5 hours long movie, not a 90 minutes long second-rate rollercoaster ride, like The Mummy serial, or generally stuff that Stephen Sommers does. When you make a 2.5 h long movie, you pay attention on the twists in the story, you bring in some character development, some larger character changes, etc. Take the new 007 picture for example and the reasons it worked. It had a story, and James Bond is more deep than he ever was. Aim at the Oscar with this screenplay! I’d say.

    1.1.) Someone already mention Daniel Craig in this forum, and I agree that the new Conan also need to be a ruggedly character so as to contribute to the story’s believability.

    1.2.) I hope that this is not going to be an escapist teenage adventure, but that it will rather reflect on the issues of today’s order of things. Art, politics, etc. It really needs to be “an adult movie” in the sense that you can be an adult and enjoy this movie on several levels. Milius’ Conan was like that, and if this one does not take the Milius’ challenge, it will fail. Don’t make Incredible Hulk with Edward Norton to Ang Lee’s Hulk, or for that matter, don’t make Conan the Destroyer to Conan the Barbarian, it doesn’t pay off on the long run.

    2.) I hope It will not be made with the CGI. We need blood and dust, and we need heavy swords that actors are having a bit of trouble lifting up, and not just bunch of people waving their hands in front of a blue screen.

    Keep up the good work!
    Very best

  38. outlanderthemovie Says:

    Tons of good, hopeful thoughts in here. Yes, it would be great if the CGI were held at a minimum. However, it’s impossible to actually build a Hyborian kingdom, so there have to be CG backgrounds. And yes, swords should be heavy, but certain swordplay will need to be added later. It’s just a matter of how much, right?

    The intent going in is to make this a big story with good characters and a lot of dusty, bloody action. It is not intended to be a bubble-gum concoction. We are approaching the film as a completely fresh movie. It is a ‘reboot’ in that we do not acknowledge the existence of the earlier movies. (a la Batman). The successes and failures will be our own.

    As for large character changes… it’s an interesting question, and one we have been talking about for hours on end. “How much can Conan change before he stops being Conan?” That is – one of the most magnetic qualities of Conan is how well he fits in his own skin. He knows exactly who he is, and changes very little in the Howard stories. (Excepting Conan as a king, where he is forced to rein himself in to a certain extent for the well-being of his people). If he has too big a character arc, he risks becoming a hollywood concoction.

  39. What about an HBO miniseries?

    Hear me out.

    One motivating factor to not using the stories in toto, is that most of them are too short to make the “Standard” two-hour movie.

    So, instead of yielding to that pointless condition, why not choose a more flexible medium, or one that will accomodate a half-hour or one-hour drama? Portions of some of the stories could be filmed at the same time on the same sets.

    After a run of the better stories on HBO, you could wrap it up with a theatrical Hour of the Dragon.

    Go on, you know you want to do it. 🙂

  40. “As for large character changes… it’s an interesting question, and one we have been talking about for hours on end. “How much can Conan change before he stops being Conan?” That is – one of the most magnetic qualities of Conan is how well he fits in his own skin. He knows exactly who he is, and changes very little in the Howard stories. (Excepting Conan as a king, where he is forced to rein himself in to a certain extent for the well-being of his people). If he has too big a character arc, he risks becoming a hollywood concoction.”

    I don’t know, one of the things I enjoy most about Conan is the fact that he’s different depending on what stage of his life the story’s in. In the “thief” tales he’s a selfish, violent, dangerous young man suspicious and hostile to civilization and utterly fearful of the supernatural. In his mercenary/eastern tales he’s a cynical, pragmatic and generally uncaring, with a serious case of wanderlust and more of a disdain for civilization and weak people. Then as a veteran adventurer, borderer and king, he’s willing to sacrifice himself to help others, doesn’t hesitate to choose between a girl and ungodly treasure, and has a sense of royal responsibility towards his subjects. The young thief of “The God in the Bowl” is very different from the confident bandit-lord of “The People of the Black Circle”, who’s also different from the king of “The Hour of the Dragon”.

    Now, I don’t think he should have such a grand character arc WITHIN a film, as I agree that would come off as artificial and “Hollywoodish”. The exception would be if you are including different stages of Conan’s life in flashbacks, sequence or whatever, and in that case it would be important to show Conan as being different. So I agree that Conan shouldn’t “go on a journey” (ugh, I hate that term) – however, I think it’s important to remember that Conan does change from story to story: subtly in the short term, but greater in the long term.

  41. Hey matsellah,

    Yeah, I’ve been taking it all in, and coupled with the pictures Dirk posted, I’m getting a pretty good sense of the Character I think.

    I’m fairly hard pressed to come up with any names.

    An actor I like (not the same as necesarily suiting Conan) but who probably doesn’t have the physique is Clive Owen. He has a decent face though he might be a bit too pretty.

  42. Head-On-A-Pike Says:

    “As for large character changes… it’s an interesting question, and one we have been talking about for hours on end. “How much can Conan change before he stops being Conan?” That is – one of the most magnetic qualities of Conan is how well he fits in his own skin. He knows exactly who he is, and changes very little in the Howard stories. (Excepting Conan as a king, where he is forced to rein himself in to a certain extent for the well-being of his people). If he has too big a character arc, he risks becoming a hollywood concoction.”

    This really is a toughie, because — although I do believe that there is a little bit of a character arc for Conan in some of Howard’s stories — I don’t believe it’s ever to a degree considered “cinematic”. There’s no hero’s journey or great revelation for Conan. Yes, as said above, he does definitely change in the longer term through the course of his life, but it’s generally his unwavering qualities that make him who he is.

    What if the real character arcs occurred with other characters? What if Conan was kind of a wild card or force of nature in a larger plot with which he was not directly involved? Many of the best and most memorable passages from the Conan tales were written from this point of view, where we are seeing Conan through the eyes of those he comes in contact with, or seeing him as a fly in the ointment of some larger scheme or caper. Like how he indirectly facilitates Valerius’ rescue of Taramis in his bid for revenge in A Witch Shall Be Born.

