He has escaped the Wheel of Pain, survived crucifixion on the Tree of Woe, and has tossed James Earl Jones’ severed head down a flight of stairs. But now, can Conan the Barbarian rise from the dead after a 24-year cinematic sabbatical?
“I can absolutely confirm the rumors are rumors,” sighed fast-rising “Descent” director Neil Marshall, revealing that while producers are attempting to resurrect the character that made Arnold Schwarzenegger a star, it won’t necessarily be with him behind the camera. “I had one meeting, and I haven’t heard anything since.”
For reasons of both age and governance, the 60-year-old actor-turned-politician would almost certainly have nothing to do with another “Conan” movie. But with the “Terminator” franchise having successfully moved on without The Governator, Marshall said he’d be willing to try and do the same.
“It’s something that could be a lot of fun,” insisted the British filmmaker, whose apocalyptic flick “Doomsday” hits theaters next weekend. “But at the end of the day, they’re going to choose their director.”
Although Marshall admitted to us that he’s not very familiar with Robert E. Howard’s savage creation as imagined in the pages of “Weird Tales” magazine more than 70 years ago (”I’m not into comics in a big way”), he said he’d love to extend the film franchise. “I love that world,” he said. “I was a huge fan of the first film. It’s the potential to do a rip-roaring adventure, within a semi-historical world. It just appeals to me hugely.”
As for the take that he pitched to the series’ gatekeepers, Marshall revealed some very visual ideas. “It’s no bearing on the comic strips at all. I’m more influenced by Frazetta’s fantasy art,” he said of much-emulated fantasy illustrator Frank Frazetta, who was fond of muscle-bearing shots of a long-haired Conan taking down enemies by the dozens. “That puts more ideas into my head than comic books. I just thought it could be a lot of fun…We shall see.”
Would you like to see Marshall in charge of a Conan comeback? What actor do you want in the lead role?