News Roundup: New Young Conan still, interviews, and REH news

Gearing up for the big day!

The Conan 3D Facebook page has a new picture of Leo Howard’s young Conan running amid fire and chaos in his home village:

For more, you will know it by the click of the link.

Chicago Sun Times has an illuminating interview with our man Jason:

How does a man know he has found his inner barbarian? For Jason Momoa, it revolved around reaching out to his he-man friends.

“I wanted to have my nose broken for this role but wasn’t sure how to accomplish it,” says the Iowa native.

So, he enlisted a friend with a fist.

“I was like, ‘Dude, I have this idea. I think you should break my nose. Would you do it?’” Momoa recalls. “My buddy just did it right away, damn it. After it was over, I said, ‘Dude, didn’t you want to think about it for a minute?’ But we’re guys and he said, ‘You don’t have to ask me twice. Done deal.’

“Just please don’t tell my wife about it,” he begs. “I wonder if she reads your newspaper?”

Yes, boys will be barbarians in the new installment of “Conan the Barbarian,” the film franchise that made Schwarzenegger a superstar. Dark-haired, beefy Momoa is at the forefront of new epic battles against very muscular rivals and a few horrific monsters as his Conan tries to save the great nation of Hyboria from supernatural evil.

“He’s a man. He fights, he f—s. He’s a pirate thief. He’s flawed,” Momoa says. “He’s a soldier and a warrior. He won’t fall in battle. Plus, women think he has this animalistic, primal side to him that’s sexy. Above all, he says what he means.”

The 32-year-old was born in Honolulu but grew up in Norwalk, Iowa. After high school, he returned to Hawaii, where he broke into acting with a role in “Baywatch.” Momoa also has starred on series including “North Shore,” “Stargate: Atlantis” and “The Game.”

He also plays Khal Drogo in the hit HBO series “Game of Thrones” and marvels at his newfound fame, including a recent appearance on Jay Leno’s show.

“I did refuse any makeup,” he says. “Someone wanted to put powder on me and I said, ‘Are you nuts? I’m a barbarian.’”

You sound a little upset.  What irks Conan?

I just talked to some of the foreign press, and they thought the movie was violent. It’s “Conan”! People know they’re going to watch “Conan” and not “The Prince of Persia.” Conan is supposed to kick ass. I think this movie does a great job of reinventing a classic. Tonight, I’m going to go watch an early screening of it with a bunch of my buddies and then go drink some beers. I know they’ll love the action in the movie, and I’m not worried about what they think of me as an actor. They know I’m an idiot.

How were you cast?

I was cast because I do “Game of Thrones” and the film had a mutual casting director who knew my work. He said, “This kid is our new Conan.” Actually, being cast as Conan wasn’t a nail-biting thing. Getting the HBO series was the nail-biter because I had to wait to find out, plus they didn’t want to cast out of America. It was seven months of ups and downs. With “Conan,” I was equally thrilled because it was a truly iconic role and a departure from who I am. Plus, it is iconic, so I had a feeling of, “Let me show you what I can do with it.”

3 Any worries that audiences  will be comparing you to Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Of course, but then again, Sean Connery and Daniel Craig are both James Bond and both phenomenal. We saw Jack Nicholson do the Joker in “Batman” and thought no one else could do it. Then Heath Ledger came along and won an Oscar for it. It’s apples and pears or peaches and cream. The point is that it’s a new day for Conan. … When I started this movie, I watched the first Conan movie and Arnold did a great job, but it’s 30 years later. It’s actually shocking that no one redid Conan before now. … [Schwarzenegger] saw the movie and passed on a message that I did a good job. That was fantastic to hear.

Did you bulk up for the role?

I did a lot of weight training to transform my body. I also learned Asian movement because I have to wield that big sword. Basically, I wanted to do that with the gracefulness of a cat. I even studied big cats and the way they walk and hunt. In the end, I put on about 35 pounds for both “Conan” and “Thrones.” It was fun to put on just weight for “Thrones.” I ate pizza and drank Guinness. On “Conan,” I had to put on muscle, which was tough. I had to eat lean protein and keep a crazy level of training up.