    Conan is always sabotaging the grand schemes of those greedy for power, often simply by pursuing his own goals which run counter to the interests of those involved. Those who take him lightly do so at their own peril.

    Maybe that’s a way to approach it, with Conan as a player in some larger event or existing on the periphery of someone else’s experience, largely ignored by the “villain” or whomever, but figuring into the plot in such a way that he has a distinct effect on the outcome. It could be the approach that sets this apart from other genre movies that have come before it.

    Then again, it could also work if — as I think someone may already have suggested — two or three stories were kind of artfully strung together. Not like an anthology, but blended into a single story, where Conan goes from being a young, hotheaded thief, to being more of a mercenary or whatever.

    I would also like to add — still lingering here on the question of casting and how the role of Conan should be acted, and whether the actor who brings the charisma and presence can be somewhat smaller than the ideal size for Conan — that I think it’s very important to note that the thing that most makes Conan a badass is not how big he is or how much he can dish out, but how much he can take. The best of Conan’s conflicts involve him outlasting his opponent, or enduring far more brutality than his opponent imagined he could. He is always being underestimated (maybe that means the actor shouldn’t be so very large).

    AD, I think you are approaching the right neighborhood in terms of facial features, with your suggestion of Clive Owen. I think that’s what you were getting at, yes? He is rather pretty with an awfully slight build, but you’re not far off at all, IMHO.

  43. Carlos the Jackal Says:

    About Clive Owen: I think he is ruggedly and he is not a bad actor, and he also had some experience in waving swords. But, he is more of a film noire type of character. There is something in him that does not allow us to believe in his determination, there is always something that even provokes laughter. Look at him in, for instance, Bourne Identity. There, he is supposed to be a killing machine. But, even in that role he evokes some pathos, nevertheless. Than, look at him in The Children of Men. He is great there, but as a – loser. He’s worried all the time, he tries to do something and fails, but he reflects that failure in a way that provokes sympathy and even some laughter. He is a kind of modern day film noire character because he even lacks what Elliot Gould (as another film noire memorable character) had, a kind of sharp cynicism. Owen provokes too much sympathy to be Conan, I’d say.

  44. Personality-wise, Vinnie Jones is about as “Conan” as you get in Hollywood these days. In fact, if he could bulk up a bit (without a prosthetic suit), I would buy him as Conan. Albeit a seasoned veteran Conan.

  45. For an anthology film describing Conan’s early life, consider the theme of a young barbarian encountering civilization for the first time, assuming that he is a “country bumpkin” and later discovering his power and advantage among civilized folk.

    So the “character arc” , if you must do “paint-by-the-numbers” 🙂 , would be vis-a-vis his relationship with civilization as a barbarian. This is spoken of countless times as a theme in Howard’s writings. It’s usually in the narrative but can be easily be drawn into the realm of visual action.

    I suggest 1) “Frost-Giant’s Daughter” 2) “Tower of the Elephant” and 3) Rogues in the House. Two failures and a final triumph, all the while demonstrating his barbarian virtues.

  46. Head-On-A-Pike Says:

    I’m with you, Kortoso. I think we’ve got our character arc right there with those three stories. And Conan’s character development in this context could easily be portrayed through visual storytelling, as opposed to bogging it down with a lot of exposition.

    There’s nothing wrong with portraying young Conan as a little backwards and still finding his feet in new and unfamiliar lands. His slaying of the Kothian in the tavern at the beginning of “Tower of the Elephant” could easily be played as a misstep on the part of the quick-tempered youth, who still needs to learn to choose his battles more carefully; to learn that his brute strength and keen instincts would better serve him if they were tempered with a little more deliberation and restraint.

    Some of my favorite Howard moments are those that highlight Conan’s flaws and shortcomings, because he’s a character that doesn’t make the same mistakes twice. And in the stories which occur later into his adulthood, we do see much more restraint and measured thinking in his actions.

  47. Head-on-a-Pike, I think you hit the nail (pike?) on the head!

    The major character development in Conan stories is rarely Conan himself, but the supporting characters: Balthus in “Black River”, Valerius of “Witch”, even Thoth-Amon in “Phoenix” all have more actual development than Conan does in those stories. I’d say the “girls-of-the-week” have greater character arcs within a single story than Conan himself, and frankly I think that works quite well.

    To use a “contemporary” analogy, Conan’s more like King Kong than Jack Driscoll: while he may be the romantic lead, he’s also a figure of fear and terror to most other characters, even the girl of the story. Indeed, sometimes he isn’t a romantic lead even with a woman in the story like in “Zamboula”, “Witch” and “Black Stranger”.

    The point is, people don’t remember King Kong for Jack Driscoll, they remember it for Kong. The difference between Kong and Conan is that Conan sometimes gets the girl. 🙂

  48. Carlos the Jackal Says:

    Head-on-a-Pike and Taranaich, what you’re suggesting reminds me of how John Wayne was usually cast along, say, Dean Martin, or someone else. John Wayne never changes (just like… King Kong) but the dramatic character change occurs in someone beside him. And, also, Rio Bravo, Rio Lobo, El Dorado etc. are remembered because of John Wayne (and the director, Howard Hawks), and not because those other characters. Now, if this should be the case with the new Conan, than all we have to do is find ourselves new John Wayne.

  49. Right, Carlos, heroes like John Wayne and James Bond don’t change – things change around them, read: explosions and blood. These are not “character-driven” stories anyway – they are action flicks. 🙂

    We want to see our hero discover weird ancient stuff, take insane risks, kill people, get beaten down by some slithering horror from the Outer Dark and bounce up and and say “Is that all you got?”, go home with the Brythunian babe and make his way to the bag of gold and a fast horse on the edge of town. The last thing the movie-going public wants to see is Conan having an “opportunity for personal growth”. 😀

  50. outlanderthemovie Says:

    Wow. I guess I’m in trouble here. We’ve been experimenting with a story in which Conan is a thief on the run in Zamora who happens to steal a magic ring from a priest. After much shedding of blood, he comes to realize thievery is wrong and settles down as a priest of Ibis. Sonja tracks him to get him to help her find a treasure only to have him turn her down. Frustrated, she finally offers herself to him, only to find he has taken a vow forsaking all earthly pleasures. She leaves, frustrated, and Conan returns to a zen-like existence contemplating his navel. Not a dry eye in the house. (For all those joining us from France {and there are quite a few}, in case your English is a little rusty… JOKING.)

