Another update on Legend of Conan today, which ManlyMovie is genuinely excited about because it’s one Arnold franchise that hasn’t been ridden into the ground. So it has potential. Writer Chris Morgan has been discussing the movie, again for a second time in a week. Morgan talks Arnold’s box office power, Jason Mamoa and staying true to the franchise.
Check out the interview.
IGN: The idea is to follow the ’82 film only. Is there any concern at all in terms of the existence of the much more recent Jason Mamoa film?
Morgan: Look, I think Jason is a really good actor. I love him, especially in Game of Thrones — holy s***, he’s great! But it is what it is. That’s the version they set out and did. The version that I am really interested in, the one that I went to Arnold with, and went to the studio with is, it’s a different version, and it really is a take on…Conan the Barbarian, people can say what they want about it, I think it’s actually a brilliant movie. I think the lack of dialogue in it…I think [John] Milius did such a good job with it, such a good job. There’s a lesson about what it is to be a man and a warrior and “What is civilization in barbarism?” and “What do you believe in?” and lessons of life. I think there’s so much in that movie that we are now going to be able to jump ahead and build on that foundation that they built, those types of lessons. I think it’s going to be something really special and iconic and different than people expect.
IGN: Is he going to be contemplating the lamentation of his enemies’ women?
Morgan: [Laughs] He will be contemplating on the Tree of Woe, yes! He will crush his enemies, see them driven before him, and hear the lamentations of their women, yes!
IGN: I know you guys have hired Andrea Berloff to write the script, but how soon do you think…
Morgan: Yes, she a great writer. She is finishing up a draft now, and then we’ll know. But she’s incredible. She has a gift for guys being guys, action and dialogue and elevated genre. We’re lucky. We’re really lucky to have her. She’s amazing.
IGN: There were rumors of Paul Verhoeven expressing some interest in directing.
Morgan: I heard about the Verhoeven thing as well, and it’s not — yeah, we haven’t had any discussions like that.
Morgan: Right now I think we’re just kind of open. We’re open to that. I am a “one hurtle at a time” guy. Here’s a little story that I’ll say, and I’m going to say this really wrong; it’s from this book, and I hate to say that I don’t remember the title, but it was a book about the war in Iraq. The story was centered around a bunch of soldiers, and they go into Iraq, and they’re on this refueling mission. This airplane, when they stop to refuel, they sleep on a bladder of fuel that is 100,000 gallons, or I don’t know how much — a ton of fuel. Well this guy falls asleep, and he wakes up and they’re being shot and shelled in midair, right? Everyone is jumping out of the plane, parachuting out. So he gets up, and he doesn’t know what it is, and everyone’s in a line, and it’s panic — bullets and all this stuff — and he just gets in line, and he realizes he doesn’t have a parachute on. He jumps out anyway, and he hits the ground ten feet later. What happened was, while they were refueling, some accidental thing happened, and an ammo cart went off. He thought he was flying when he went out, and his sergeant pulls him aside and goes, “What were you thinking? You were in line, you jumped out of an airplane, and you didn’t have your parachute?” He goes, “One problem at a time, Sarge.” He knew he had to get out of the exploding plane first. So that’s that. So with this, I got delivered a great script, and if I get delivered a great script, then I go to a great director. If we get a great director or cast, like, one thing at a time. I can lock those things down. But I believe in it. I think it’s going to be a great project.
IGN: Have you been paying attention to the box office on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent releases? Is that something you need to keep in mind as you move forward on The Legend of Conan?
Morgan: I mean, I’m definitely aware of it. This is going to sound weird, but it doesn’t bother me. Good or bad or indifferent, I don’t care, because whatever the perception is for Conan — I love it, because we’re going to exceed expectations. This is what I mean by that; if someone looks at that box office and goes, “Okay, so that box office wasn’t great,” I’m okay with that, because then they’ll be like, “Do you think this can perform?” I never try to chase heat, and we’re tastemakers. We tell people what’s good. If I believe in it, then I’m going to go at it 100 percent. So if someone has a lowered expectation because of that, great! I love it, because I know the work that we’re going to do, I know the work that he’s going to do, and he’s going to kill it. When people see it, if they have a lowered expectation, it’s going to make us look so much better. By the way, I think he’s going to do a great job with David Ayer’s film. I think things are going to do very, very well for him.