Brash, enthusiastic and sometimes controversial, multi-award-winning commercial director Marcus Nispel waited 15 years to direct his first feature film, the low-budget remake of the horror classic "Th...
Beloved German schlockmeister Marcus Nispel, most recently the director of the ill-fated Conan the Barbarian remake, has found a new gig. THR reports that Nispel has been tapped to helm Hack/Slash, Relativity Media's adaptation of the popular comic book about a girl who goes from slasher prey to slasher-slayer. (Her name, naturally, is Cassie Hack.) The project has seen more than its share of personnel changes since its inception, with commercial director Fredrik Bond the most recent casualty of its well-documented development struggles. Presumably, Nispel will get started on Hack/Slash as soon as he wraps things up on his latest project, Backmask, the true story of Joseph Derrick, a 19th-century Englishman cursed with cheekbones shaped like vertebrae.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Marcus Nispel’s silly violent fantasy epic Conan the Barbarian is Hollywood’s second attempt at building a franchise based on pulp author Robert E. Howard’s signature character. The first yielded two films of diminishing quality – 1982’s Conan the Barbarian and 1984’s Conan the Destroyer – and is best remembered for launching the career of future governor Arnold Schwarzenegger whose Austrian accent in the films is so thick as to render the bulk of his dialogue unintelligible.
Playing the title role in the update is Jason Momoa whose muscles aren’t quite as gargantuan as his predecessor’s but whose line-readings are at the very least comprehensible. (His own accent betrays hints of Hawaiian surfer-dude.) Momoa is most famous for his recent turn as a Khal Drogo on the hit HBO series Game of Thrones a far superior work of hard-R sword-and-sorcery fantasy. Thrones like Conan the Barbarian boasts bare breasts and beheadings galore but beneath the sex and savagery lies real intelligence. All the titillating elements are icing on the cake for a series founded on compelling characters and ingenious storytelling
Not so much with Conan the Barbarian. The film begins with a lengthy prologue inexplicably narrated by Morgan Freeman that briefs us on the essential details of the film’s mythology – and you’d best be paying attention because the ensuing film treats story and character as so many enemies to be vanquished. The opening scene announces the movie’s savage B-movie ethos thusly: When Conan’s very pregnant mother is injured in battle (barbarians don’t get maternity leave) his father (Ron Perlman) delivers his son via an impromptu battlefield Cesarean photographed in graphic detail. A warrior is born.
The plot involves a grown-up Conan gunning for revenge against Khalar Zym (Stephen Lang) the sorcerer-chieftan who killed his father and obliterated his tribe the Cimmerians when he was just a boy. Conan is something of a rock star in the marauding world his bloodlust not so all-consuming that he can’t stop to enjoy a flagon of mead with the odd topless slave babe. His credo is cogently expressed as “I live I love I slay I am content” – words to live by if there ever were.
On the path to vengeance Conan links up with a runaway nun Tamara (Rachel Nichols) whose special blood is required by Khalar to resurrect his dead wife. Or maybe it’s needed to conquer the Kingdom of Hyboria. Whatever. The attraction between Conan and Tamara is instantaneous and powerful – what girl can resist such charming lines as “Woman come here ” and “You look like a harlot”? Films like this can usually get by with one female speaking role but Conan the Barbarian offers a second: Marique (Rose McGowan) a scheming goth-witch whose affection for her father Khalar is clearly beyond familial. The role was originally written for a man.
Nispel’s previous films include two horror remakes (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th) and the barely releasable Pathfinder. He directs with casual disregard for context rushing hurriedly from one bloody set-piece to the next coherence be damned. Action is paramount in Conan the Barbarian; the film is positively bursting with it leaving little room for anything that might engage us on any level beyond “guilty pleasure.” Some of the action is memorable some of it tedious but the violence is inspired. In one scene while questioning a man whose nose he’d hacked off just a few frames earlier Conan jams his finger into the man’s exposed nose-hole causing it to spew icky clear fluid. Now that is some enhanced interrogation.
