Update: Now that I’ve wiped this egg off my face, I can bring you this update to the story. Apparently Mr Lerner spoke to soon. And Brett Ratner is not happy about it. Mr Lerner decided to tell everyone about his exciting new Conan project, with Mr Ratner as the director. But they were only in negotiations. The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Lerner and he said there were still “obstacles.” Lerner also stated that Ratner simply wanted a few things decided first. But not so, according to Ratner himself.
“Let me make this very clear,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “I am not doing Conan now. This is totally premature. For now, Conan is only a development deal. I have a deal at Paramount and I’m doing ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ first, no matter what. Avi shouldn’t be telling you or anyone else in the press what I’m doing.”
Sounds pretty pissed, don’t you think? Guess there’s always a chance this could happen, but right now, I’d doubt it. Bummer.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Brett Ratner has been spending the last two weeks trying to decide which “potential franchise” he wants to start working on next. His choices? Paramount’s fourth installment in the “Beverly Hills Cop” franchise or a 21st Century take on “Conan the Barbarian,” which is being produced by Nu Image/Millenium and Lionsgate. Well, fans rejoice! Mr Ratner has chosen Conan! He is currently in final negotiations to direct.
Okay, so Conan may not be the most popular character in modern cinema. I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of people read this and wondered, “Who is Conan the Barbarian?” Well, let me give you a brief intro to the character. Conan is a young man born into battle. Tragically, his mother and father are killed in a raid by the evil sorcerer Thulsa Doom, and Conan is sent to a slave camp. As the years pass, he develops into a powerfully-built man, still determined to get revenge for his parents’ death and solve the riddle of steel. He learns that Thulsa Doom is the head of a mysterious snake cult and in his attempts to get closer to the evil sorcerer, Conan makes some powerful friends and many deadly enemies. There was a Conan movie released in 1982, and it starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan. James Earl Jones starred as the evil sorcerer Thulsa Doom.
As of now, the project is simply named “Conan.” The script is currently being revised by writers Joshua Oppenheimer and Thomas Dean Donnelly to include some of Ratner’s ideas. Robert E. Howard’s original pulp stories of the 1930’s were the inspiration for this version of the character. The studios see this as a potential franchise, and are approaching this with the intention of making it a “very R rated film.”
Words cannot begin to express my joy right now. I envision this being very similar to 300 in terms of fight sequences, the amount of blood and violence on screen. You simply can’t have a PG-13 rated Conan the Barbarian. It wouldn’t do the character any justice. And I know Brett Ratner is very polarized as a director. It seems as though most people have strong feelings about him, either good or bad. Personally, I am a very big fan of Mr. Ratner. I may be one of a very small minority of comic book fans who actually enjoyed his take on the X-Men. I think he can do a good job, and this movie is now headed in the right direction!
Co-producer Avi Lerner of Millenium has this to say of this hero’s tale. “The story opens on a battlefield where Conan is born and tells the origin story that sets the stage for what will be the first of multiple films.” A Conan franchise! When can we expect this franchise to begin? The studio is aiming for a release in early 2010.