Growing up, there’s always that one movie in your life that’ll put hair on your chest and give you a deeper voice, regardless of your gender. For Lourens, that movie was Herbie Goes Bananas. For the rest of us, that was the very first Conan movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The riddle of steel, lamentations of ladies and fantasy action of that scale had never been seen on the big screen before, making the first Conan movie a winner at the box office. One horrible sequel later, some decent Saturday morning cartoons and an underrated reboot later, and ol’ Arnie is returning to his signature role as a king with a furrowed brow. So what can fans expect then? Plenty, according to one executive who is behind the scenes on the film.
So how far along is production on the flick? Well according to Paradox Entertainment President and CEO Frederik Malmberg and The Arnold Fans, the whole gang has finally come together in pre production at least:
We’re doing the script and it’s by the whole ‘Fast and the Furious’ team, which is great for a power position of the studio because they’re exteamily [sic] successful – it was the biggest movie and if anyone knows how to build a franchise, it is that team. It’s Chris Morgan and Jeffery Kirschenbaum, the head of Universal. Arnold is very excited. It’s just in the phase where it takes a lot of work to get the script just right … We have a great story. Everyone loves it. This is a role that’s perfect for him (Arnold) and he’s very involved with the whole Universal team. It’s the best team they have. Arnold has been very instrumental to being this together saying, ‘We gotta make a good Conan!’ I think if we do this right, we can do two more Conan movies right after. I think Game of Thrones also shows a huge interest in fantasy. I’m psyched about it.
Right now though, the film is missing one crucial ingredient. And that’s a director. The next Conan movie may not have someone to helm the film yet, but that’s because Malmberg and co are looking to get the story for this third Conan Arnie flick right, before they start recruiting:
There’s Sven-Ole [Thorson]…he’s a cool guy. I guess at this point, there’s definitely some room for that but it has to make sense and it can’t be cheesy. It has to be very believable and it’s also crucial to Arnold that this is not too much of a throwback and yet it pays homage…it should pay some respect to the original movies but there has to be a real reason for it.
And that’s where a few new plot points were revealed, setting my mind at ease that at least Conan won’t be pulling a Die Hard 5 despite his old age:
The idea is that this takes place AFTER Conan has been king. But this is the legend of Conan where he has been gone and people say, ‘do you remember the good ol’ days when Conan was around?’ And now it’s time for him to come back. In the stories and you can also see it when he’s sitting on the thrown and the narration on that last scene of the movie…”with a troubled brow” …you can tell he’s not really happy being king. So, it’s time for him to go out and do battle … The idea for this particular film is that he will be the lead, a lot of people ask if we’re going to introduce a son of Conan and passing the torch? The idea is to not. No, this is Conan’s movie. This is Arnold’s movie!
One aspect of the Conan films that have vecome rather dated though, are the special effects. They’re still charming in a retro way, but hell, they’re not going to win any Oscars. With computer technology having sharpened itself to the level of Hyborian steel, the next Conan film will most likely be a 3D affair that uses CGI to create a more fantastical world for the aged king and barbarian:
With today’s production values, we can probably do a lot more with what they were doing way back then. I mean we have seen what Peter Jackson has done. I think of course this is probably more grounded and less fantastical with less creatures and CG monsters. We want to have some of that fantastical world but we don’t want it to become a complete fantasy because what really set Conan the Barbarian apart from all the other fantasy movies is that this feels like our prehistoric earth. Still, we want to make it full of splendor … It’s on the table and it’s a big studio picture and a big event movie.
I wouldn’t rule it out but right now, all we’re concentrating on is the story. It’s a working machine with everyone and marketing people. The president over there at Universal Pictures is Jeffery Kirschenbaum, and he’s one of the top two executive producers and he has a huge position there at Universal and he’s always been a huge Conan fan. ‘I want to make Conan,’ he’s said many times. And it was Universal who launched the first film with Arnold. Now the constellation is aligning.
Last Updated: July 31, 2013