Friday, January 22, 2010

More Conan Casting News

Mickey Rourke has apparently been cast as Conan's father. I don't have much to say about Rourke, but I will add that the presence of Conan's father in the film doesn't make me happy, because it implies that, once again, Hollywood is demands an "origin story" for a character who, frankly, doesn't require one. I think we know more about Conan's grandfather than we do about Conan's father, who, so far as I know, is never mentioned in the Howardian corpus (someone can correct me if I am mistaken). That means Rourke is portraying a wholly (largely?) invented character, one I just don't see the need for, but then what do I know about making schlock movies?

11 comments:

  1. "'I have no royal blood,' ground Conan. 'I am a barbarian and the son of a blacksmith.'" -- from "The Hour of the Dragon", Chapter III.

    Technically, of course, his mother might have been the blacksmith he mentioned, but I think we can discount that possibility.

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  2. "'I have no royal blood,' ground Conan. 'I am a barbarian and the son of a blacksmith.'" -- from "The Hour of the Dragon", Chapter III.

    I stand corrected. Thanks for reminding me of that line of dialog.

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  3. Hey James, just out of interest, did you come to know Conan through the books or the comics first?

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  4. Hey James, just out of interest, did you come to know Conan through the books or the comics first?

    The books. I never read a Conan comic, I don't think, until a couple of years ago.

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  5. >Hollywood is demands an "origin story" for a character who, frankly, doesn't require one.

    Exactly. It shouldn't be a weepy revenge tale.

    The Conan film in my head would begin with the teenage thief struggling to survive in civilization, and dissolve to the warrior/corsair surviving by guile and violence.

    After reading Bran Mak Morn, Kull, and Conan, Howard's common theme seem to be that civilization is doomed to weaken from decadence and collapse. It is the the less corrupt "barbarians" characters save civilization from itself.

    It is a depression era theme, but in this economy, I think it still works.

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  6. I am reading through the various Howard Conan stories right now, and I find Howard's Conan much more interesting than any of the other representations. I must note, however, that the little poetic verses he puts at the beginning of every story use the exact same rhyme pattern. It's getting a little old.

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  7. Doesn't really surprise me. After all, Hollywood screenwriters are more likely to consider previous movies and televison to be much more "canon" than the original sources. And from their perspective (a greater familiarity to a greater number of people), they may actually have a point. Not a very good or satisfying one, but a point.

    Besides origin stories are the "in-thing" at the moment. <sigh>

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  8. No surprise, It was clear that the new movie will be inspired to Milius' Conan (based on comics and with very slightly relation with RE Howard stories).
    I would like a new story (imho a "red nails" based fantasy/horror movie could be great)... but at least I hope they will keep the "Hyborean Age" feeling as the first movie.

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  9. Mickey Rourke is a great actor, he had spookiness to him, especially in the early days, before plastic surgery. I'd love to see what he would bring to the fantasy genre, considering that Viggo Mortensen played exactly the same damn character in Gi Jane and LOTR, his Aragorn was basically a Navy SEAL with swords, let's see what Rourke will do!

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  10. "Aragorn was basically a Navy SEAL with swords,"

    Quite simply, a bizarre comparison!

    Perhaps we should all wait and see how the films turn out. If Hollywood portrays a more intelligent Conan, it's a win in my book, i.e. a step in the right direction.

    On reflection, lowering expectations in this way actually will work in the film's favour... if it turns out to be quite good, everyone will be pleasantly surprised.

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  11. RK, watch GI Jane and LOTR back to back. In both films Mortensen plays this withdrawn loner, supremely competent leading the others. In both he either quotes poetry about the sea or sings something in Elven. Basically the same type individual. Tolkien's Aragorn is far more humble, so it's not Tolkien, it's Mortensen's interpretation of the role.

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