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09/12/2010

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that he would not be emulating povuires screen Conans, and we are aware that Conan the Barbarian 3D goes back to Robert E. Howard‘s original material but how, apart from the story, will Conan the Barbarian 3D be different from the povuires screen versions?As Conan the Barbarian 3D goes back to Robert E. Howard’s original source material how, if at all, do povuires Conan films fit in with its universe?A large part of the povuires Conan the Barbarian‘s appeal to me was that Arnold Schwarzenegger seemed to embody many traits of the Conan character prior to starring in the film. What will Jason be bringing to the role and can he tell us a little about his history with Conan? And any parallels that he might be able to draw?Looking at Jason’s IMDB listing his resume is full of sci-fi and fantasy roles. Is this somewhere he feels very comfortable? And what draws him to these types of roles?What influences did Jason draw on to get him into the mindset of Conan?What does Jason feel a Conan film needs to be, to engage, captivate and excite audiences today?Jason is fairly sporty and certainly looks the part of Conan, so I was wandering what, if any, special training did he undergo to prepare himself for the physical side of the Conan role?A film like Conan the Barbarian 3D must be physically demanding to make. Did he sustain any injuries while filming?Has Jason seen Marcus Nispel’s povuires films (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, Pathfinder) what did he think of them? And what does Marcus Nispel brings to Conan the Barbarian 3D?Would he mind having an arm wrestle with me? I’m serious, who wouldn’t want to arm wrestle the mighty CONAN?What does Jason feel the rest of the cast brought to Conan the Barbarian 3D? And who did he bond with the most?Can Jason share any tales of on set shenanigans or pranks that were played while filming?Did Jason know that Conan was of of Atlantean descendent when he was considering the role of Conan? And if so does he feel a bond with the character?Without spoiling it, can Jason tell us his favourite scene or moment in Conan the Barbarian 3D. And which he enjoyed filming the most?The bulk of my questions are enablers to allow some context to be set as well as hopefully spark some discussion that offers up gold nuggets of insight into both Jason and what to expect from the upcoming Conan the Barbarian. If you think you detect a subtle under current of caution with regards to Conan the Barbarian in my questions. You would be right. I am entirely convinced as yet that the new Conan may be the greatest thing since something that I really like and revolutionised things for me. But I’m optimistic and hoping to be blown away come August 24, 2011.Whether Jason actually answers any of my questions remains to be seen. Many other bloggers and fans submitted questions. So no doubt all questions will be grouped, doubles removed, vetted, prioritised and vetted again till Jason has 20 decent semi intelligent questions to answer.I had assumed that the evening may follow a similar format to An evening with Dolph Lundgren held last December. And although it was incredible evening listening to an erudite and clever child hood hero of mine answering questions and chatting it did feel slightly impersonal.So there was the possibility that the evening might be a hosted QA wherein Jason answers 20 questions put forward. In fact this is lifted out of an email to Live For Film’s Editor Phil on the way to the event “Hopefully it will be a little more personal than the Dolph thing a while back”. At the time I had no idea what was ahead.So I arrive at the rather spiffy Haymarket Hotel and I’m directed to The Shooting Gallery, a large hall like event room. As I walk into the Shooting Gallery I immediately come face to chest with a large Conan standee. It’s the same image as the motion poster released a while back of Conan standing on a pile of skulls.This is based on possibly the most iconic Conan image “Conan The Barbarian” (1966) from comic illustrator turned legendary fantasy artist Frank Frazetta. Which is a nice homage as Frazetta passed away about a year ago. The image was created for Conan the Adventurer the first in a successful series of Conan novels published from 1966, a year after author Robert E. Howard passed away. Fans still maintain that Conan’s success came squarely down to the imagery conveyed in Frazetta’s cover. Such is the raw power of the imagery that it was used in early promotions for Milius’ Conan The Barbarian.As I arrived right on time – the room is still slowly filling up. The Shooting Gallery is very tastefully decorated in a minimalistic hunting theme, which all makes sense. I feel at home, as there are, what I assume