I’m not sure why I’m even paying attention to the Conan news anymore. The last time I wrote about it, after slogging through the online sources and doing a little digging, it began to dawn on me that, well, it’s very likely that the movie is going to be awful. And not in an amusing way. Yes, I realize that the 1982 John Milius version isn’t exactly Oscar-caliber cinema, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. Genuinely good. Sure, it’s a little wacky in parts — particularly James Earl Jones’ hair, and the fact that, well, it’s James Earl fucking Jones — it’s still a wildly adventurous bit of sword-and-sandals entertainment.
The new flick, to be directed by Marcus Nispel, is not filled with particularly inspiring news. Latino Review">The latest news is that Stephen Lang, who is still picking bits of Avatar’s scenery out of his teeth, is in talks to play Khalar Singh, the main villain in the new film slated for 2011. Lang was utterly ridiculous in Avatar — a shallow, one-sided villain who was essentially a caricature of every military bad guy you’ve ever seen. I’m actually not knocking him — he took what he was given and pretty much knocked the shit out of it. Not his fault the part was terribly written.
Last year, the character list leaked online, and this is what it had to say about Khalar Singh:
Khalar Singh is in his 40s to 50s, Asian or Middle Eastern, Central Asian, Mongol, Turkish, or Persian, open to all ethnicities; commanding in size and manner, a warlord and formidable warrior, brilliant, cruel, weathered and tanned by the many campaigns he has waged and won. He is driven in his quest to find the Queen of Acheron and has been building an empire to do so.
His goal is to find the Queen whose blood will bring life to the demonic minions of Acheron while making himself king of this hellish power. With this power, Khalar will protect his legacy against the onslaught of master sorcerer, Thoth-Amon so that his weak son, Fariq may rule after his death. While riding into a Cimmerian village to recruit his old comrade, Corin, his large collection of mercenaries slaughters them to the last soul when Corin refuses to join them. The village’s only survivor was young Conan. When Khalar’s search has finally narrowed to the likely discovery of the queen at a monastery of female monks, he also learns Conan is older and hungry for revenge…
He’s probably just right for the part — he’s older, he’s pretty badass-looking, and he’s certainly got the build for it. And he can clearly do the merciless villain bit. As for Corin, rumors are bopping around that Mickey Rourke is in talks. The description as written above is a great throwback to the old Conan stories, but…
The director of Pathfinder and Friday the 13th.
A lead actor from “North Shore” and “Baywatch.”
The screenwriters from A Sound of Thunder and Sahara.
Script doctoring by the guy who wrote Halloween: Resurrection and The Crow: Wicked Prayer.
Forgive my cynicism, but I would like to see these people driven before me and hear the lamentations of their women.
Here, this should make it all better:
(image courtesy of Julia Segal’s Skull Swap)