I thought that the entertainment being provided by the two candidates for the office of U.S. President this past month couldn’t be topped. Just when I thought I couldn’t laugh any harder than I did during the three debates, when neither candidate even tried to give a straight answer to a single question, and instead used their time to attack each other—just when I thought the hilarious statements coming out of both campaigns couldn’t be overshadowed, comes an announcement from Hollywood that tops all of that.
Paradox Entertainment announced last week it has signed Arnold Schwarzenegger to reprise his role as Conan the Barbarian. You read that right. Ahnold “will be back” but not as the Terminator or the Governator, but as Conan, the fictional character created by pulp fiction writer Robert E. Howard.
Ahnold played the role back in the 80’s in “Conan the Barbarian.” a film directed by John Milius. It wasn’t a bad film, in spite of the Schwarz’s rather oafish performance. It’s merits can be argued, but one thing it did for sure was create in the minds of millions of moviegoers an image of the character that will probably be permanent. In the mind’s of some Robert E. Howard fans, however, that’s not such a good thing. The Arnold Conan is not exactly the character than Howard created. Because of the Schwarz, Conan is generally thought of by movie fans as a long-haired, muscle-bound hippie who looks like a fugitive from Woodstock, and carries a sword instead of a Stratocaster. Conan as Robert E. Howard wrote him wasn’t really like that. He was more like Tarzan with an Anger Management problem. The sight of a magician or sorcerer drove him into a psychotic rage.
Nevertheless the new Conan filmed, to be called “The Legend of Conan” (funny I thought the Lone Ranger had that title sewn up), will feature the Schwarz as Conan in his sixties. They’ll be shooting a lot in the snow and the dark so you can’t see his body, some sources indicate.
I realize Schwarzenegger will make a ton of money for making this movie. But I can’t help feeling that part of the reason Ahnold wants to play the part again is that he has always had a rivalry going with Sylvester Stallone. Sly brought back Rambo and Rocky as sixty-year olds, so maybe the Schwarz wants to try to top him with a big Conan hit. It sounds like a terrible idea. Most ideas out of Hollywood are.
But maybe this is the start of a new trend. First Stallone, now Ahnold. Who’s next? There used to be a TV psychic named Criswell who made crazy predictions on LA television. If he were alive today I can almost hear him now, announcing these future forecasts:
Clint Eastwood will stop talking to empty chairs and do another Dirty Harry sequel. It will be called “Depends: The Full Magnum Load.”
Tanya Roberts will star in “Sheena Gets a Face Lift.”
Ron Ely comes out of retirement to do “Tarzan Finds a Chiropractor.”
Edd Byrnes from 77 Sunset Strip will make “Kookie Lend Me Your Support Hose.”
Mike Connors will be cast in a reality TV series called “Mannix Depression.”
The possibilities are frightening.