Hacking, slashing, goring and gouging its way into theaters this week is Lionsgate’s new fantasy-adventure Conan the Barbarian. Though ostensibly a remake of John Milius’ 1982 film, which helped launch Arnold Schwarzenneger’s blockbuster career, the new Conan hews closer to pulp author Robert E. Howard’s original tales of the wandering Cimmerian warrior than its predecessor. Directed by Marcus Nispel (Pathfinder, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake) and starring Game of Thrones’ Jason Momoa, it is a blistering, hard-R epic that gives no quarter to restraint or moderation in its unrelenting pursuit of action-movie immortality.
We recently caught up with the stars of Conan the Barbarian to talk about their bloody new film. Below are the highlights from our exclusive interviews:
Jason Momoa on the awkwardness of choosing his sex-scene partner and seeing himself naked on film:
The realm of Hyboria is vast and unforgiving; the kind of territory that only the strong can survive in. Conan the Cimmerian is one such individual: a hardened warrior who "lives, loves and slays" according to the trailer for his new film Conan the Barbarian, a reboot of the film series featuring Robert E. Howard's beloved creation. We're all very excited to explore the mystical world in which the film is set here at Hollywood.com, and that's why we're particularly stoked about EXCLUSIVELY DEBUTING a new section of the map of Hyboria today!
For those unaware, the film's official site has been slowly rolling out an extensive interactive map of the land over the past few weeks, and now you can have a look at the Shahpur Coast, only on Hollywood.com! As you can see, crumbling monuments and outposts line what was once a great fortress, the ruins of a lost civilization providing a perfect backdrop as Conan and Khalar Zym meet in a clash of spark and steel! Epic? Hell yeah!
Use the widget below to have a look around the coast, and make sure to visit the official site tomorrow when the Shahpur Coast is added to the full map of Hyboria.
Conan the Barbarian, directed by Marcus Nispel and starring Jason Momoa, Stephen Lang, Rachel Nichols, Ron Perlman and Rose McGowan, hits theaters on August 19.
Marcus Nispel -- the man we can all collectively point and groan at for this -- has signed on for his next film: a little $10 million picture called Backmask set to shoot this summer. Right now, details are still wrapped regarding the project, but Deadline reports that it involves "paranoia, possession and the paranormal." Nispel's past credits include The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th remakes, and the picture will be produced by Steven Schneider, one of the backers of Paranormal Activity; so, yeah, we're pretty sure that this will be spooky. Either that, or a really low-budget stoner flick about ghosts who wear gas mask bongs.
Today, the new trailer for Lionsgate's Conan the Barbarian hit the web with a splash. The minimalist teaser trailer has been put out of my mind in place of this brutal footage, which doesn't necessarily delve into the story but delivers scores of savage violence that the film is required to have. Directed by Marcus Nispel (Friday the 13th), that shouldn't come as much of a surprise. I'm particularly stoked about the ensemble cast, including Stephen Lang as the villain Khalar Zym and Rose McGowan as the witch Marique; they both look fantastic in full make-up and costume.
My biggest concern is about star Jason Momoa, who's best on Game of Thrones (in which he plays a similar character) where he barely speaks. I don't think he has any charisma, appeal or talent and certainly doesn't have the draw power that even the '82 Arnold Schwarzenegger had. He could be the weak link in the Conan chain, but if the action is as unforgiving as it seems it is in this trailer, it won't matter.
Check out the new footage below and make sure to catch Conan the Barbarian on August 19.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Millennium/Nu Image has approached director Brett Ratner (X-Men: The Last Stand) for a live action film based on the Greek hero Heracles (or the Roman 'Hercules', as he is more commonly known), which the studio has been developing for almost three years. Ratner was originally attached to direct Millennium/Nu Image's similar upcoming Conan remake, but was ultimately dropped in favor of Marcus Nispel, who helmed the 2003 remake The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Now it looks like he'll be getting a sword-and-sandal flick of his own.