Did you come away with any good injury stories?

Oh, I almost died on the horse a few times. Once, the horse’s feet went out underneath him and I slid off his neck. When the horse fell, his butt almost crushed me but missed me by a narrow margin. I was also bucked off and broke a rib. You heard about my broken nose. Don’t tell my wife. There were also mornings where I had to crawl out of bed because my body was hurting so bad. So, I’d just put some Epsom salts in my tub and sit there. Then I’d go back to the set and do a few more stunts, knowing that if something really happened to me, I’d be … word deleted.

TR3S has some soundbytes from Rose McGowan & Rachel Nichols on the women (and men) of Conan:

Who says the new Conan the Barbarian movie is just for guys? Despite plenty of sword fights, explosions, and bone-crunching stunts, this latest theatrical reboot also includes some pretty dynamic female characters. Star Trek’s Rachel Nichols plays Tamara, a headstrong love interest for the Cimmerian warrior, and Rose McGowan portrays Marique, an evil witch. Both actresses spoke exclusively to Tr3s about their roles at a recent Conan press conference.

“It was fun being able to play a witch,” McGowan explained. “I don’t think I’ve ever played a character that was so unconstrained. Normally you’re asked to pull back with a character, but not here. We had a lot of fun with it.”

Interestingly Rose has played a witchy woman before, back in the early 2000’s, when she had a starring role on the cult series, Charmed. But for Conan, she’s exploring much darker territory. Her character uses magic for pure evil and comes with her own very unique look.

“I think Marique is kind of amazing looking,” McGowan said. “But it took six hours in the makeup chair to get that way.”

Rachel, on the other hand, plays the lady heroine of the film and a very sexy love interest for Conan. When asked about her chemistry with star Jason Momoa, Nichols had nothing but praise.

“I loved working with Jason,” she said. “There’s something about him. He’s a huge presence. He’s a big guy and he’s got that booming voice, but there’s also something really sweet about him.”

Don’t worry fellas, this revamped Barbarian is anything but soft. Throughout the film, Jason racks up quite a body count with some insanely intense action sequences (as Rose can attest).

“This movie has amazing swordplay,” McGowan said. “Seeing Jason and [villain] Stephen Lang go toe-to-toe was amazing. It was very impressive.”

Rachel was quick to chime in on the topic too, making sure that fans knew the women in the film are just as capable of swinging a blade as the boys. When speaking about her character Tamara, she said,

Tamara definitely gives Conan attitude. There’s some hostility in their relationship. She is not the typical damsel in distress. I really like the modern idea of ‘I don’t need Conan to save me, I can save myself’.”

You can see just how “epic” Rose, Rachel, and Jason’s scenes get when Conan the Barbarian arrives in theaters next Friday.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette has an article about two local entertainment lawyers who were tied into the upcoming film, which has a lot of fascinating information about the rights situation and eventual production of the new Conan film:

NORTHAMPTON – Bringing a barbarian to the big screen takes a lot of civilized work behind the scenes. Just ask Northampton entertainment lawyer Frederick Fierst and his son, Daniel Fierst.

Both are in Los Angeles today for the red carpet premiere of the new “Conan the Barbarian” 3D movie. The elder Fierst, 63, is credited as an executive producer on the film for his role transferring the Conan franchise to new owners. The film opens worldwide Aug. 19.

California-based Paradox Entertainment Inc. acquired Conan and other intellectual property of author Robert E. Howard in 2003 for about $6 million, Fierst said.

Daniel Fierst, 28, worked for Paradox for three years as its president’s personal assistant. A 2002 Northampton High School graduate, he got to see the Conan reboot in its early stages, arranging meetings between Paradox and the relatively unknown production company that made the movie, Millennium Films.

“Everybody in Hollywood thought we were crazy for going with Millennium rather than one of the major studios,” Frederick Fierst said. “But we were convinced they were going to make the film instead of (sending it to) development hell.”

Paradox has been the licensing authority for other Conan commodities, including a comic book series and an online game, for years. But until 2007 all the Conan film rights belonged to Warner Brothers.