African pieces as well as English hunting style sculptures. There is also a well stocked bar at the end of the room and scattered around the room on various tables anthologies of Robert E Howard’s Conan short stories.As I’m alone I immediately start making friends with some of the other people in the room (do not be alarmed this is quite normal in other countries) – who show me the new Conan The Barbarian poster (which is suitably badass and looks to be based on Frank Frazetta’s 1971 Conan The Destroyer), thankfully the event organisers find me as well as some familiar faces I know turn up. Eventually the online people are grouped together and we are all suitably geeky so I make some new friends.It turns out that Lionsgate are true to their word, this really is an evening of ****tails and meeting the new Conan Jason Momoa. Jason will be arriving shortly, meeting groups of people and having an informal chat. I’m immediately blown away by this. This is incredible I am actually quite possibly going to meet CONAN! Lionsgate really have delivered in aces this time and pulled something spectacular together.As we discuss the merits of George Lucas’ 3 Star Wars films. Greedo shooting first, the brilliance of John Millius’ Conan, how bad the sequel was, latest releases, best new films out, The Hunger Games, Dredd, Karl Urban, Pathfinder, Marcus Nispel, Friday the 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Stathamthon, Jason Momoa, Robert E Howard’s Conan, Solomon Kane, the marketing materials for the Conan so far. As well as just enjoying the moment brought on by the anticipation of the evenings events. You know as film geeks do.Eventually Jason Momoa arrives, we know he arrived because his 6’4 frame towers above almost everyone in the room, he is wearing a distinctive bowler hat and most of the ladies seem to have migrated in the same direction at the same time. The buzz in the room reaches near fever pitch, seriously I had thought the room must have been packed to capacity and then some but checking my photos afterwards it was actually fairly intimate and exclusive gathering.Jason makes his way around the room chaperoned between parties and groups and manages to pick up a really cool, black leather-bound hardcover edition of Robert E. Howard’s The Complete Chronicles Of Conan on the way. I have to say while Jason made his way around the room it was clear that he was taking care of the book and felt some bond with it.Eventually we are presented to Jason and I greet him with by throwing horns and a loud Yeaaaa!! (This bit was in my head). Hells yea! I’m meeting Conan.Thankfully he doesn’t leave me hanging and Yea’s me back with a big smile. We are introduced to him, he has firm handshake with no hint of having to compensate by trying to crush my hand. We chat for about 5 minutes during which it becomes apparent that Jason is energetic, earthy and overall a warm happy person, very un-like the blunt and brutal savage that he will hopefully be portraying in Conan the Barbarian.Physically he is big, but a fit and toned panther like big not a balloon muscle big. Despite his impossibly broad shoulders he moves with ease and is obviously very in touch and comfortable with his physicality, as one would expect. Dark intense eyes peer from underneath the brim of his bowler and long dark hair. On the right side of his face is a barely noticeable scar that he picked up (in my understanding a very one sided) bar fight a couple of years ago.On his left fore arm is a very visible and large bracelet like tattoo made up of triangles that wraps around his entire forearm, this signifies his family’s Aumakua, Hawaiian spirit protector, the shark, the triangles are symbolic of shark’s teeth. On the underside of his right forearm is a relatively more subtle tattoo that looks like a dotted line running up the back of his arm. And he is wearing a thin thread on his wrist.His voice is full of life and varies instantly from low, slow thoughtful and raspy to contagiously raucous enthusiasm with a slight twang that I can’t quite place, possibly L.A? Hawaii? Canada?As my photos would later reveal he can also switch from merriment and smiles to instant bad ass. If you look at the photo at the top of the page -a0we were joking around and laughing. Click the photo is taken and we carry on chatting at no point did I get hint of the Conan like face he was pulling. It’s the same Conan face from one of the earlier released official set photos. Which I assumed was mostly film makeup. No it’s all him.During our chat with Jason we discussed various subjects, unfortunately not in any great depth as we have limited time with him and this was a fairly casual conversation. During our chat we found out that- Jason landed the role of Conan as when he auditioned for the role of Khal Drogo the savage king in Game of Thrones, by chance the Casting Director was also casting for Conan the Barbarian and after going off to do Game of Thrones he tested for Conan and bada bing bada boom here he is.