About a year from now, we'll have a pretty good idea of whether or not the long-heralded return of Arnold Schwarzenegger to the silver screen was actually a good idea. But for now, fans are riding high on a wave of nostalgia at the thought of one of yesteryear's greatest action stars making a comeback.
Today brings two news items on the "Ahnuld" front: the actor (and former Governor) will be reclaiming the mantle of Conan the Barbarian, and he also looks plenty badass as a dirty DEA agent in End of Watch writer/director David Ayer's Ten.
Deadline reported that Universal Pictures is choosing to (once again) reboot the Conan franchise, after the 2011 reboot starring Game of Thrones actor Jason Momoa sputtered to a $48 million worldwide box office take on a $90 million budget. The new approach for this particular mulligan? Bring back the star who made the original film a cult-hit. Enter Schwarzenegger.
The new film will be titled The Legend of Conan, and the story for it was crafted by Chris Morgan (Fast and the Furious 3 - 6, 47 Ronin) who might also write the screenplay. Deadline notes that Morgan could potentially be busy with Fast and the Furious 7 during the production of Legend of Conan (which is circling a 2014 release date); should that be the case, Morgan would still be heavily involved in producing the film, alongside Fredrik Malmberg of Paradox Entertainment (which holds the Conan rights).
Regarding what the film would actually BE about, Malmberg offered some insight:
“The original ended with Arnold on the throne as a seasoned warrior, and this is the take of the film we will make... It’s that Nordic Viking mythic guy who has played the role of king, warrior, soldier and mercenary, and who has bedded more women than anyone, nearing the last cycle of his life. He knows he’ll be going to Valhalla, and wants to go out with a good battle.”
From the sound of that premise, The Legend of Conan would fall in step with real time, which makes total logistical sense: at 65, Schwarzenegger would have a hard time fooling anyone if he tried to play a warrior still in his prime; as an aging champion looking for one last bit of glory, however... it suddenly becomes deliciously meta. Malmberg himself acknowledges as much:
This movie picks up Conan where Arnold is now in his life, and we will be able to use the fact that he has aged in this story. I love the property of Conan so much that I wouldn’t touch it unless we came up with something worthy. We think this is a worthy successor to the original film. Think of this as Conan’s Unforgiven.
If you didn't pick up on the finer points of that last quote: Legend of Conan will supposedly ignore both the 2011 reboot and the 1984 sequel film Conan the Destroyer, and will instead tie itself directly to the events of the original film. If you want to hear more from Malmberg about his plan for the movie - or from Schwarzenegger about returning to the role, then head over to Deadline.
As stated, The Legend of Conan is aiming for a 2014 release date.
Out of Arnold's upcoming slate of films - the western crime drama Last Stand, the Stallone/Schwarzenegger prison thriller The Tomb or even the rumored Twins sequel, Triplets - the most intriguing to me has to be David Ayer's Ten. Ayer - known for his hard-boiled LA crime tales like Training Day, End of Watch and Harsh Times - will be getting a bit more literary as he attempts to transform Agatha Christie's famous murder mystery novel Ten Little Indians into his particular brand of crime tale.
In this version, a team of dirty DEA agents (including Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Joe Manganiello, Harold Perrineau, Josh Holloway and Terrence Howard) rob a cartel, believing they've gotten away clean. The twist comes as members of the team start getting murdered one by one, leading to much chaos and paranoia.
Check out this pic of Arnold looking badass, which he Tweeted from the set:
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Ten will be in theaters sometime in 2013.