It's a month or so since the surprise announcement that Arnold Schwarzenegger would be returning to his first signature role for a very belated sequel to John Milius' Conan the Barbarian. Since that news broke there's been no further information, but the LA Times' Hero Complex blog has now caught up with producer and possible writer Chris Morgan to garner a little bit more more information on Legend Of Conan's intended tone and direction.
The initial announcement, you'll recall, played up the idea that this would be Conan's Unforgiven, picking up the Cimmerian's story much later in life, in the period when he's king of Aquilonia. Morgan says that was key to convincing Arnold to pick up the gauntlet again.
"To put yourself out there in your 60s? As Conan the Barbarian? I could see why he’d hesitate. You’re really putting yourself out there," Morgan says. But Schwarzenegger responded to the notion that Legend would be "not a reboot, not a remake. Just an update. Where has the character been all this time? It's a catch-up with Conan. He’s not going out and fighting battles, but he ends up getting drawn into something, and has to access the barbarian he was in his youth."
"I want the warrior whose joints have started to fuse together, who has to crack the cartilage so he can pick up a sword again," Morgan continues. "I want the guy who hasn't necessarily lost a step, but there’s some rust he has to shake off. I want to embrace that. It makes it a greater hero story.The greatest challenge to him isn’t the armies that are set before him. It’s, on some level, self-doubt, a little bit of slowing down and forcing yourself to be heroic beyond what people expect of you. What I don’t want is for him to step back in and look the same. That would defeat the purpose of our story.”
Legend Of Conan has its home at Universal, who are keen to fast-track it into cinemas for the summer of 2014. It's possible that schedule may scupper Morgan's plans to write it himself - he's the writer of the most recent four Fast & Furious movies, and has a contract to deliver Fast 7 before he gets going on anything else - but whatever happens, he insists that Legend will remain his project and his vision.
"No matter what, I’ll be there every step of the way,” he promises. “Whether it’s penning this quickly or selecting the writer, it’s me guiding the process and being a real honest-to-god producer. I’m excited either way. I’m really, really stoked."
Watch this space for further updates. The announcement of a director can't be far off...