Fierst said the studio never followed through with a feature, and so when its claim lapsed, Paradox took it over.

The film is directed by Marcus Nispel, who is known for remakes of “Friday the 13th” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” as well as documentaries on musicians including Janet Jackson and George Michael.

In the title role is the heavy-browed Jason Momoa, who played another barbarian in the recent HBO miniseries “A Game of Thrones,” and also starred in the final season of “Baywatch.”

Daniel Fierst said Paradox wanted a “Conan” that was true to Howard’s stories from pulp magazines of the 1930s. He said the Conan played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in a 1982 film was a “hodgepodge bastardization,” borrowing a villain from a different Howard series, “Kull of Atlantis,” and making the hero a slave.

“That was outrageous to fanboys,” Daniel Fierst said. “They’d say Conan would die before he became a slave.”

Indeed, in a trailer for the new film, Momoa’s Conan says, “No man should live in chains.”

Frederick Fierst said Paradox went out of its way to make peace with Conan purists, donating to the fan-run Robert E. Howard Foundation. He said part of the new movie was screened at the group’s recent convention in Texas, and it was well received.

Last summer Frederick Fierst traveled to Bulgaria to see some of the filming. He said many of the special effects shots were done in a former Soviet propaganda studio, and there was also location shots around the country, including one in a gigantic cave where the movie’s climactic final scene takes place.

A partner at Fierst, Pucci & Kane on Gothic Street, Frederick Fierst formerly represented Mirage Studios, which sold the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise to Viacom in 2009 for $60 million. He said Nickelodeon is now developing a new Turtles animated series.

Acquiring the Howard universe involved a lot of trademark and copyright work, in which Fierst said he was helped by two associates at his firm, Amanda Schreyer and Hun Ohm, and paralegal Diane Kleber.

The New York Times has an interview with Stephen Lang about his career, touching upon his time as Khalar Zym in Conan, and with a quote from Marcus Nispel:

THE news that “Conan the Barbarian” was being screened for journalists in New York brought a mischievous grin from the ferocious warlord Khalar Zym, a k a Stephen Lang. “Do I own it?” he asked. “It’s an innocent question. I’d like to think I could do a romantic comedy, you know? But villains are a necessity. Without them, what’s your hero got?”

Mr. Lang is quick to joke. (“He’s so warm and inspiring and infectious,” he said of one director. “Not in a diseased way. In an enthusiasm way.”) But he combines charm with discipline. As Mr. Nispel put it,  “I wasn’t aware how extensive his theater background was, but doing ‘Conan’ is theatrical. It’s swords and sorcery, and even in the world of such theatrics there has to be an authenticity. You have to be able to deliver those kinds of lines and be believable. A lot of people just can’t.”

Inhabiting the author Robert Howard’s hallucinatory, hyperviolent world of Hyboria couldn’t have been further from Mr. Lang’s “White Irish Drinkers” character, an alcoholic laborer and his family’s own domestic terrorist.


Here’s an unexpected interview, a 26 minute(!) chat with Alina Puscau, who talks about her experiences, including (of course) Conan:

Anyway, the next batch of videos are interviews with TalkingPicturesTV. First off, Jason Momoa, where he talks about picking nude Bulgarian women, bringing Howard’s prose to screen, and keeping Conan’s humanity:

We also have an interview with Rachel Nichols (pictured above in a backless dress, undoubtedly a remarkable feat of engineering), and sadly, though this is her first sex scene in a film, we find she had stunt boobs (hand-picked by Jason Momoa himself), so all those who are nothing short of obsessed with seeing more of Rachel may be disappointed. Those concerned about spoilers should probably miss this one, though, since Rachel gives away the ending(!):

The rule of three dictates a final interview, and it’s with Rose McGowan:

In more general Robert E. Howard news, the creator of Conan got into 68th place in NPR’s Top 100 Science Fiction & Fantasy Novels list. Since these lists are inevitably popularity-based, I’m taking it as a great sign that Howard’s on the list at all, rather than worrying about placement. One can only hope that the new film will boost REH’s popularity, and that we’ll be seeing him talked about a lot more, and in favourable terms.