USA Today is reporting that Rose McGowan will be slipping into that famous metal mesh bikini and bringing Red Sonja back to the big screen. Robert Rodriguez, who is hoping to create a franchise around the flame-haired swordswoman, will produce with longtime Rodriguez assistant Douglas Aarniokoski directing.
The new Red Sonja film will be an origin story that will focus on the “she-devil with a sword,” the comic book character created by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith in 1973. The comic book Red Sonja is the barbarian babe who is a contemporary of Conan, while Robert E. Howard’s Red Sonya (note the spelling difference) was a pistol-packing pirate lass. Earlier this year Paradox Entertainment and Red Sonja LLC settled their legal dispute over the character (see “Paradox, Red Sonja Settle”), thus clearing the way for another film starring the comics-based Red Sonja. But even though the movie will be using the more recent Red Sonja character, Rodriguez did acknowledge Howard’s superb storytelling gifts, and told USA Today that his goal on the film was “to spin a good yarn and entertain.”
Brigitte Nielsen portrayed the sword-wielding seductress in the poorly-received 1985 Red Sonja film that also starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Conan-like Prince Kalidor. While Ms. McGowan lacks the Amazonian voluptuousness of Ms. Nielsen, she does have a fiery personality and is working with a personal trainer to prepare for the role.
The new Red Sonja film is tentatively scheduled for a 2010 release. The big screen revival of the scale mail-wearing swordswoman is good news for Dynamite Comics. Dynamite began publishing its Red Sonja comic book in 2005, and the series has been one of Dynamite’s most successful (and long running) efforts.