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Ratner in talks to direct ‘Conan’

by Adam Wills

November 8, 2008 | 10:19 pm

Brett Ratner, who was recently profiled in The Jewish Journal, has turned down an opportunity to direct the fourth “Beverly Hills Cop” installment in favor of reviving the 1980s Arnold Schwarzenegger film franchise, “Conan,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

By the end of Friday, Ratner had made his choice. He has committed to take on literature’s most famous barbarian and is in final negotiations to helm the picture, which is aiming for a release in early 2010. Eddie Murphy and the Pointer Sisters will have to wait.

Ratner jived to the “Conan” script by Gersh-repped Joshua Oppenheimer and Thomas Dean Donnelly, who looked to Robert E. Howard’s original pulp stories of the 1930s to create their take on the character. The writers are doing a quick polish to incorporate some of Ratner’s ideas.

Joe Gatta and Avi Lerner of Millennium Films are producing, along with Paradox Entertainment president and CEO Fredrik Malmberg.

The film will be a Conan origin story, and Millennium and Lionsgate expects it to become an R-rated, big-budget franchise (think boobs and blood). Preproduction is under way in Bulgaria.

Considering those who liked the cartoonish/video-game-style action of the third “X-Men” film are roughly the same audience that would like the Schwarzenegger “Conan” films, this Hollywood match will likely destroy box-office records in 2010.

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