Conan the Barbarian

PG-13 for persistent shirtlessness, cultural anachronisms, a few grisly deaths here and there


To transform this film from tedious late-summer sludge into a cult classic, it would take but one simple and obvious change: Recast the lead as Conan O’Brien.

When did we settle on brawny men as our action heroes, anyway? What about scrawny, gangly late-night comedians? As long as I’m watching a plotless parade of explosions and fight scenes, with a hero dodging flaming arrows and conjuring dusty ghosts, I’d rather ditch the muscular no-name and watch Stephen Colbert or Jimmy Fallon. Especially if they have CGI-enhanced musculature.

You might lose a little plausibility, but let’s all face facts: Conan the Barbarian was never going to be an exercise in plausibility to begin with.

Puzzle of the day: Which action films would you recast with which late-night comedians (or other scrawny types)?

6 thoughts on “Conan the Barbarian

  1. Alan Rickman’s character in Die Hard would be improved by a very caffeinated Jay Leno (who, in fairness, is always highly caffeinated).

    While at first blush, replacing Keanu Reeves with Craig Ferguson in The Matrix seems like a good idea, the more you think about it, the more it would be absolutely awful.

    While not technically a recast, David Letterman deserves a bit role in Terminator as a veterean, retired robot killer.

    Jimmy Fallon could replace Matt Damon’s character in Ocean’s 11, but if and only if it were done as an introductory video to the Oscars. The same would be true for Conan playing Professor X in X-Men, First Class. And Craig Ferguson playing Harrison Ford’s character in Air Force One.

    • Excellent calls, for the most part.

      But I don’t know, Michael Wayne… I think I see David Letterman more as a cyborg assassin-type. He would find himself so, so amusing — and only Midwestern Americans in the 50+ age range who don’t own a computer would agree. (I am pretty certain everyone else in the 50+ demographic has discovered YouTube by now. Babies eating lemons!)

  2. Recasting Terminator got me thinking that maybe we should cast some politicians in our action films. We want America to appear totally, unapologetically Awesome to the rest of the world. Maybe Michele Bachmann as Catwoman? Obama as Jason Bourne? Dennis Kucinich in… literally anything. I would go see Kucinich in a live action Finding Nemo if it came down to it.

  3. Pingback: Trailer: Wrath of the Titans | PG-13 for Ugly Cast

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