- With his Conan role being so physical demanding he trained by pulling cows and did lots of weights. He also went to special training boot camps as well as undertook samurai training to hone his sword skills. And he feels pretty Kick ass – so we can expect some bad ass sword fights. He did mention that if he a sword of some sort, pretty much all our heads would be off. Again he was joking (I think).Earlier today I had a look around some of his earlier Stargate Atlantis stuff (which I haven’t watched at all) and too be honest it looks like Jason can handle himself very well in both the hand to hand as well as sword fight stakes. So I’m unsure of exactly how much additional training he may have actually needed.Then I asked, not what is best in life but,a0Jason, what is The Riddle of Steel?Jason Momoa: “The Riddle of Steel? I don’t know that. But not a lot of people know this, and no offense to the Arnold films but I haven’t seen them. I know everyone is like WTF when I say that.I was about 2 years old when the first one came out and it wasn’t really childhood viewing. Also I was a bit complicated, to this day I don’t have a cell phone, I don’t have a computer, I don’t have e-mail, I don’t have a TV. But I love to read. It’s barbaric but it’s easy for me to move around that way.Also growing up both my parents were artists so I loved painting, I grew up with Frank Frazetta’s Conan paintings and I love those paintings but I didn’t see the movies.”OK! I assumed that The Riddle of Steel was an integral part of Robert E. Howard‘s Conan. But after digging around it turns out The Riddle of Steel was never actually mentioned in the books at all.The fact that Jason knew that The Riddle of Steel was only created for the povuires films and not part of Howard’s Conan mythos. Tells me he knows a fair amount about the source material. But more importantly I really didn’t expect his answer. At best I expected Jason to say something like I’ve studied the films and blah, blah, blah …. and at the very least I thought some sort of appeasing hat tip to the povuires films would be made.But with his answer Jason Momoa let me know that he was his own person and that the povuires Conans may have had their place but with respect – this is his Conan. His uncompromising take on the issue did go some of the way to clearing some of the doubts that I had about the new Conan.Through the remainder of the evening and today I mulled this over and too be honest I am immensely impressed with Jason’s take on the whole thing. By the end of the evening this one answer had pretty much moved me from being fairly suspicious of Conan the Barbarian to actually having my first tingles of – hey Conan the Barbarian might actually be a damn seriously bad ass film. By the time I am writing this I’ll be seeing Conan for one reason and one reason alone to see Jason Momoa’s Conan kick ass. On the negative side of this my expectations are moving into that place that where the disappointment dragons lurk and I have now watched bot the teaser as well as the trailer in excitement.By the way the answer to The Riddle of Steel is that: Flesh is stronger than steel.Then I made a huge mistake and asked him:Have you seen the new Conan poster yet?Jason Momoa: “No, no yet. They haven’t shown me anything yet.”Bad move on my part as, at this point I drop out of the conversation while I frantically search the internet on my phone for a decent version of the poster, only to find more after the jumps… and cut off versions. Eventually I decide I would rather chat with Conan than pour over the pic on my too small to do the poster justice phone. Still would have been cool.Then I ask:What are going to be bringing to Conan?Jason Momoa: “This, all of this”.Now reading that off the page is not going to have the same effect as a muscular 6’4 guy raising himself to his entire length, flexing his muscles in a menacing pose while he locks eyes with you and booms “THIS, ALL OF THIS”.And then just as quickly he cracks a smile and we all start laughing. With that we say our good byes, pleased to meet yous and Jason is dragged off to meet more people. However a little later on I managed to catch up with and ask if we could have a quick arm wrestle, which he is happy to do.Only when looking at the picture afterwards did I see the expression on his face. Up until that point I had assumed that this look, the same menacing look that he has in the official photo released a little while back was Jason caked in film makeup to make him look more Conan like. No! That’s all himOh! Who won? I hear you say. Let’s just call it a draw till we meet again. And with that he was off into the crowd mingling with