Stephen Lang on Khalar Zym, Bulgaria, and the Conan crew

Stephen Lang’s next big television project, Terra Nova, has started its publicity run. In an interview for Collider, not only does he talk about Terra Nova, but Avatar, playing villains — and Conan the Barbarian.

What kind of character are you playing in Conan The Barbarian?

LANG: In Conan, I’m playing an evil, evil, evil warlord. He’s wonderful. I am Khalar Zym. I am Death.

What was the experience of making that film like, and how is this incarnation different from other versions of the characters?

LANG: We shot Conan in Bulgaria, which was the perfect place to shoot it. It’s real rugged and very colorful and very low-tech. Every department head was just top notch. I was very proud of the make-up and wardrobe and the look of the character, which to me is very important. And, there was the work with the weapons and the horses. We had the 300 fight team there. Of course, we had a very good, imaginative director with Marcus Nispel. And, I’ve got to say that Jason Momoa, who plays Conan, was just spectacularly good. He was terrific. He did a great job and was a real stud, and I enjoyed beating the hell out of him. That was fun. You better have fun when you’re in Bulgaria, or you’re not going to have any fun at all.

How do you tap into an evil character like that?

LANG: Oh, boy. My job, professionally, is tapping into stuff. We’ve all got it. But, I just am fortunate enough that, beyond the age of 11, it’s what I do professionally.

It’s encouraging to know Lang thinks highly of the production team, though of course, that could just be perfunctory support on his part. The praise for Momoa continues, which just makes me all the more anxious for a trailer, so we can get a better idea of what to expect from the film.

The evasion of the second part of the question — “What was the experience of making that film like, and how is this incarnation different from other versions of the characters?” — is frustrating, but predictable, considering there is no other incarnation of Khalar Zym, not to mention having to deal with the eventuality that Lionsgate cannot continue to sell this as a faithful adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s character without risking alienation and resentment among Howard fans. Hopefully this will be addressed sooner rather than later.