  51. Carlos the Jackal Says:

    Awesome, outlanderthemovie. I just hope you get Tom Hanks to play Conan and Goldie Hawn to play Sonja. You should call it “Conan And The Curse of The Thorn Birds”. And, have you considered making it a musical, with Conan doing the monk dance at the beginning and with an overwhelming heart tearing aria at the end 🙂

  52. Head-On-A-Pike Says:

    I think the films that John Wayne and John Ford made together amount to a little more than your standard action pictures. Although he always brushed off the suggestion, Ford’s films were always full of subtext about the American way of life and how it was changing around the turn of the century, and many other subjects. In fact, that’s often why Wayne’s characters changed so little; they usually represented a “dying breed” or a fading way of life. Much the same role Conan often plays in Howard’s stories, when set in contrast to the “civilized” world.

    I think you could do much worse than to look at some of those films — like the Searchers or Howard Hawks’ Rio Bravo — for some inspiration on how to make a Conan movie work.

    What I wouldn’t give for one of the old mavericks like John Ford to be around to direct this. Then again, he could have just brought his own agenda to it like Milius did, and we fans still wouldn’t be getting any satisfaction. Movies are such a crap shoot.

  53. Carlos the Jackal Says:

    Now that you mention Ford’s “The Searchers”, I’d agree that Conan is pretty much like Ethan Edwards (John Wayne). And, Ethan Edwards is pretty much captain Ahab who roams land and not sea. Conan is a kind of Ahab, but where Ahab finds peace when finally encounters Moby Dick, Conan stays alive. Something like the end of “The Chronicles of Riddick”, where when Riddick becomes a king, it turns out that that’s even worse than, say, dying in battle.

  54. While he may need to bulk up a bit, he’s got the presence, attitude, the right look and acting chops to make this a great roll. Javier Bardem, from No Country for Old Men.

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000849/

  55. Check out the cast of 300….also check out Mark Twight’s gym; Gym Jones http://www.gymjones.com/ they are the outfit that trained the cast of 300. They are the no-bullshit real deal. maybe by networking through them you can find some key players? I know the stunt crew (for 300) also trained at Gym Jones, so there is your Unknown perhaps??

    good luck!

  56. Head-On-A-Pike Says:

    http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Brett-Ratner-Directing-Conan-10225.html

    Of course, this is just one of those silly rumors, right? 😮

  57. Call me cynical, but these rumors may be just an attempt to gauge interest?

  58. Head-On-A-Pike Says:

    I don’t think you’re being overly cynical, Kortoso. These things go on all the time, and one needs a little cynicism when wading through all the “information” on the internet. That’s just a sad fact of modern life.

  59. Carlos the Jackal Says:

    Hez, did anzone thought of Nick Chinlund (X-Files, Chronicles of Riddick, etc) as Conan? I think his physiognomy is something Conan could be like. Crooked nose, deep inserted eyes, dark face, and he is also a strong guy… I know he is a bit old, but than again, if the new Conan is not gonna be like “Conan Begins”, than, why not?

  60. Carlos the Jackal Says:

    Same message, now without the typos (sorry about this):
    Hey, did anyone thought of Nick Chinlund (X-Files, Chronicles of Riddick, etc) as Conan? I think his physiognomy is something Conan could be like. Crooked nose, deep inserted eyes, dark face, and he is also a strong guy… I know he is a bit old, but than again, if the new Conan is not gonna be like “Conan Begins”, than, why not?

  61. Head-On-A-Pike Says:

    Carlos, I can definitely see why you would suggest this guy, but according to Frederick Malmberg, they are looking for someone younger. As I understand, they are doing a bit of an “early days” thing with the movie, and — of course — they probably want someone who ‘ll be able to carry through with a series, depending on the success of the first one.

    Also, Chinlund’s suitability for the role seems to begin and end with his face, and even then, his features overall seem a bit slight for Conan. I could definitely see him in some other role in a Conan film, though, even if he does remind me somewhat of Ted Danson:).

  62. Carlos the Jackal Says:

    I saw those two teaser posters and wanted to ask someone here how come the sword in these posters is a replica of a sword Schwarzenegger had in Conan movies? Since this is a reboot, shouldn’t Conan have a different sword?

  63. My guess is, they’re not “official” posters.

  64. Head-On-A-Pike Says:

    If they are official (and I’m pretty sure that the first one at least, with the muscles holding the sword, is official), then I believe the sword is just there for brand recognition, for the average moviegoer.

    Personally, I would have been working to distance this from the previous films from day one, but I’m not a marketing team; I’m just a guy who likes Conan.

    I certainly hope the new film depicts Conan’s relationship with weapons the way Howard did: they are tools — not philosophical totems or whatever — and anything with a sharp blade will do. I’m a little uneasy with the imagery so far.

  65. Carlos the Jackal Says:

    I also remember that in Howard Conan did not have this fetishist avow to his sword 🙂

  66. I believe the poster is official, but only sort of. It’s just a teaser that is explicitly meant to evoke the older film. It’s meant to get people excited about the prospect of the new film, not necessarily exactly represent what the finished movie will look like.

    Note that it also has a 2009 date. That’s because it was originally created for the project when they were working with the draft by the fellows that were writing before Dirk and Howard came on board. The production company website has this teaser on in the Conan section with very little other details about the project.

