In my review of “Conan The Barbarian,” I wrote about how glad I am that Momoa ended up playing the part. I got e-mail from several of you who seemed irritated this morning that I would say anything good about anyone besides Arnold Schwarzenegger in the role, and it frustrates me. You won’t find many people who love the 1982 John Milius film more than I do, but I can feel that way and still think that the character described in the stories isn’t the character in that film. I’ve always felt that there’s another interpretation possible.
For me, the moment that comes closest to capturing the mood of Howard’s stories as I always read them isn’t even from a “Conan” movie. It’s from “Brotherhood Of The Wolf,” late in the film, when Mark Dacascos is raining bloody vengeance down on people. He’s not a giant muscle-man, but that’s not really what I think of when it comes to “Conan.” Yes, he’s powerful, but he’s also a thief, someone capable of grace and stealth. He’s excellent with a sword, fast and agile.
What works about Momoa is the way he communicates physically. He isn’t just “some big guy with a sword.” He’s specifically playing Conan The Barbarian, a guy who has an almost unnatural gift for mayhem and violence, but who also thinks like a warrior. He can think his way through a fight innately, and that’s what Momoa captures with his work.
In our conversation, we got into these ideas, and watching his reaction, he was ready to have that conversation. I have not seen “A Game Of Thrones” yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing it when it hits Blu-ray. In the meantime, I love that this guy is so into the role that he wants to write the next “Conan” film. No matter what I thought of this one, I’d be willing to see him tackle the role again.
“Conan The Barbarian” opens skulls this Friday.