Lionsgate's new Conan starts shooting next February in Bulgaria, with Marcus Nispel (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Pathfinder) behind the camera. Moviehole have got their hands on the casting breakdowns, which obviously give a good idea of the characters, and some indication of the plot (beware spoilers). Deep breath. Let us tell you of the days of high adventure.
For the leads we have, obviously, Conan himself, 20s-30s, Caucasian, the last of the Cimmerians, out for vengeance on Khalar Singh, a formidable warlord and warrior in his 40s or 50s, for whom the producers are "open to all ethnicities". Singh is looking for Queen Ilira, whose blood will help him raise a demon army. Ilira's handmaiden is Tamara, who allies with Conan in what sounds like a Red Sonja hot amazon role. And there's Ukafa, Singh's untrustworthy henchman for whom a massive African or African American is required.
There are also supporting roles for Conan's dad Corin, who teaches his son the Riddle of Steel; Fariq, Khalar Singh's son and heir, rather worryingly described as a "proto goth-rocker" (what?!); Remo the evil wizard; Fassir, a monk protecting Ilira (badly, it seems); Lucius, a mercenary scarred by Conan dumping him into a fiery pit; an unnamed one-eyed thief Conan rescues from Lucius; Artus, Conan's pirate buddy; and Cheren, Khalar Singh's mystical blind archer. A few others are listed, but as they're specified as neither leads or supports, we're guessing they're bit-parts.
Not among the cast, but mentioned as a worry for Khalar Singh and the reason he wants to raise a demon army in the first place, is evil arch-wizard Thoth-Amon, who only appears in one original Robert E Howard Conan story, but is mentioned in a couple of others, and in The Haunter of the Ring, a non-Conan story that forms part of HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos. He's played by Pat Roach in Conan the Destroyer, but as written by Howard he bears more resemblance to James Earl Jones' Thulsa Doom from Conan the Barbarian.
So is that a set-up for future films? Will the shadow of Thoth-Amon continue to haunt Conan through more instalments, before the Cimmerian finally rests the jewelled crown of Aquilonia upon his troubled brow? More news as we get it.