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SECRET IDENTITY: A 'Conan' Casting Call!

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SECRET IDENTITY: A 'Conan' Casting Call!

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:45 pm

A recent casting call for the upcoming "Conan" film described the titular Cimmerian as "very smart, almost inhumanly strong, and very cunning." Essentially, we're talking about the perfect human being.

Casting Conan isn't easy, and not just because the description is so specifically tailored for a god-like actor. The widely adored character also comes in different shapes and sizes, from the Arnold Schwarzenegger-styled muscle man to the more agile but still powerful warrior featured early in Kurt Busiek's comic book series for Dark Horse.

On either end of that spectrum, whoever is chosen to play Conan must be a capable actor. Finding a bodybuilder that can slay dialogue as easily as he slays his enemies is not an enviable task.

The most obvious solution is to recruit an undiscovered actor, but I think there are a few hidden gems already known in Hollywood that could pull off Conan—although, I'll admit, each choice comes with baggage. Here are five actors that I would happily see take on the role, despite some potential drawbacks.


Why He Works: Durand, perhaps best known as the Blob in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" and as the vicious Keamy on "Lost," has an excellent physique for Conan—not overly muscular, but certainly not scrawny. He's also got the hardened warrior's attitude down pat, which is an essential quality for the character.

Why He Doesn't: I'm not sure that Durand has ever played a sympathetic character. Sure, Conan isn't going to break down and cry every ten minutes, but if the audience can't relate to Conan, how can we root for him? If Durand can overcome that problem, he could be a solid fit.


Why He Works: Fassbender has already exhibited the cunning and intelligence that the casting call describes in his role in "Inglourious Basterds." And while not inhumanly strong, Fassbender's turn as Stelios in "300" proved the actor's ability to hold his own on the battlefield.

Why He Doesn't: The obvious problem is Fassbender's lean physique, but that could be overcome by intensive body building during pre-production. Still, with "Conan" set to lens in February, he'd need to start getting into barbarian shape right around... well, last month.


Why He Works: Stevenson seems like a no brainer — he's juggled the intelligent, cunning and super-strong routine on "Rome," the HBO period piece in which he played a seasoned warrior with an aversion to authority—but while he's perfect for a version of Conan, it might not be the one that producers are looking for.

Why He Doesn't: The casting call describes Conan as between his mid 20s and early 30s, which seemingly disqualifies the actor right away. If "Conan" focused on an older version of the character, then Stevenson would be perfectly suited for the role. As it stands, it's an unlikely pick at best.


Why He Works: When "Clash of the Titans" hits theaters, we'll know for sure just how well Worthington works in a fantasy setting. For now, we can look back at "Terminator Salvation" and, in December, James Cameron's "Avatar." From what I've already seen of him, I think that he's got the right combination of grit, humor and physicality that Conan needs.

Why He Doesn't: Many considered Worthington as one of very few highlights in "Terminator Salvation," and his reputation could be damaged further if his other upcoming projects are poorly received, no matter how good of a performance he delivers. Since Conan needs to be cast in time for February, there's really no way to know how well he can carry a film until it's potentially too late.


Why He Works: Penikett has already mastered the surviving-the-odds routine as Helo on "Battlestar Galactica," and it doesn't hurt that he has a solid build for the barbarian warrior just like Durand. Most importantly, Penikett can act a wide range of moods from sarcastic to genuinely pissed off, which I think is a crucial ability for the role.

Why He Doesn't: Between "Battlestar" and Joss Whedon's "Dollhouse," Penikett's face is a prominent fixture in genre television — so prominent that I wonder if he's already too firmly established to take on another franchise role as Conan.


Ultimately, I'd gladly watch any of the above five actors take the lead in "Conan." In the end, however, I think the "Conan" producers will go for an entirely unknown quantity—which, depending on the pick, could end wonderfully or disastrously.

Who do you think should play Conan? Should it go to one of these actors, an unmentioned actor or perhaps an undiscovered talent? Let us know your picks in the comments section or on Twitter!

Thanks to Ciuinase

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Re: SECRET IDENTITY: A 'Conan' Casting Call!

Post by Admin on Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:08 am

I'm of the side that Michael can do anything he wants.

It's interesting to see that he's regarded as "cunning and intelligence" And his role in 300 has been lauded "proved the actor's ability to hold his own on the battlefield".

I would love to see those strong pecs again. Been having some interesting dreams about them...

I can't see him as big as Gerry was in 300, though. Or maybe I don't want to.

I'm sure Michael can do something else.

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