Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Barbarians At The Gate: Ratner Takes On "Conan"...

Click images to enlarge...

"Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet...

Director Brett "X-Men 3" Ratner is in final negotiations to direct "Conan", based on a screenplay by writers Joshua Oppenheimer and Thomas Dean Donnelly, adapting Conan author Robert E. Howard's Weird Tales pulp mag stories of the 1930's, featuring the barbarian character.

Joe Gatta and Avi Lerner of Millennium Films will produce the film with Paradox Entertainment president/CEO Fredrik Malmberg.

Millennium and Lionsgate are eyeing a potential franchise and R-rating for the violent, sexual feature, budgeted in the $85 million budget range, with preproduction underway for a shoot at Nu Image's Nu Boyana Studio in Bulgaria.

"The story opens on the battlefield where Conan is born and tells the origin story that sets the stage for what will be the first of multiple films," said Lerner.

'Conan the Cimmerian' is often associated with the fantasy subgenre 'sword-and-sorcery, created by Howard in 1932. The character has since appeared in licensed books, comics, films, television programs and video games.

'Conan the Barbarian' is also the name of a Gnome Press collection of stories published in 1954, comics published by Marvel and Dark Horse, feature films and a TV series.

Currently available is the best-seller "Conan: The Phenomenon", lavishly illustrated by artist Frank Frazetta.

"I much prefer illustrating the tales of Robert E. Howard," said Frazetta.

"They are much stronger in mood and narration than those of Burroughs and allow a wider range of illustrative interpretations. As St. John is remembered for Edgar Rice Burroughs and Tarzan, I would like to be remembered for REH and Conan...I feel a certain sense of loss that Howard isn't alive to appreciate what I've done with Conan...."

Nu Image/Millennium Films and Lionsgate previously partnered on "Rambo", co-released by Lionsgate January 25th, 2008.

"This is a character unlike any other in the action/adventure canon, with an unlimited potential for stories that are exciting and different," said Lionsgate.