Red Carpet: ‘Conan the Barbarian’ UK Premiere

This weekend, Empire Magazine presented Big Screen, an opportunity for film buffs to glimpse unseen footage, attend special screenings and gorge themselves on a veritable feast of movie exclusives. Last night was no exception, as the British contingent of swords and sandals film fans descended on the O2 Arena to usher in the arrival of a new hero – Conan the Barbarian (2011) – at the film’s UK premiere. CineVue was there on the red carpet to discuss the coming of a new action sensation with the new Conan – and Game of Thrones star – Jason Momoa.

Conan the Barbarian first appeared in 1932, in a series of fantasy stories created by Robert E. Howard. He has since become something of an action icon, appearing in comic books, on television and most notably in the 1982 film of the same name starring the ‘Governator’ himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger. What can have convinced Momoa to take on such a cult figure? “Well I was a big fan when I was growing up as a kid. You know I love that he’s kind of the anti-hero. He’s a man’s man. He fights, he likes women, he drinks… and he was fun to play”.

Directed by Marcus Nispel, Conan the Barbarian is packed full of battle sequences, strategic one-on-one swordplay and the odd pub brawl, all featuring our new favourite one man army. One might question the validity and sense of such situations, as Conan cuts great swathes through the land and seems to stop only for the odd evening of passion with a certain lady.

However, you would only need to glimpse the poster for the film to determine that this behaviour is not only logical but downright expected from a man who seems to have been chiselled and sculpted within an inch of his life. How might one hope to achieve such a form? “A lot of sword training, stunt training, obviously weight lifting and cardio for about 6 hours a day”.

Momoa brings a style to the role that accentuates the animalistic elements of Conan’s character. Even the script itself plays on the primal nature of the man, as Conan states ‘I live. I love. I slay… I am content’. But was it true that in preparation for the role, Momoa studied the movements of lions and tigers? “Yeah, yeah. I wanted to keep my head down and be able to prowl and hunch… to be primal, feral”.

As tough and monosyllabic as Conan might be, you’ll find no such behaviour from Momoa who was an absolute pleasure to interview. After being asked whether Arnold Schwarzenegger had been in touch, he joked that, “He keeps trying to call me but I haven’t picked up”. He was then grilled about his physique and commented that “It’s a fake… that’s not my body”. He was also open and unguarded during his introduction to the film, as he urged the audience to “Go into the theatre, turn off your brain and enjoy the ride”.

Conan the Barbarian arrives in cinemas nationwide from Wednesday 24 August. Stay tuned for more coverage on the film in the coming weeks.

Sonia Zadurian