  67. Hollywood Hogan Says:

    Hey AD,

    Don’t know if you have had a chance to check out this topic on the Conan.com boards or not? http://www.conan.com/invboard/index.php?showtopic=6135&st=0

    Here are some of Howard’s descriptions of Conan:

    Tito on the Argos upon seeing Conan… “He saw a tall powerfully built figure in a black scale-mail hauberk, burnished greaves and…” – Queen of the Black Coast, REH

    “Conan of Aquilonia, blood from unbandaged wounds caking his huge limbs, faced his captors.” – The Scarlet Citadel, REH

    “In stark contrast stood Conan, grim, blood-stained, naked but for a loin-cloth, shackles on his mighty limbs, his blue eyes blazing beneath the tangled black mane which fell over his low broad forehead.” – The Scarlet Citadel, REH

    “His cheap tunic could not conceal the hard, rangy lines of his powerful frame, the broad heavy shoulders, the massive chest, lean waist, and heavy arms.” – The Tower of the Elephant, REH

    “He stood like an image of the unconquerable primordial – legs braced far apart, head thrust forward, one hand clutching the wall for support, the other gripping the ax on high, with the great corded muscles standing out in iron ridges, and his features frozen in a death snarl of fury – his eyes blazing…” – The Phoenix on the Sword, REH

    “She dared to lay her white hand on his massive iron-clad arm. “Come with me off the street.”… He hesitated, then shrugged his mighty shoulders. – Black Colossus, REH

    “He lifted off his basinet and laid it on the table, and drew back his coif, letting the mail folds fall upon his massive shoulders.” – Black Colossus, REH

    “He was powerfully built, naked but for a girdled loin-cloth, which was stained with blood and crusted with dried mire.” – Iron Shadows in the Moon, REH

    “Then he set to work with both oars, rowing with great, smooth, even strokes, the heavy muscles of arms and shoulders and back rippling in rhythm to his exertions.” – Iron Shadows in the Moon, REH

    “He shook his head and shrugged his massive shoulders in puzzlement.” – Iron Shadows in the Moon, REH

    “Conan slept against his pillar, his head fallen upon his massive breast.” – Iron Shadows in the Moon, REH

    “Water ran in rivulets from his great shoulders and down his heavy arms. – The Pool of the Black One, REH

    “Conan pointed with a muscular brown arm toward the east, banded in dazzling gold by the lifting sun.” – Pool of the Black One, REH

    “There are sharks in these waters,” growled Zaporavo, and was vaguely irritated by the answering shrug of [Conan’s] mighty shoulders. – The Pool of the Black One, REH

    It is important to note that REH describes Conan’s opponent in the brawl on the ship as… “a wiry brute, with a crimson sash knotted about his head like a turban. His lean chin jutted out, his scarred face was evil beyond belief.” – The Pool of the Black One, REH

    “Conan laughed and spread his mighty arms as a great cat might stretch itself…” – The Pool of the Black One, REH

    “Even in the dim light of the dungeon, with his limbs loaded with chains, the primitive power of the man was evident. His mighty body and thick-muscled limbs combined the strength of a grizzly with the quickness of a panther.” – Rogues in the House, REH

    “Through his widely open white silk shirt showed his broad muscular breast, burned brown by the sun. The muscles of his heavy bronzed arms rippled as he pulled the oars with an almost feline ease of motion.” – The Devil in Iron, REH

    “… he saw Conan’s powerful frame stretched out on the carpet.” – Hour of the Dragon, REH

    “Your Majesty!” Pallantides threw himself on his knee beside the fallen giant. – Hour of the Dragon, REH

    “At the sound a convulsive shudder ran through the king’s mighty form.” – Hour of the Dragon, REH

    “The obeyed, and laid the helpless giant on the furs…” – Hour of the Dragon, REH

    “Presently the squire returned with the officer Pallantides had named – a tall man, broad and powerful, built much like the king.” Hour of the Dragon, REH

    “Knots and bunches of muscles started out on the massive arms, and Conan bent his head forward and spat savagely at Constantius’s.” – A Witch Shall Be Born, REH

    “His great muscles quivered, knotting like iron cables… A surge of helplessness shook the giant, for the first time in his life.” – A Witch Shall Be Born, REH

    Howard compares Olgerd to Conan:
    “He was as tall as Conan, though not so heavy-limbed. His shoulders were broad and his supple figure was hard as steel and whale bone.” – A Witch Shall Be Born, REH

    “To his splendour the huge Cimmerian opposite him offered a strong contrast…” – A Witch Shall Be Born, REH

    “In Olgerd’s eyes grew a recognition of defeat… a realization that Conan spoke no idle boast. The giant black-mailed figure before him was the real chief of the Zuagirs.” – A Witch Shall Be Born, REH

    “His smile did not alter as the corded muscles rippled in knotting ridges along his forearm and his fingers ground into the kozak’s quivering flesh.” – A Witch Shall Be Born, REH

    “With them rode fifty black-bearded desert-riders, and at their head a giant figure in black mail.” – A Witch Shall Be Born, REH

    “Conan!” shrieked Valerius.”Conan!”
    The giant yelled a command. – A Witch Shall Be Born, REH

    “He felt curiously helpless and futile as he gazed on the proportions of the forest man – the massive iron-clad breast, and the arm that bore the reddened sword, burned dark by the sun and ridged and corded with muscles. He moved with the dangerous ease of a panther; he was too fiercely supple to be a product of civilization, even of that fringe of civilization which composed the outer frontiers.” – Beyond the Black River, REH

    “A brown-crusted bandage was knotted about his thickly-muscled left arm.” – The Black Stranger, REH

    “The speaker’s voice quivered with earnestness and his lean, black-nailed fingers clawed at Conan’s mightily-muscled arm as he croaked his warning. He was a wiry, sun-burnt man with a straggling black beard, and his ragged garments proclaimed him a nomad. He looked smaller and meaner than ever in contrast to the giant Cimmerian with his black brows, broad breast, and powerful limbs.” – The Man-Eaters of Zamboula, REH

    One of the most important descriptions of Conan is the following:

    **“Then he stalked across the glade placing his feet with care. For all his massive, muscular build he moved with the supple certitude of a panther.” – The Black Stranger, REH**

    I listed all the descriptive phrases I could find that Howard wrote about Conan in his original stories. Contrary to what some may believe, Howard did not describe Conan as steely thewed. After reading these examples on their own and in their proper contexts, it is clear that Howard described Conan as being more massive, powerfully and heavily muscled and mightier than other warriors. He constantly refers to Conan as being massive, heavily-muscled, mighty shoulders, thickly-muscled and powerful – while at the same time ( or rather inspite of it ) he is described as possessing both great speed and agility.

