Over on the Official Robert E. Howard Forum, this was just posted by a member with the handle of “TortolaBVI”:
28 years ago, British television company Carlton Television, which was (and is) part of the massive ITV network, paid an extremely large sum to be one of the first terrestrial channels to be able to broadcast the motion picture Conan The Barbarian. An additional clause in the deal stated that Carlton television would have complete right to adapt for the television medium original works by Robert E Howard under the proviso that said work was in the public domain. Bearing in mind that this deal was made in 1981, The rightsholders to Conan really were not concerned with a date that was a quarter of a century away. Carlton Television did not have the rights to create original material. Everyone got that? They could create original material provided it did not make up more than 10% of any adaptation of an original Robert E Howard public domain story.
Which is where we are at, at the moment. The production has finance firmly in place to the tune of £7m, has a new director onboard (Mr Graham Harper has left due to scheduling commitments but was outstanding in helping find his replacement) the script has undergone revision to tighten the narrative, and a number of locations have been scouted.
TortolaBVI goes on to say that the title for this production will be Conan the Barbarian — The Devil in Iron. Apparently, the production team is auditioning an actor right now who may (or may not) be Paul Telfer.
Tortola has posted at conan.com before. This is by far the most concrete news he has provided. On the surface, at least, this looks legitimate. His facts seem to check out. I certainly hope that this is for real. I tend to have more faith in the quality of British productions as a general rule.
A very heartening detail (for any fans who want to see a reasonably faithful screen adaptation of REH’s Conan) is the “no more than 10%” proviso. Any adaptation by Carlton has to consist of at least ninety percent Robert E. Howard material from the public domain story being adapted. While I think that this would be a tricky matter to argue in court, it is nice to see such a leash on the screenwriters’ (and producers’) “creativity.” Oppenheimer and Donnelly (and Avi Lerner) certainly needed such.
*Art by Neal Adams.