Stop the presses! He’ll be back! Arnold Schwarzeneggerwill be playing Conan the Barbarian once again – yes, at his age!
The man who may be most famous for saying, “I’ll be back,” is coming all the way back – back to the film that made his bones in Hollywood. It was confirmed today that Schwarzenegger will play the title character in The Legend of Conan, a film for Universal that looks at the warrior king later in life. The story will ignore Arnold’s previous sequel, 1984’s Conan the Destroyer (as well as Jason Momoa’s unrelated 2011 Conan the Barbarian) in order to follow up on the 1982 original, Conan the Barbarian.
I’m actually rather excited about this news, because tales of King Conan are among my favorites from pulp author Robert E. Howard’s oeuvre. But I wouldn’t bring in his son, Prince Conn (short for Conan), for this movie. I think Schwarzenegger the man needs more distance from his real-world trouble with kids before playing a father onscreen.
Arnold told Deadline:
“I always loved the Conan character and I’m honored to be asked to step into the role once again. I can’t wait to work with Universal and the great team of Fredrik Malmberg and Chris Morgan to develop the next step of this truly epic story.”
The new film will be written by Chris Morgan, one of Hollywood’s current favorite action scribes – he also penned the last four Fast and the Furious films, and the comic book adaptation Wanted. He said:
“The original ended with Arnold on the throne as a seasoned warrior, and this is the take of the film we will make. It’s that Nordic Viking mythic guy who has played the role of king, warrior, soldier and mercenary, and who has bedded more women than anyone, nearing the last cycle of his life. He knows he’ll be going to Valhalla, and wants to go out with a good battle. Will [the original’s R-rated] level of violence be there? Absolutely, but only if it serves a character who lives by that barbarian law of the wild, who is capable of extreme violence and rage, but who has created his own code and operates from within it. By the end of that film, Conan became a certain character, and this film picks him up there, as he faces different challenges that include dealing with age.”
The film’s producer, Fredrik Malmberg, was also pumped about using a more mature barbarian:
“This movie picks up Conan where Arnold is now in his life, and we will be able to use the fact that he has aged in this story. I love the property of Conan so much that I wouldn’t touch it unless we came up with something worthy. We think this is a worthy successor to the original film. Think of this as Conan’s Unforgiven.”
Unforgiven? That’s setting the bar pretty high. I like that sort of ambition. Surely you remember that the original was directed by John Milius , who co-wrote the screenplay with Oliver Stone?
The target date for a release is sometime in 2014.