    There has been some confusion regarding the term wolfish and it’s relation to Conan – I have not been able to find an example, in any of his original stories, of when Howard refered to Conan as ‘wolfish’. The only time I’m aware of when those words are used in the same paragraph is on page 59 in the Conquering Sword of Conan, Beyond the Black River. It talks about the fronsteirs men at the fort and how they are all gaunt, scarred, sinewy and taciturn. They are described as wolves (or being wolfish) while Conan is compared to a tiger.

    Peace

    Hollywood

  68. Carlos the Jackal Says:

    Along the line of this poster with the sword from the previous Conan films, I just thought of an interesting problem (or a challenge) that the new authors of the Conan picture have to face.

    But let me make a slight digression first in order to make my point clearer. Who is THE Tarzan? Although some attempts have being made to bring different Tarzan to film (and to make him more like he is in the E. R. Burroughs’ novels), the one and only Tarzan, for the larger audience around the world, is Johny Weissmueller. And, he is not THE Tarzan just because of his looks, his Tarzan scream etc. He, as a foreigner starring in a Hollywood picture, made the Tarzan serial attractive for the non-american audience.

    Schwarzenegger (now leaving aside his acting ability, etc.) had the same advantage. As a foreigner playing a lead in a Hollywood epic, he made non-american audience more directly relate to the Conan movie. It made it more universal. Therefore, in order to take make the new Conan a success, one would have to face this challenge of making it universal. Will those who, because of the previous films, considered Conan not be an Anglo-Saxon, be turned away from this movie if Conan becomes American? Or will the authors find some other way to make Conan universal? It wil be interesting to see how will they face this problem.

    Of course, this is a problem only if one aims high with this forthcoming picture. And as I said before, I hope this will not turn out to be another Scorpion King kind of movie, but that depends on the studio, on all filmmakers, including not just writers, so I guess we’ll see…

  69. I think that it was a mistake to use the old sword in this poster – except that they had the pic lying around and it cost nothing to use. 🙂

    They were probably afraid of “confusing” audiences, forgetting that we secretly enjoy being confused.

    In terms of viral marketing, a completely strange sword would have IMHO gained greater currency. It would have forced all the flavors of fans to comment on this and send it around, spreading the word virally.

  70. Carlos the Jackal Says:

    I’ve noticed there hasn’t been much activity on this blog lately. So, I spent some time writing my own Conan film story, because I wouldn’t like to be just someone who proposes problems and no propositions of how they might be dealt with. I hope someone will appreciate this humble attempt. Here it is:

    CONAN
    – rough draft –

    by
    Carlos the Jackal
    October 9, 2008.

    1. Two western armies fight on the desert battlefield over the domination over one eastern kingdom. Conan and one soldier from the enemy army are the only ones left alive on the field covered with bodies. Conan kills the soldier. Than, he goes through bodies in order to find something valuable, but stays empty-handed. Than, he pulls several carts that belonged to the armies and makes one big cart. During the opening credits, Conan collects bodies and puts them on a cart. Than, he rides the cart to the gates of the eastern kingdom. On the gates it is written that they pay well for soldiers of any western army, dead or alive.

    2. Conan made a small fortune, and now has access to the eastern kingdom upper class society. He courts a girl from a noble blood-line. She has another courtier, and wants to put both Conan and this other man to the test. Secretly, she helps them both, helps one behind the other’s back, etc. Conan finds that out and becomes furious. He says “I AM NO PLAYER” and kills the girl. Than he kills the man, who was courting her previously, who now tried to avenge her.

    3. More than 20 guards manage to subdue Conan, and take him away. Conan is sentenced to death and put in dungeons. In the mean time, the eastern kingdom made a pact with western kingdoms, that also made a pact in the meantime, so the war between all three kingdoms stopped. And, as a part of that alliance, the eastern kingdom has to send their men to help western kingdoms protect their borders from the savages. Eastern kingdom sends their prisoners who are sentenced to death to help westerners on the border.

    4. Deep in the swamps, surrounded by jungle, Conan and other prisoners are helping western soldiers to guard their stand in the fortress that’s on the border with the land of the savages. Black cannibals attack the fortress and those who are fighting to protect it are becoming lesser in numbers. Cannibal attacks culminate in one event where dead soldiers, who were protecting the fortress, start coming back to life and attacking their former comrades.

    5. Conan, with few other scouts, goes deeper into the jungle, all the way to the cannibal village. There, they witness a strange ritual. They see that the cannibal society is structured from black cannibals on the lower part of the ladder, than from Siamese twins on the middle part, that are like spiders, fast, with four legs, four arms and two heads, and from one man with the oversized head of an elephant, on the top, who is a chief in the village. In the ritual, many other elephant-men are summoned. Together, few elephant-men raise the dead, black cannibal or those who died to protect the fortress.

    6. Conan goes back to the fortress. Almost all soldiers are dead now, so he and those few survivors go to another western fortress, that is closer to the kingdom. There, he learns that the war between the two western kingdoms has started again. Conan persuades soldiers that the greater threat is rising in the savage swamps, a threat from the trans-cosmic elephant-men, and they follow him in order to make the new pact with other kingdoms, in order to stop the threat.

    7. Two western armies meet. Conan tries to explain to the generals of the opposite army about the threat from the jungle, but they don’t listen, so the battle starts. A gigantic battle is fought. Conan, with his axe and sword advances deep into the enemy lines, while his soldiers stay behind, and get killed. All soldiers that Conan led have died, but Conan kills all generals of the enemy army, and becomes their new leader. With his new army, Conan rides to their kingdom.