This is by no means the first time Hollywood has dealt with the mythic Greek hero. You probably remember Disney's 1997 animated Hercules, with Danny DeVito voicing that funny goat character and James Woods as Hades, or Schwarzenegger's campy 1970 Hercules in New York (hey, every actor has to start somewhere!). And of course there's been around a dozen foreign films that have been influenced by tales of the demi-God, as well as a handful of TV spin-offs like Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (which inspired the wildly popular `Xena: Warrior Princess').
The real question is whether Ratner is going to be any good for this movie - and here fans and critics will be divided. Ratner's been a real mixed bag over the years: X-Men: The Last Stand was undeniably a huge letdown for fans, while the director's 1998 Rush Hour is something like a classic. Unfortunately, Rush Hour 3 sort of sucked. But I liked Red Dragon! So I guess we'll just have to see how Ratner does with this one. He doesn't have the best track record, but we'll give the man one last stand, if you will.
When Platinum Dunes the production house created by Michael Bay Andrew Form and Brad Fuller first came into being it took on the father of modern horror films The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It's safe to say everyone expected it to be a total failure given who was involved; when it turned out that it actually wasn't too bad of a film fans were justifiably surprised. A few mid-level misfires later Platinum Dunes raised their aim at iconic horror franchises even higher bringing back TCM's director Marcus Nispel to tackle Jason Voorhees. Again people weren't expecting much so it was another pleasant surprise that 2009's Friday the 13th turned out to be a thoroughly entertaining respectful recombination of the cabin-in-the-woods slasher. From there the studio didn't even bother to go back to lesser franchises they notched their crosshairs as high as they could go; Freddy Krueger.
Fast forward twelve months. The main thing anyone will want to know about A Nightmare on Elm Street is whether it is at the very least a worthy remake of the original Wes Craven film about a slain pedophile who resurrects in the dream world to kill teenagers in their sleep. The short answer is a resounding yes. Samuel Bayer's film is the best remake in the Platinum Dunes stable; Jackie Earle Haley is an excellent successor to the original's Robert Englund; and Freddy Krueger isn't just scary again he's the most disturbing he's ever been. The long answer is of course a little more complicated and requires plenty of qualifiers.
Yes A Nightmare on Elm Street is the best remake Platinum Dunes has produced but the reason behind that is also the film's handicap. For the most part Wesley Strick and Eric Heisserer's screenplay hems incredibly close to Craven's original. There comes a point in the film however where staying faithful to the source material becomes a bit too problematic. Mainstream audiences particularly those who didn't grow up with Krueger will be unaffected but horror fans may soon grow bored with the lack of individuality in the scripting department. And then just as the film threatens to overthrow its predecessor by changing (for the better) Krueger's origin story it backs off once again sacrificing innovation for tradition.
It would appear to be a contradiction but that adherence to tradition in turn becomes the remakes' greatest strength. Bayer and company dive even deeper into the Elm Street mythos giving the audience in the process two crucial looks at what Krueger was like before the parents of the molested preschoolers delivered their gas-can brand of mob justice. Haley's astounding amount of talent makes profound use of every second of these brief glimpses into a pre-burn Freddy. Then once the kind soft-spoken kid-loving mask of the pedophile-in-hiding has been literally burned off the true monster underneath emerges. This contrast between the Freddy the kids knew and the Freddy they now know as teens makes for some legitimately bothersome bedroom nightmares toward the film's end.
