EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has taken a step forward on the reboot of The Legend Of Conan, which will bring Arnold Schwarzenegger back as the brawny king. The studio has closed a deal with Andrea Berloff to write the script. Best known for scripting World Trade Center, Berloff most recently adapted the French action film Sleepless Night for Warner Bros. She also wrote Straight Outta Compton for New Line and is writing a retelling of the King Arthur myth for Disney.
The franchise got a fresh start last October, when Universal and Schwarzenegger got involved, largely because of the passion of Chris Morgan, the scribe/producer who has minted money at the studio writing Fast & The Furious films. He was the one who decided to draw a parallel right back to the original raw, violent Conan films, which ended with the image of the barbarian king sitting atop his throne. The new film is about his efforts to stay there and the final cycle of a life spent obliterating anyone who got in his way. The Legend Of Conan is being produced by Fredrik Malmberg through Paradox Entertainment and Morgan & Emile Gladstone through their Chris Morgan Productions banner. Paradox owns the rights to the Robert E. Howard series, and we’re going to have to give them a mulligan on that ill-advised movie done with Jason Momoa. They are going back to Schwarzenegger, whose career as Hollywood’s top action star was launched by the 1982 Conan The Barbarian, which John Milius directed from a visceral script he wrote with Oliver Stone. That film hatched a 20-minute live action stage show at Universal Studios Hollywood that ran for a decade, and clearly the hope is to re-brand a movie franchise with all the ancillaries that come with success. It’s a big step for Schwarzenegger, who hasn’t exactly crushed it in his attempts so far to reestablish himself as an A-lister after leaving office as the governor of California. Reprises in Conan and The Terminator are his best hopes to get the action mojo back.
“We’re thrilled to be working with Chris and his creative team and to see Arnold Schwarzenegger return in the role that started his career,” said Malmberg. Morgan called Berloff “an amazing writer who can juggle masculine grittiness with extreme emotional depth. Her take on Conan is powerful and genuine and would make Robert E. Howard proud.” Uni co-president of production Jeff Kirschenbaum
Berloff is repped by CAA, Management 360 and attorney Rob Goldman.