    8. Armies of cannibals, living dead, Siamese twins, and elephant-men are already at the gates of this western kingdom. Conan and his army fight their way through, and Conan tries alone to enter the palace. A dragon just landed on the roof of the palace, and a man who rode the dragon goes inside the palace. Conan follows him, thinking that this must be a killer sent to kill the king. A cloaked man enters the palace secret passages, and Conan follows him to the dungeons. In the dungeons, Conan finds the king chained to the wall and half-alive. The cloaked man reveals himself and he turns out to be a king’s double. Conan fights the king’s double, but during the fight, this double shape-shifts, and becomes the king of the other western kingdom. Shape-shifter runs away and Conan finds both the king of the other western kingdom, and the king of the eastern kingdom. They reveal to Conan that one of the kings trained an ape-like shape-shifting creature to replace the king from the other kingdom. But the creature, not being able to think for itself, was also trained by the captive king to replace whom the king thought to be the original creature’s trainer. So the shape-shifting ape-like creature replaced all three kings and caused wars in order to divert the subjects from seeing there’s something wrong with their rulers. The kings say to Conan that all in all, it was all a game, and Conan replies: “I AM NO PLAYER,” and runs after the shape-shifter.

    9. Armies of living dead, savages, Siamese twins and trans-cosmic elephant-men already entered the city, and the chaos on the streets increases with every moment. Conan fights the ape-like shape-shifter in the palace. The shape-shifter starts losing the fight, and during his retreat, kills off all three kings. Living dead, cannibals, Siamese twins and elephant-men enter the palace and surround both the ape-like shape-shifter and Conan. Conan kills the shape-shifter by cutting off shape-shifter’s head. Conan throws the head to the elephant-men. One elephant-man, the one who led the cannibals in the jungle, picks it up, and approaches Conan. The elephant-man salutes Conan, than turns away. The fight on the streets stops. Living dead become transparent, and than vanish into the air. A big blast occurs on the horizon, and with it, all elephant-men and their armies disappear.

    10. Conan exits the palace and sees ruined kingdom. Several generals from different armies approach him and inform him that all three kingdoms are now in ruins. They say to him that all economic, military etc. relations have to be renewed from the start. They say that the whole game has to be played from the beginning. Conan replies “AS I SAID BEFORE, I AM NO PLAYER,” mounts his horse and rides off to the horizon.

  71. Outlander, why are you sighing about Conan’s lack of an “arc”?
    I deeply fear that you are writing a screenplay “by the numbers”.
    Abandon formulas and cliches. What do you see in your mind’s eye when you read the yarns?
    Be true to that. Trust in the Nemedian Chronicles and the Will of Mitra!

  72. Pictish Scout Says:

    Good work, Carlos! Let me be the first to comment on your proposed story. Your Conan story repeats none of John Milius’ formula (it’s not a revenge movie, it’s not about a magic sword, it’s not about coming of age, so I think it’s a great story for a reboot of the character), but it is still about Conan, and Conan as he is in Howard. A badass, who goes forward and appears as hero from time to time, but stays badass nevertheless. He reminds me of Man With No Name from Sergio Leone Dollars trilogy. I like how you used elephant men from Howard and added freaks like Siamese twins alongside the elephant men. I also like how the story flaws, from Conan being a mercenary, through being a misfit at the court, than becoming a convict, than a hero who faces »heart of darkness« in the jungle, and than a hero who, like Alexander the Great, does not bother with untying the knot, but cuts it in half. Living dead are also nice touch, ever since I saw those posters of Conan I wanted living dead incorporated into a Conan movie. I hope they make a movie out of your story!

  73. AICN says Brett Ratner is confirmed to direct. Can you confirm or deny? o.o

  74. outlanderthemovie Says:

    Reaver: My understanding is that he is not officially confirmed to direct but that everyone is still talking.

  75. Carlos the Jackal Says:

    Thanx, Pictish Scout. I did have Clint Eastwood character from Leone’s films in mind, and I also had in mind some Steve McQueen films, like “Nevada Smith” for example, but minus the revenge story, since that was already used in the Milus’ film. The point I was approaching with this story was not that Conan is some kind of destiny ridden character, but more of a survivor who by chance, but with the help of his skills and his strength, becomes a hero. At some point he’s actually a bad guy (killing the girl, selling bodies, etc.) but the same thing that made him the villain later makes him a hero. I also wanted to stress that ambiguity. And, yeah, I wanted to sat true to Howard, that’s why among other things, there are parts of several Howard stories mixed up within this one.

  76. Thanks for busting that rumor, Outlanderthemovie.

    Carlos, what you describe is a sort of nihilistic character, isn’t it? You’re right, Conan’s life is without destiny, except to become king.

  77. Carlos the Jackal Says:

    I’d say Conan is even stronger than nihilism, and that in a way, he goes beyond it, cuts his way through it 🙂 I don’t know. Maybe he is nihilistic, but not without some exceptions I guess.

  78. Carlos, how do you understand nihilism in this context?

  79. Blargh. I’m not gonna read through all the posts, but Reaver said something that I think is important:

    Burt Lancaster

    He was an acrobat before he started acting. He used to have (since he’s older now) the right build, the balance was self-confident when he moved, since he obviously knew his body and it’s kinetics very well. That’s the kind of person for the part. A strongman sure will be large and strong, but is he a good climber? Jumper? Fighter? Strong and large often offsets agile and quick, and the latter two are traits similar to pantherish and tigerish.

    Also, I agree that Max Navo has got a good build. He also has a good understanding of how to aquire such a build. Perhaps they should hire him as a personal trainer for whoever is cast? 😉

  80. Carlos the Jackal Says:

    Pictish Scout mentioned the Clint Eastwood character from Leone’s Dollar trilogy. Is this character representing a certain form of nihilism? I think so. But, is he inspiring? I think he is very much. Nihilism is not inspiring because it is always about decline of all values. Unless it is a certain form of nihilism that creates by destroying. And nihilism that creates new values by destroying decadent values is not what one would call nihilism par excellence. I hope this answer satisfies you. This is how I see Conan, as someone who creates new values by destroying the old, decadent values. I’d just like to add to this – and inspite of this I just said – that I’d prefer a “non-preaching” Conan movie, and “non-preaching” Conan character. Instead of Milius’ portrait of Conan from the inside, (who he is, where does he come from, why he does what he does), I approached Conan more “from the outside”, in a way that Conan is this character that we are introduced to with his actions. In my story, at first, he is this rushed character, with not much experience, and that’s why he goes through those bodies on the battlefield, that’s why he tries to enjoy a hedonistic life with his money, etc. but later he grows into a more heroic character, but again, without any intention to become a hero or a leader. He becomes a hero and a leader because his actions are heroic, not because he meditated on that. How did you like the story, by the way? And this question is also addressed to the professional storytellers, I’d really like to get their opinion as well.

