However the film has had a number of setbacks, mostly due to the Writers Guild strike (yes they’ve been working on it that long). Back in 2008 the film looked like it was finally on back on track as director Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, X-Men 3) was signed on to start production. The studio was so confident they even released a teaser poster into theaters (though they had not even started casting yet) with a hopeful 2009 release date tacked on. The film hit rough waters again in 2009 when Ratner left the production.
Things are now finally ready to go for this film. With a new director in Marcus Nispel (Pathfinder and the Friday the 13th remake) at the helm, filming is set to begin on March 15th in Bulgaria. Deadline Hollywood has reported that they have at last cast the titular character Conan, and guess what he was the star of your favorite show from 1999-2001: Baywatch Hawaii. That’s right Jason Momoa the former Baywatch guy, and more recently Stargate: Atlantis has been cast as Conan the Barbarian.
While I am excited at the prospect of finally seeing this movie, I confess myself disappointed in this choice of actor. He’s just not big enough. I know it sounds weird, but it’s true. Conan, in the original books and comics he is based off of, is a larger than life character. His massive strength is what sets him apart from all of the others in the land of Cimmeria. He was able to do things no other could, his muscles hardened from years of slave labor. No offense to Jason Momoa, but he doesn’t have that hard life look to him. I’m sure he can do well as an action hero, spouting off cool one-liners and generally saving the day, but it’s not going to feel like Conan. I can’t picture Jason Momoa ripping the horn off of any magical creatures.
I’m sure they are going to do some serious workouts for him (300 style) in order to buff him up, but I remain skeptical. Conan was one of my favorite childhood movies, and has left a very lasting impression in my mind. I want to see this remake, but I want to see it done well. The one good bit of casting news to come out has been the rumor of Mickey Rourke playing the role of Conan’s father. He would be perfect for the role. I’m sure in the weeks to come there will be more and more casting news coming down the pipeline. While there’s no word on a new release date, I wouldn’t be surprised to find this in the Summer 2011 schedule.