Exclusive: Brett Ratner Off Conan?

Director has timing conflicts

Empire magazine spoke to Conan and Red Sonja producer Joe Gatta today, and he had a few revelations to share about the upcoming films. Most importantly, it appears that Brett Ratner is currently off Conan, which he was expected to direct.

"We’re currently in the process of hiring a director," he told us. "For the past six months we were discussing the movie with Brett Ratner, and for more timing issues than anything else we had to part ways with Brett. We all wanted him to do it, believe me; just the timing didn’t work. But you never know what can happen."

That last comment would appear to leave the door open for a return for Ratner, should his schedule free up (he's currently got about 12 films on his To Do list) but for the moment he's off the project. Still, that hasn't dented Gatta's determination.

"We have a potential start-date on Conan of August 24. And we’ll be shooting in Bulgaria. I would say though the emphasis is on Conan [rather than Red Sonja]. It’s our crown jewel here at the company and that will be the leader. Red Sonja probably won’t happen until next year, as far as making it goes. So we want to launch Conan and reinvent the franchise."

As for the hiring of Conan himself, you might want to start pumping some serious iron: Gatta says that, "We’ll have an open casting call: as soon as we hire our director the search is on."

With luck, between Conan and Red Sonja, this could be a brave new dawn for the horny-helmet genre, restoring it to its rightful place at the top of the movie pantheon, crushing its enemies, seeing them driven before it and hearing the lamentations of their women.

For more revelations about Conan and Red Sonja, pick up the next issue of Empire, on sale May 28.