  81. Pictish Scout Says:

    Carlos, don’t you think this “I’m no player” is kinda too vindieselesque? Maybe some good actor could pull it off, but I’m not sure.

  82. I don’t know, Carlos, it’s not better than Howard’s stories, sorry.

  83. Carlos the Jackal Says:

    Kortoso, nothing is better than Howard’s stories, so I know what you mean. Besides, this is a very brief sketch of a film scenario, not a story as literary genre. So, mine or whoever’s attempt at writing a film-story is not an attempt to write something that would stand next to Howard, but an attempt to translate literature, mostly short story genre in this case, into a film script.

    Pictish Scout, thanx for your insights into what I wrote. Now that you mention it, it does sound like something that could come out from V. Diesel’s mouth. When I wrote it, I pictured, say, Clint Eastwood saying that line, and that seemed to work. So I guess these things depend on the actor.

  84. By “nihilistic” I meant in its broader definition. Conan doesn’t have something Big to believe in, his god abandons him, his code of conduct is made up on the fly, and his goals are no more lofty than a flagon of wine, a fine wench, a sharp sword, a straight path to his enemies, a bag of gold and a fast horse at the edge of town. “Nihilism” as a philosophy, I think, are out of place in this context.

  85. So, just out of curiosity, is Conan going to get his very own blog with updates on the writing and pre-production and whatnot?

    Cause’ we’d all love to see. Soon. Now preferably… o.O

  86. Cagliostro Says:

    Kortoso, Conan you described sounds like a pig: he eats, drinks, sleeps, gets females, fights enemies. At best, he is a boar. No one wants to see a film about a pig.

  87. I for one don`t think the world of the Howard`s stories, for me his significance is in discovering the character, the character of Conan. We have the same situation with Ian Flaming and James Bond. Without the John Milius` film, Conan doesn`t have a leg to stand on.
    Conan in this draft by Carlos the Jackal is interesting, that is to say, film based on it, could be interesting. And as far as Conan goes, he is still the same Conan we know and love. I like the way in which with this draft, we could get some distance from the previous Conan film, but not in a way the new Hulk reboot does with Ang Lee`s version.
    There is a scene where Conan takes over an army he’s been fighting, I think that can be pretty powerful, memorable moment. That`s the first thing that I liked. And the rest of it is good, like I said, it goes in a new direction. That is something the new film should do, something for the writers to think about, regardless of this draft.
    So, Carlos, don`t get cocky now, but it does show some potential.
    One more thing, the first Conan had incredible music, something good enough that can stand on it`s on without any problems, but it doesn’t swallow the whole picture. Are there any information regarding that?

  88. Carlos the Jackal Says:

    Again, this board seemed to have died. Hopefully it will be reborn.

    I heard some rumors about Brat Ratner directing Conan and about you two guys being removed from the prohject. I hope both news are false.

    I came across this great article on Roger Ebert web site a few days ago, and I think it’s great so I just wanted to post the link here, in order to communicate this to everyone who’s into screenplay writing, I hope you don’t mind.

    http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081109/COMMENTARY/811099997

    I especilally liked the following paragraph, and thought it could have some use in writing Conan screenplay:

    “7. Avoid the German funk trap People have a tendency to set up the characters and then have the stories happen to them. I think it comes from TV, where you want the characters to survive the story unchanged, so they can have another adventure next week. It’s like in detective fiction, where “characterisation” means the detective is really into 1970s German funk. And “complex characterisation” means his wife is leaving him because she doesn’t understand his love of 1970s German funk. In a film, you should let the story reveal the character. What happens to Juno – getting pregnant – could happen to any teenage girl. It’s how she reacts that leads you to conclude she’s charming (or sickening, depending on your point of view). Do it the other way around and it’s like when someone introduces you to one of their friends and says: “I know you’re going to like each other.” It just makes you think: “I have to go now.””

  89. Are you suggesting a character arc, or are you suggesting using the story to outline the character?

    REH’s stories don’t do the first, but are certainly tailored to do the second.

    Any extra story “padding” should IMHO not be chosen for “look cool stuff we can do” but for “throw the character and theme into high relief”.

  90. outlanderthemovie Says:

    Hey guys – sorry I haven’t been on in a bit. Things have been… interesting. As of this moment, the whole Brett Ratner thing is still up in the air. He has not signed on to Conan, but it is certainly possible he will. He also wants to do BHCIV (kind of the naked gun acronym for BH cop 4) and I don’t know if both will work into his schedule. I can’t really say too much more. I’ve been doing this for many years, though, and I can say this – Hollywood is never at a loss for curveballs.

  91. outlanderthemovie Says:

    One funny note, though. I went to New York last month after doing a bunch of Conan research (that is, re-reading all the original stories and piling on old copies of Savage Sword. Tough research) Anyway I went to a fabulous geek-fest, a medieval fair in upper manhattan and actually overheard two guys talking about, yes, Wendy Pini dressing up as Red Sonja. Now I don’t know if she’s still doing that, but it was an odd coincidence to me, as I had just put down an issue of SS that featured pics of her as Sonja that were, what… 25 years old? at least. Anyway, it was an interesting window into the mind of those particular geeks. I certainly knew whose chainmailed privates they battled to reach during their “alone time”.

  92. Wow, I am a fan of Wendy. Was this at the Cloisters?

  93. outlanderthemovie Says:

    Yes. A gross rainy day filled with lots of people in wet leather bodkins. The joust was kind of fun and it’s always a treat to watch people walking around eating immense turkey legs.

  94. Well, I feel better having you post here again, D. I was starting to worry… 0.0

    I like Ratner well enough, and I think with enough “handling” by good Producers (if my assumption of what Producers do is right) he could turn out a decent movie. That being said, I think, just based on what I have seen of Outlander, Howard McCain would do a damn good job.