As for the teens they too are marked improvements this time around. Johnny Depp may have emerged from the '84 classic but he was about it. Rooney Mara Kyle Gallner Thomas Dekker and Katie Cassidy all do an admirable job with the at times thin characterizations they're given. It's a testament to the talent of each of them that they overcome the limitations of the script to warrant some investment in their fight against their dream killer. And as for that dream killer...Haley is the perfect replacement for Englund. His take on the voice may be indistinguishable from his work as Rorschach in Zack Snyder's Watchmen adaptation but considering it fits Haley's commanding presence as Krueger as snugly as the iconic bladed glove whose newly stylized dragging across the pipes in Freddy's dream boiler room sounds skincrawlingly likely a cross between nails on a chalk board and an arc welder that's not too much of a complaint.
A little more worthy of complaint are a few failed attempts to reinact iconic moments from the original most notably Freddy's emergence from the wallpaper above Nancy's bed. It's inexcusable that a special effect in the year 2010 should look worse than the effect from the 1984 film it's imitating but CGI the perpetual enemy of the horror fan once again rears its ugly head. That embarrassing failure aside this film could not look better. Bayer did a tremendous job of altering the reality of the dream world with subtle visual distortions (a lot of straight lines are skewed obtusely outward while the edges of the frame curve oh so slightly inward) when necessary. And the effects work on Krueger's face is appropriately gruesome in all the right spots. One can even forgive the terrible wallpaper CGI scene in exchange for inspired touches like a partial singed cheek that flaps slightly when he exhales or moves too quickly.
While this rebirth of Krueger no doubt boasts a number of glorious kills (the bold opener sets the gore precedent quite nicely) its biggest strength in the fear department is this new far more disturbing structuring of the character as a joyless disgusting psychopath. Craven's original used Krueger's actions mainly as the logistical justification for why he would be killing these teenagers whereas Bayer's handling of the material leverages the origin story beyond just physical torture and into mentally disturbing psychosexual territory. The original franchise gradually acclimated to the idea of Krueger as a sexual threat but this iteration makes no qualms about it. It's not just the burns to Krueger's face that have been updated for realism; his motivations have as well — and that makes this new Nightmare on Elm Street scary as hell.
Robert Rodriguez has been toying with the idea of a reboot of Red Sonja, the warrior vixen who's slain all manners of beings alongside counterpart Conan, since long before Marcus Nispel began shooting his take on the Cimmerian slaughterer last month. As far back as 2008, the filmmaker had been working on the re-tooling with his then girlfriend Rose McGowan in the lead role.
Recently, McGowan was cast as a half human, half witch, all evil character in Nispel's new film, leaving the status of Sonja unknown. Additionally, insider's claim that the entire project (who's home is at Millennium Films, like Conan) as it existed under Rodriguez's thumb has been scrapped and a new writer is being searching for to re-work David N. White’s script. Today, Pajiba reports that not only is the project far from dead, but it's attracted a major star - Megan Fox.
File this under rumor for the time being, but the sexy Transformers star may end up wielding deadly weapons in the update. She is of the perfect age, type and point in her career to take on a major action tentpole and potential franchise, what with her involvement in the robots-in-disguise franchise uncertain past next years installment, which reportedly begins shooting next month.
A lot of action, a little clothes and Megan Fox? Sign us up today! Meanwhile, check out the studio's 2008 description of the project:
In her return we find Red Sonja, a young girl risen from the ashes of tragedy to become the most feared woman warrior of all time. The mythical red-head blindly seeks vengeance on those who destroyed her family. In her path of destruction she discovers a larger purpose for her unearthly powers: to save all Hyrkania from the villainous Kulan Gath.
Check out the Megan Fox Central Fan Site Here
Rose McGowan tried to make the world believe she was a contemporary witch by dating Marilyn Manson, wearing (extremely) scantily clad outfits and stirring up controversy wherever she could. We liked all that well enough, but now she's taking it to the next level - signing on to Marcus Nispel's highly anticipated reboot of the Conan film series to play an evil half-human witch.
The cast already includes Jason Momoa as the titular Barbarian, Ron Perlman as his father, Rachel Nichols as the love interest Tamara and Stephen Lang as head villain Khalar Singh. Other actors who'll be inhabiting Robert E. Howard's fictional fantasy world include Bob Sapp and Said Taghmaoui.
