“There’s nothing tongue-in-cheek about it at all,” Stephen Lang told us about the “Conan the Barbarian” reboot in which he co-stars. His point was that even unapologetic fans of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s over-the-top films have to admit that, by the time Hall of Fame center Wilt Chamberlain popped up in 1984’s “Conan the Destroyer,” the franchise had veered from campily charming to just plain silly.
With Jason Momoa slipping into the title role, Lang promised, this new “Conan” would have more in common with Robert E. Howard’s swashbuckling original stories than the Governator’s movies. That’s certainly the impression we’ve received from early photos and a teaser trailer, and that’s exactly what Momoa himself told us when MTV News caught up with him recently. In fact, the 31-year-old hasn’t even seen those earlier films.
“I’ve never played a role that was played by someone else,” he said. “As an actor, to build the character, I wanted to use my imagination and be creative and use my own interpretation.”
Thus, Momoa dove into Howard’s source material, “Conan” comic books, and the lush artwork of Frank Frazetta. “Both my parents were painters,” Momoa said. “You look at those paintings, and you don’t need to read a story. You just know that dude is bad.”
The flick is set to hit theaters August 19, and as part of MTV News’ Summer Movie Preview, we’re not only rolling out an exclusive photo of Momoa in character, but had the actor lay out what we can expect to see up onscreen.
“It kind of is an origin story,” he said. “It’s rebuilding and rebooting the franchise. It starts with his birth, what happened to his family, what happened to his father — obviously his father is killed — and him going into the pirating and the thieving and wandering and being the degenerate that he is and then usurping a throne and finding out who killed his father. It’s a revenge story, with a little bit of love in there.”
And while Momoa hasn’t “actually seen the Arnold stuff,” as he put it, he can’t wait to finally check it out. “I want to see mine and then I’m going to watch that one — back to back!” he laughed.
It’s Summer Movie Preview Week, and MTV News will be bringing you exclusive interviews, clips and photos for the most anticipated films of the coming months. Get ready to gorge on inside looks at “Captain America,” “The Hangover Part II,” “X-Men: First Class,” “Cowboys & Aliens” and more.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Conan the Barbarian.”
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