Thanks to Sylvester Stallone, some of his old buddies who had nothing better to do and just about enough explosives to dislodge California from the North American continent, old badasses are quite the rage lately. But soon the baddest of asses will be back on screen, teaching these kids of today just what is best in life (No, it most definitely is not Justin Bieber, although he may fall under that “lamentations of their women” bit), as Arnold Schwarzenegger reprises the role that made him famous for Legend of Conan.
TheArnoldFan spoke to Arnie, as well as Fredrik Malmberg, CEO of current Conan rights owner Paradox Entertainment, about the film: What kind of physical shape Arnie will be in, how he got involved and the vision for the film. And oh yeah, a rather famous director opens up quite the intriguing door.
One of the most exciting and intriguing plot points for Legend is that we’ll be seeing this great warrior king in his twilight years, as he goes out looking for one last battle to end it all. And while this may mean that Conan won’t be quite the physical specimen he was 30 years ago, he still needs to look like the meanest camel puncher you’ve ever seen. So is Arnold, who you would think spent the last few years during his governorship of California pumping more hands than iron, ready for that?
“Well, age doesn’t mean anything to me, because I work out every day. I work out twice a day, as a matter of fact. At night I work out with weights, and in the morning I do cardiovascular training. So for me, to get on the set and to swing the sword around again and to ride the horses and all those things doesn’t mean anything [does not scare me], because I feel like I did thirty years ago. So as long as I stay in shape, that’s the key thing, and to keep your body young. Even though you do feel the pain when you wipe out and when you do your fight scenes and you get more sore and the body doesn’t come back as quickly and all this . . . but just grind through it, you know? That’s what it’s all about!”
Malmberg also added how he feels Arnie is still more than up for the role:
“I think he said himself, he really wants to spend a few months to really get in shape for the role. He’s pretty big still. We want him to be comfortable in the role and play a realistic warrior of this age. So we don’t want him to look like a 45-year-old. But I don’t see a problem with him taking off his shirt or whatever and showing still a big and beefy body with scars, gashes and see this man has really been through every battle there is. And of course Arnold is all about fitness, and he’s still into it. We had breakfast not too long ago and he talked about his health and his oatmeal and what he eats every day. He knows exactly what he’s putting into his body and the effects. I wouldn’t be surprised if he took off his shirt, but definitely he’ll be having pumped-up arms.”
Old man taking his shirt off? The Hoff just called and he wants his schtick back. Seriously though, it was actually this challenge of being able to pull off the role again after three decades that initially drew Arnie back in, as Malmberg explains:
“The whole idea that got Arnold so enthusiastic about the new creative take is, CAN HE live up to the legend he is? Conan is 65 now, so he will have to fight through an aging warrior body, having cracking bones, aches and having to get back into the battle.”
In all that off-screen time that Conan would have been warrior-ing his way through Hyboria, it wouldn’t be far fetched to think that he would pick up a couple new ways to drive his enemies before him. So would Conan still be swinging that signature Atlantean sword or would he be cracking skulls in new and brutal ways?
“I would like to see that Conan has it still [the original sword], but it would be cool to pick up on some new fighting techniques. Wouldn’t it be nice to have Arnold fight with a double-axe? In the comics, he always has that swinging double-axe. I’m all for double-axes. But the sword is so classic, and it has to be in there sometime.”
Malmberg also indicated that he and the rest of the production team would love for the Peter Jackson founded WETA (who did all the effects on the LOTR films as well as many others) to do the visual effects for the film, which of course led to him discussing Jackson himself as a potential director:
“I’m a huge fan of Peter Jackson, but he must have spent over ten years in fantasyland, and maybe his storytelling is slightly different from Conan’s. I’m not so sure Jackson would be attracted to Conan. It’s more fast-paced. LOTR and The Hobbit are great films of course, but his are maybe more high fantasy and Conan is more down and dirty.”
However, as luck would have it, TheArnoldFan ran into another potential director, somebody who has worked with Arnold before, and who actually shows quite the interest in taking on this tale of elderly swords and sorcery: Paul Verhoeven.
“If they asked me, I’d certainly love to – let’s put it that way. But I don’t know what the script is. I don’t know what Arnold wants. I’m a big fan in fact ofConan. That’s a great movie and I found that the composer, Basil Poledouris, basically inspired many of my movies [the soundtracks] like Flesh and Blood, RoboCop, Starship Troopers and Total Recall. The score of Conan is great. The style of editing that Milius used was very beautiful, and Arnold does a great job. He was really the perfect choice.”
While Arnold’s first official return to the leading action man status, The Last Stand, didn’t do so well on the US market (though I’m pretty sure that it will have the legs globally as well as on home release), that’s not slowing Arnie down one bit, as he has both David Ayer’s star studded Ten as well as his team-up with Sylvester Stallone, The Tomb, coming up. He also recently confirmed that he will indeed be involved in the proposed Terminator 5.
So with all of that, will he still be able to squeeze in time to get his barbarian on? Malmberg is pretty confident that it will happen soon.
“[Arnold] wants to do Conan next, and his people want to do Conan next. It’s all a question of, can we get a great script done in time? After we get a go on the script, we can go into production within six months. As soon as the script is there, BOOM, we’ve got the green.”
Boom. He said “boom”. If my Hollywood lingo isn’t too rusty, I believe that makes it official. Check out the full interview over here, where they also speak to old Conan cast members who hope to get a role in Legend as well as Malmberg talking about Conan’s big sword. Not like that, you dirty bastards.