Update: Variety has confirmed the story.
My former CHUD colleague Devin Faraci is reporting that Millennium / Nu Image have finalized the search for a Conan director, and the choice is Marcus Nispel, who headed up the re-dos of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th . Devin relies on an unnamed “impeccable source” but he isn’t one to run everything that drops into the inbox. You can treat this as rumor if you’d like until confirmation appears, but Devin’s faith in the source and the story are a good indicator that it is on the money. Is Nispel the right guy for the film?
Devin had previously reported that Nispel was in the running against Christoph Gans and Neil Marshall, the latter of whom seems like the best fit, but the least likely to tackle the job. The project from Nispel’s past that could most directly point the way to Conan, however, is the nearly unwatchable Pathfinder. The Karl Urban Viking movie had its moments, but overall didn’t add up to much. Let the arguments commence as to whether Nispel is a more reliable choice to head up the Cimmerian’s new tales than the formerly attached Brett Ratner.
Here’s what we know about the project so far: Outlander scribes Dirk Blackman and Howard McCain were hired to rework the original draft by Dean Donnelly an Joshua Oppenheimer. We don’t know much about the actual story, besides the fact that it’s been said to be dark, ‘badass’ and faithful to the original novels. Production has been slated to start in Bulgaria in late August of this year. CHUD’s source also claims that the idea is to cast an unknown as Conan, about which there’s not much to say. Filling the shoes of Schwarzenegger is going to be a difficult task, and that’s probably the best way to do it.
What do you think? Can Nispel be the right guy to take Conan into new territory?