McGowan & Rodriguez Talk "Red Sonja"

After the failed movie attempt starring Brigette Nielsen in 1985, fans thought they would never see Red Sonja on the silver screen again. However, in a world where both the Hulk have the Punisher have been re-imagined within a few years of their respective less-than-stellar movie predecessor, the She-Devil with a Sword is back. Rose McGowan has played a bitch ("Jawbreaker") and a witch ("Charmed'), but now she picks up a sword to play everyone's favorite chain mail bikini clad heroine, Red Sonja. McGowan's current beau, Robert Rodriguez ("Spy Kids," "Sin City") has joined her in this endeavor as the producer of the Hyrkanian warrior's second foray into movie theaters. CBR news got the opportunity to speak with the couple recently at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

McGowan found out about the project in the typical manner; the studio brought her the script to see if she would be interested in doing it. "Well, I thought Red Sonja was incredibly bad ass," McGowan said. "I got really excited about it. I've been getting such boring scripts after doing Cherry in "Planet Terror." I really was in quite a deep depression, I'm not gonna lie, at least work wise. I came home [to Rodriguez] and was like, 'I think I really want to do this movie, it's kinda great. Look at these comic books, it's insane. You've ever heard of this person?'"

Of course, Rodriguez had not only heard of this character but was in fact very familiar with Red Sonja as well as the rest of the Conan universe. "I'd been into Conan since I was 12 [or] so," he said. "'Savage Sword Of Conan' was the first comic I'd gotten with lots of Red Sonja in it." Rodriguez is also a big fan of Conan author Robert E. Howard. "I was a big fan of [his] since he was from Texas. I used to collect his books and just knew all about it, so I was very surprised that she [McGowan] brought that home; the comic, the script, the offer. So [I told her] if you want to do that, it sounds like a great project to do; that's like a fantasy project for someone who grew up with this."

Not only is Rodriguez producing "Red Sonja," but it was announced at San Diego that he was going to be involved with a new Conan project as well. With Marvel setting up their own movie continuity in their films, is there any chance of crossover in the Conan movie universe? "Yeah, I mean it's good to have some kind of continuity," Rodriguez said. "Robert E. Howard - I am just kind of protective of cause he didn't live far from my house. So I just thought, 'If it's going to go out there it seems like a good time to kind of tie things together. If I can do that, I'd love to be involved.'"

As for whether or not either of the two had a favorite Conan or Red Sonja story, Rodriguez was quick to answer with several examples. "My favorite Conan stories is probably [a tie] between 'Red Nails' and 'Hour of the Dragon,' I like those. And then as far as Red Sonja, well, 'The Song of Red Sonja' is just a great legend." McGowan was quick to agree that "The Song of Red Sonja" was one of her favorites and was actually the story that got her wrapped up in the character. Rodriguez added with a smile, "Yeah, that one is probably something we are going to keep in the script."

Red Sonja has already claimed her first victim: that of Barbarella, the late 60's erotic sci-fi and comic book character that McGowan was originally supposed to play. "This [movie] kind of took it's place," she said. "I'm committed to direct a different movie in the fall," Rodriguez added. "That's why I can only produce on this one."

McGowan did have some regrets that she won't be able to play the role made famous by Jane Fonda "It's kind of sad," she said. "There's 70 million dollars in funding totally there, but it would have to wait a year and a half and we'd have to go to Germany for a long time. Nothing wrong with Germany, but it's so far in advance, and by then, literally, he could get two more movies [and] I could get a movie or do a TV show. People just don't really understand that usually you have about 20 different things going on at once, hoping one sticks. If a producer or an actor or a director only had one thing they were trying to get made, you would be broke, in the poor house and you'd be screwed."

Rodriguez and McGowan already have a few scenes that they can't wait to film. "There's a scene where I am underneath a bunch of horses and I'm stabbing upwards," McGowan said. "I'm excited about that." Rodriguez was a bit more tight lipped, explaining that "I can't say what they are. Those are good action beats - we work hard for those." McGowan quickly added, "Okay I'll shut up. That's a lie. There are no horses with swords."

While Rodriguez did write a script for the "Jetsons" movie, that was not the family film he mentioned on stage at Comic-Con "Oh no it's 'Shorts,'" he said. "I just shot that. 'Shorts' comes out next summer, I'm still working on that."

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