The Friday The 13th director began shooting the film Monday at Nu Boyana Studios in Sofia, Bulgaria. It will be released domestically by Lionsgate sometime next year.
Directed a reboot of "Conan the Barbarian," starring Jason Momoa in the titular role
Directed the USA network production of "Frankenstein"
Made his directorial debut on a series of music videos for C&C Music Factory
Directed and produced, "Pathfinder," a remake to Norwegian film with the same name
Worked as an art director in the Frankfurt branch of Young & Rubicam
Directed music videos for artists such as Billy Joel, Janet Jackson and Elton John
Directed the remake of "Friday the 13th"; produced by Michael Bay
Directed commercial spots for AT&T, Coca-Cola, and UPS
Signed on to direct Arnold Schwarzenegger in "End of Days," but backed out due to ‘artistic differences’
Founded and operated his own production company, Portfolio Artists Network
Made his feature directing debut with the remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"
Moved to the US on a Fulbright Scholarship
Brash, enthusiastic and sometimes controversial, multi-award-winning commercial director Marcus Nispel waited 15 years to direct his first feature film, the low-budget remake of the horror classic "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (2003). Not for lack of offers: the prolific director of commercials and music videos had been approached to make $100 million blockbusters in the past, but in order to avoid being just another cog in the machine, he made sure that his first film would something he wanted to do. In the meantime, Nispel racked up award after award for his work on hundreds commercials and music videos. <p> Originally from Germany, Nispel got his start as an art director in the Frankfurt branch of Young & Rubicam, a global marketing and communications group. Nispel came to America in 1984 on a Fulbright Scholarship at age 20 and made his directorial debut on a series of music videos for C&C Music Factory, including "Gonna Make You Sweat" and "Things That Make You Go Hmmm " Nispel directed videos for many other famous artists, a few of which hit #1, including "Greedy Fly" for Bush, "Turn The Beat Around" for Gloria Estefan and "Spice Up Your Life" for the Spice Girls. Ambitious from the get-go, Nispel's hard work paid off. He received twelve MTV Music Award nominations, with four wins, including an MTV Best European Video Award for "Killer/Papa Was A Rolling Stone", by George Michael. In 2001, Nispel won the MVPA Lifetime Achievement Award, a top award given to music video professionals by Kodak. <p> Nispel was equally as prolific in the commercial sector, directing hundreds of spots for AT&T, Coca-Cola, Levi's, Pepsi and UPS. And in keeping with his success as a music video director, Nispel was showered with numerous awards for his work, including several Clios, a Mobius Award, the Grand Prix at the BDA Awards, as well as honors from the New York, Houston and Chicago Film Festivals and the Art Directors Club, an international not-for-profit group of creative professionals engaged in all facets of visual communications. <p> Nispel then took his first tentative steps into the film world when he inked a deal to direct Arnold Schwarzenegger in "End of Days" (1998). However, he backed out a month before principal photography due to "artistic differences". It would be a few years until Nispel would get another shot to direct a feature. This time, Jerry Bruckheimer protégé Michael Bay acted as producer and hired Nispel to direct the remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". Made for far less than the $100 million tagged to "End of Days", Nispel relished the opportunity, despite being under the thumb of producer Bay. <p> In the movie, actress Jessica Biel starred as one of five 20-somethings whose free-spirited road trip becomes a terrifying descent into madness when they meet the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface. What attracted Nispel to the project was the chance to explore the past of the real-life killer, Ed Gein, the inspiration for the original movie and for Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" (although the events of all three films are extremely fictionalized and bear little resemblance to the true story). The result of Nispel's typically frenzied work days-for him and his crew-was a number one opening at the box office with over $28 million in receipts.
Twin of Bruno; Born March 15, 1999; Mother, Dyan Nispel
Twin of Armyan; Born March 15, 1999; Mother, Dyan Nispel