    Either way, I’m heartened to know you’re still in the game. 🙂

  95. Me too.

  96. Outlander, may I ask you something about the production structure – to help assuage fellow fans. 🙂

    At last count, there were exactly a zillion producers on this project. I know Fred is the #1 fanboi. 🙂

    Are the other producers allowed to make input into the story/plot etc, or are they properly relegated to raising money and getting distribution settled?

  97. outlanderthemovie Says:

    BTW everyone, here is an interesting article on the whole Brett Ratner thing. Shows the power of rumor and desire.

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/the_big_picture/2008/11/brett-ratner-an.html

  98. outlanderthemovie Says:

    Kortoso – re: your question on structure: As you probably know, film has changed a lot since the old studio days, where all the pieces – script, actors, production, financing, etc generally were in the hands of the studio head. Now, these pieces often come from different places, and each of those places demands some kind of producer credit. So, Fred controlled the property, Millennium paid for and will finance the movie, and Lions Gate will distribute. (This is my understanding, anyway). As you can imagine, this creates a lot of cooks in the kitchen, because each of them has the right to have their opinions heard. It is also every writer’s nightmare to have to listen to twenty voices, take all their notes and then somehow act on them, even when they are contradictory. And, you have to figure out whose to give the most weight, as some voices in a room are more important than others. in this particular case, one group was designated the point creative group and all comments filtered through them. In short, everyone has their say, but the point creative filters the comments down and sends them on to the writers.

  99. outlanderthemovie Says:

    Finn and Reaver – yes, we’re still in the game, but the game changes all the time. We’ll see how it all shakes out.

  100. Thanks for the response, OTM! Few things good are made by committee, although the US Constitution and Monty Python turned out all right. 😉

    It just sounds like Avi Lerner is getting involved in areas where he doesn’t belong. I hope that’s become obvious due to this current fracas. 🙂

  101. I’m not sure which is worse… Pre-production politics, or the Pre-release kind (at least from an observers perspective).

  102. Thomas Scheu chek him out on the internet….!

  103. Carlos the Jackal Says:

    Mr. Blackman and Mr. McCain,

    I just saw your names on IMDB attached to the Underworld prequel, Rise of the Lycans. It seems that you two became specialized in Sword and Sorcery, and I think it’s actually a good thing, like, when someone asks “Who do we employ for our S&S movie? Why, there’s McCain and Blackman!” Unfortunately I haven’t seen The Outlander yet, but I wish you both the best anyway, and hope you’ll grow to be something of a new Wachowski bros, as far as film fantasy is concerned.

    Since you have already answered above about how the film gets made through filters of producers, writers, directors, etc. I hoped you could answer my question as well. Is there – in Hollywood – something like a censor-board or a censor-committee, that actually decides about which ideological stream should one film take? Or are writers expected to fit in the dominant stream spontaniously? And are rejected if they don’t come up with the satrisfactory results?

    My question is based on an observation of how Hollywood produces films like Dark Knight, which is a strong Bush administration apology (Batman spies on everyone, declares war on terror, when confronted with a michaelmooresque critic that he himself produces such as the Joker he says “So what!”, and than takes the downfall for people’s own good leaving the people with a message about how they were ungrateful, etc. ), or for example, films like the Bourne trilogy, which is very pro-democrat, anti-Bush, or the new James Bond film, where James Bond stands on the side of Evo Morales’ government against the CIA and the environmentalist multinational corporation. And I ask you this, because the Underworld prequel, as far as I can see, also walks along the same leftist line – Lycans are the undertrodden, not to say “the proletariat”, while the vampires are this upper class, etc. So, I was wondering if storyline like that comes according to some Hollywood planing, like what are the topics we should cover this year, etc.? And than they see that the political climat is like that, and the studios decide and than tell to the writers “OK, now, go and write about the undertrodden!”

    Best Regards

  104. Any news you can share? Heck, any insights to the process you can share? 🙂

  105. outlanderthemovie Says:

    Long time since I checked in here. My apologies, gents and ladies. Reaver: Not a whole lot to say about Conan, unfortunately. Last I’d heard, budget discussions were going on with Brett Ratner, but he hadn’t definitively landed. Maybe I’ll get a chance to tell all in a while, but not right now.

    However, Carlos – you’ve got some really interesting questions in there, and I think I will answer them at length very soon.

    Thanks again for all the interest. I wish I could be more informative.

  106. I hope it doesn’t become a “comtemporary” or “topical” movie commenting on the times.

    Howard’s themes or barbarism versus civilization are universal. If he put Conan in a thinly disguised tale of the Great Depression, we wouldn’t remember him today.

  107. Carlos the Jackal Says:

    Outlanderthemovie, I am looking forward to your answer. Hollywood and the film industry an general always had some kind of production codes, and that was always a very interesting topic for those outside the film industry. I would really appreciate someone like you, who can provide answers from the inside perspective, saying something about the topic.

    Just to mention, I don’t see production codes as transhistrorical, I think all times have their special meanings and specific ways, and of course, our times are those of the most interest to us. And, also to mention, I don’t think this new “standard” I was talking about is anything bad, quite the conterary. But it’s not the moral aspect that’s interesting about thing such as this, it’s the mechanism and how it works.


    Kortoso – do we remember Conan now because Conan was not about the Great depression, or do we remember him now because he was about it, and because we are going through another similar economical crisis? Just a thought…

    About the “eternal topics” such as barbarism vs. civilization, well, you got the same thing in Three Musketeers, with D’Artagnan character. But you got plenty other things in The Three Musketeers, and you got plenty of other things, topic, problems, etc. in Conan too. Epics are never about just one thing – if they were, they wouldn’t be epics. And epics do speak about the specific, unique aspects of their time and society – you can’t grab the universal without including the particular of the specific moment or angle in history – if you could, it wouldn’t be universal, because it would be lacking that specific particularity. And not to mention it being too abstract if it doesn’t reflect the present social and historical aspects. I think film should reflect the present, but it should not stop there.

    Best regards, and happy New Year! Best wishes for the upcoming Conan movie as well as for the general release of The Outlander.

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