She's one of the most kick-ass comic heroines ever created: a sword-wielding, horse-riding, bow-carrying (not to mention bikini-wearing) female warrior of epic proportions.
So when talk turned to "Red Sonja," the new Robert Rodriguez joint starring Rose McGowan, everybody just had to talk about her wardrobe. Her fighting styles. Her striking red hair. Her ... vulnerability?"Yes, it goes to the action, fighting for your life, fighting for freedom, blah, blah, blah," McGowan said at Comic-Con in San Diego. "But the fact that it's somebody who is vulnerable who tries to stuff that down - I think she's like many people in life, somebody who's kind of gotten hammered, not doing so well and has to kind of rise up."
"To me, she stands for a victim that rises from the ashes and becomes a hero," writer David White added. "She represents a true hero, someone who faces adversity, struggles with that and ultimately is assisted by other means as well. I love the vulnerability, the courage that she has to ultimately become the hero."
Created by Roy Thomas for the "Conan" comic series, Red Sonja quickly became nearly as famous as her more tenured male counterpart, with a varied history rich in detail and mythology. Expect much of that history to find its way into the movie, director Douglas Aarniokoski revealed, hinting that it would follow a similar path as the origins revealed in Dynamite issues 8 through 12.
"It's a really great origin tale," said Rodriguez, who is acting as producer. "Rose responded to it; I was surprised. She brought this home. I thought, 'I used to read these when I was 12 or 13.' I read it, and I could see why she wanted to do it. I got to show her all my old comic books. This is some great mythology, and that's everlasting."
Mysterious as it may be, Aarniokoski stressed that the movie was designed for people who may have never heard of the character - which makes most of us, frankly.
"We're trying to do what Chris Nolan did with Batman, and that's [to] take an established story and an established character and reinvent it," he said. "You didn't have to see the other 'Batman' [movies] to appreciate it. You didn't have to read the comics to appreciate it."
Of course, it won't be just like the "Batman" films - not with Aarniokoski and Rodriguez behind the production.
"I like to go for different new looks. Certainly we'll have something people haven't seen before, blending the painterly world and the art of some fantasy artists to create this other age," Rodriguez said, pointing to the "Red Sonja" poster, which he said was indicative of the film's overall style.
"The way that the reds pop," Aarniokoski added, before looking at the giant pile of skulls on which Red Sonja sits. "It's going to be very gritty, very violent. It's going to be a hard R. This is not your mother's Red Sonja."
Depending on how "Red Sonja" is received, McGowan, Rodriguez and Aarniokoski are all looking forward to a sequel, they said. The movie is expected to be released near the end of 2009.
Check out everything we've got on "Red Sonja."
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