othersJason Momoa left me with the reinforced picture I had of him, that he is an energetic, earthy zen like guy very in touch with the spiritual side of things. He also impressed me by coming across as his own person without having to be arrogant or with faux humility and most of all left me in no doubt that he is going to be one great Conan the Barbarian.I’m hoping that before Conan is unleashed onto screens this August that Lionsgate adopt some very brash and confident marketing in line with the 1966 tagline used to sell Conan books. The one where it is promised that Conan is “A hero mightier than Tarzan with adventures more imaginative than “Lord of the Rings“!Conan The Barbarian will be released in the UK on 24 August, 2011

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from Sean Hood, who’s answered a quitseon on Quora regarding the R-Rated nature of the upcoming Conan the Barbarian:How graphic is the sex and violence in Conan the Barbarian?It seems that many fans are worried about it being a soft PG-13.As a screenwriter on Conan The Barbarian, I get asked this quitseon a lot.The world of Hyboria, as Robert E. Howard described it, is fleshy and brutal. Bloody beheadings and bare-chested slave girls abound. However, while the movie is unflinching in its depiction of barbarism, slavery and warfare, the violence and nudity emerge from the fabric of the story. It isn’t gratuitous.Robert E. Howarde2€™s stories, although violent and perverse for their time, were not intrusively graphic either. So this is ultimately a movie about the character Conan, a character that will hopefully launch a healthy franchise of movies with stories and characters that celebrate Howarde2€™s work. Yes, youe2€™ll see blood and boobs, but this isne2€™t a Cinemax movie; it’s epic action/fantasy.And yes, it’s rated R.(His bold, not mine)Hopefully the persistent rumours of a PG-13 Conan will be put to rest now, at least until we have irrefutable evidence with an MPAA rating.Sean’s also left a few other morsels on Quora, regarding the film’s relationship with the current comics series:Does the upcoming movie Conan the Barbarian follow the comic books stories?The new movie (I was one of the screenwriters) takes its inspiration directly from Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan. Although we did not adapt a specific story, we looked at tales such as “Red Nails” and “Queen of The Black Coast” for style, tone, and character.The movie does not follow the Marvel comic books, and it has only a superficial similarity to the Arnold film. It is not a “remake” of the first Conan The Barbarian.On the relationship to the Dark Horse comics:Actually, there will be an Dark Horse comic book series that will follow the film’s plot, and some spin offs based on other characters in the film (so I’m told.)I’d still say that for inspiration the writers looked at the original REH stories, and that for visual inspiration, the director looked at artwork by Frazetta.“Inspiration” is the best word for it, of course, since the upcoming Conan the Barbarian obviously contradicts Dark Horse’s own Born on the Battlefield and Cimmeria story arcs, what with Conan’s parents still being alive past Conan’s childhood and his village still being around and all. I really wonder if Dark Horse are going to reconcile The Mask of Acheron with its existing storyline, or just treat them as stand-alones.Sean also discusses :Who are the stars in this summer’s film Conan the Barbarian?I’d add Leo Howard, who plays Conan as a boy, to the list. He is an extremely intense and physical kid e2€“ he makes one badass boy barbarian, and I think fans are going to love his performance.Having worked with Jason Mamoa on the set of the movie, I can say that he is a true athlete who handles a sword convincingly, speaks with both gravity and humor, and embodies the barbarian better than anyone I have ever seen. (In my opinion, Arnold was a stiff and awkward bodybuilder who could do little more than pose, becoming unintentionally hilarious when he tried to move or speak.)Jason is much closer to Robert E. Howarde2€™s description of a e2€œa born fighting man with a catlike speed that blurred the sight which tried to follow him.e2€ In Mamoa, fans will recognize, not the older graver King Conan, but Conan as a young man who is just beginning a life filled with e2€œred meat and stinging winee2€a6the hot embrace of white arms, and the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson.e2€I mean, Mamoa’s natural voice and presence is just so convincingly barbaric, right down to the real scar down his eyebrow. He walks into a restaurant and you say to yourself, “Holly s***… that’s Conan!”Lastly, there are some memorable performances from Sac3afd Taghmaoui and Nonso Anozie in supporting roles.

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