While audiences have largely moved on from the project, Jason Momoa is getting brutally honest about his Conan the Barbarian remake. Robert E. Howard’s iconic titular character was first brought to life on the big screen with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1982 film of the same name, which saw his Conan on a quest for vengeance for the death of his parents at the hands of snake cult leader Thulsa Doom. Though met with mixed reviews from critics and audiences alike upon its release, Schwarzenegger’s Conan the Barbarian was a box office success and became a cult favorite, spawning the sequel Conan the Destroyer, which scored poor reviews and underperformed at the box office, leading to a threequel dying in development hell.
Warner Bros. later acquired the rights to the Conan the Barbarian character and spent years attempting to develop a remake, only for Nu Image/Millennium Films to later acquire the rights and partner with Lionsgate to produce it. Having endured a variety of directors and writers coming and going on the project, the Conan the Barbarian remake began moving forward with Marcus Nispel in the director’s chair and Jason Momoa attached for the titular role. Hitting theaters in mid-2011, Momoa’s Conan the Barbarian debuted to mostly negative reviews from critics and audiences alike and was a box office bomb, scrapping plans for a follow-up and now one of the stars at the center of the project is getting honest about the film.
In a recent cover feature with GQ, Jason Momoa reflected on some of his lesser-received films from early in his acting career. Momoa specifically looked towards his time on the Conan the Barbarian remake, praising his experiencing filming it but criticizing how it was changed in the editing process. See what Momoa said below:
“I’ve been a part of a lot of things that really sucked, and movies where it’s out of your hands. Conan [the Barbarian] was one of them. It’s one of the best experiences I had and it [was] taken over and turned into a big pile of shit.”
As is the case for a variety of other remakes in Hollywood, Momoa’s Conan the Barbarian endured a variety of troubles in its development, with the likes of The Matrix duo The Wachowskis, Schwarzenegger’s first Conan director John Milius, Robert Rodriguez and Brett Ratner all having been in various points of negotiations to helm the project. With it having been one of his first major film roles after breakout TV roles in Baywatch and Stargate: Atlantis, Momoa memorably underwent rigorous training in order to effectively portray Conan, enrolling in a six-week training program at a stunt and martial arts academy before even finishing negotiations to star in the film. Momoa also turned to future John Wick directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch to help him build 10 pounds of muscle for his role in the Conan the Barbarian remake.
As he notes, Momoa’s Conan the Barbarian was largely dismissed by critics and audiences alike upon its release, namely for its poor script, characters and performances, though Momoa himself did ultimately receive some positive reception for his work in the film. Luckily for him and action genre fans, Momoa would go on to better make a name for himself on both the big and small screens with everything from Game of Thrones to Aquaman. While audiences await the latter character’s return in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom in March, they can revisit Momoa’s Conan the Barbarian streaming on HBO Max now.