20 January 2011

Interview with 'Conan' Screenwriter

In case you are curious about the forthcoming Conan the Barbarian film (to be released 19 August 2011), an interview with one of the film's screenwriters, Sean Hood, can be found here.

I'm disappointed about two things: (a) the film is not based on any of Robert E. Howard's actual Conan stories, and (b) the film will be in 3-D (ick).

But, yeah, of course I'll go see it this summer...


  1. Thanks for the news; I had no idea another Conan was in the making.

    I'm mildly interested; I love me my action flicks, but I haven't been impressed with anything Conan yet. This may be heretical to say in the presence of a Howard fan, but even his portrayal of Conan was uninspiring, after reading one of his books. Conan is like a medieval James Bond, except he relies on dumb luck rather than wits to survive.

    I guess I just like smart [anti]-heroes.

  2. I would be curious to know which Conan stories you've read. Howard always portrayed Conan as quite smart, i.e., relying on his "wits to survive."

    Of course, that alone may not be sufficient to make the Conan stories appealing.

  3. Ok, I read the interview you kindly posted. It dosen't make me any more confident about this movie though. I just don't see why movie people can't be faithful to the source material.

    They always talk about making a book work for today's audience, but I just completely have no sympathy for that idea. If you think you have to alter a classic piece of fiction to make it graspable by the knuckle dragging ADD morons of today, just make up your own character.

    They could just slap,"the barbarian", on the end of a name pulled out of a hat and the movie would do as well or badly as it would labled as Conan.

    Sean Hood sounds like a politian in the interview. Trying not to offend his peers and push the movie while downplaying the concerns of the fans.

  4. I agree that the interview does not really inspire much confidence (although at least Hood seems *aware* of Howard's version of Conan).

    A movie based on either *Red Nails* or *Day of the Dragon* would be amazing.

  5. Well, we've known this wasn't going to be based on any Howard story since October, but this just further confirms it.

    Hood seems to be caught between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: he isn't in a position to change much, but he seems to be aware of the diehard Howard fans's concerns, and attempting to address them as much as he can. At the same time, though, some of the stuff he says just confuses me.

    Tequila, I don't know what Howard stories you've read, but characterizing Conan as not smart seems rather like anathema to me. Any occassions where luck does intervene aren't any worst than any other hero - James Bond included.

  6. I'm with E.G. on this. I know that Hollywood execs and producers have big egos, though, so no matter how much a writer wants to be true to the source material, the execs 'know what will work.' They'd rather hedge their bets for ROI by playing to the lowest common denominator rather than try to make something good (at least anything with the budget necessary to do anything fantasy/sci fi these days).

    Reading that interview, though, his answers to simple questions didn't really inspire me with any feeling that this movie will be better than the original Conan the Barbarian. It will likely be better than Conan the Destroyer, but that's setting the bar pretty low.

  7. Conan + 3d Escher mazes and ruins - woohoo!

  8. Tequila, I don't know what Howard stories you've read, but characterizing Conan as not smart seems rather like anathema to me. Any occassions where luck does intervene aren't any worst than any other hero - James Bond included.
    Fair enough. All anti/heroes have a certain amount of luck on their side, but it seemed to me that conan's adventures were mostly driven by blind chance. For example, the story that begins with the villain crushing Conan's army from afar with a rockslide; Conan survives only because he had just happened to dress one of his men in his own armor that day so that he could stay in his tent. Yeah, plenty of other anti/heroes have similar encounters; but my lasting impression from what I read is that of "I'm king because I'm strong, sexilicious and really lucky."

    I guess in a world where sorcery is a nigh-unstoppable force, an author has to write a lot of blind luck into his stories if any non-sorcerer is to survive for long. (The book I read was The Bloody Crown.)


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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who lives primarily in Toronto but teaches in Milwaukee (sometimes in person, sometimes online).