Posted on Leave a comment

Untold Tales of Hollywood #54

I got a derogatory response to my art department sign (see last entry). This was my response (I hope that you can tell this back-and-forth was executed with our tongues well in-cheek).

The first works I did on Conan the Destroyer were character designs.

Sarah Douglas was cast as Queen Taramis. Originally, as you can see, the production hoped that Danny DeVito would play the humorous character Malak. Then, David Lander got cast as Malak. Finally, it was Tracey Walter who ended up playing Malak in Conan the Destroyer.

David Lander was a very funny guy. One afternoon, I was having lunch in the studio commissary when Arnold strided into the room, smoking a big black stogie.

“Jesus Christ, Arnold!” shouted David, “It smells like you’re smoking a mouse!”

I pushed hard to get Grace Jones cast as Zula. I had seen her in a Chic magazine photo spread in which looked incredibly savage and feral. Upon seeing that set of photos, my first response was, “My god! She needs to be in a Conan film!” I thought her performance in the film was terrific.
Wilt Chamberlain was impressive in person. Incredibly tall, he was also perfectly proportioned — not lanky like most basketball players.
Mako Iwamatsu returned as Akiro the Wizard.

A few years later, I ran into Mako at LAX.
“Hey, Mako!” I shouted. “We made the two Conan films together!”

“Yes,” he replied, “Second film: shit.”

“You got that right, buddy,” I agreed.

My set design for the forest scene when Conan discovers his pal Mako in the hands of some Hyborian cavemen.
These cavemen designs were created as an attempt on my part to upgrade the culture of the Conan 2 cavemen, just to make them more interesting and to avoid their being a visual cliché.
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *