It looks like the much-loved comic book warrior woman Red Sonja may at last be on her way back to the big screen, as a new writer has officially been hired to get to work on a screenplay.
The Hollywood Reporter have announced that rights holders Nu Image and Millennium Films have enlisted Christopher Cosmos - an as-yet unproduced screenwriter with a number of projects in development - to draft the latest adventure of the flame-haired she-devil with a sword. Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, Boaz Davidson,John Thompson, Christa Campbell and Lati Grobman are on board as executive producers.
This would be the first ‘Red Sonja’ movie since the oft-derided 1985 Arnold Schwarzenegger and Brigitte Nielsen vehicle - although there have been a number of high profile attempts to revive the character since.
Though classed as part of writer Robert E Howard’s ‘Conan’ universe, Red Sonja actually started life as a Marvel Comics character, a spin-off of their successful ‘Conan the Barbarian’ title, created by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith in 1973 (though she is loosely modeled, in name at least, on Red Sonya of Rogatino, a character from a Howard story).
The character currently appears in comics from Dynamite Entertainment.
The 1985 movie from director Richard Fleischer (who had also helmed the previous year’s ‘Conan the Destroyer’) was originally intended to see Schwarzenegger return as Conan, but legal complications forced him to instead portray an original character, Prince Kalidor.
While not exactly a hit on release (making a little under $7 million at the US box office), ‘Red Sonja’ gave Brigitte Nielsen her first starring role: ‘Rocky IV,’ ‘Cobra’ and a high profile marriage to their leading man Sylvester Stallone would follow.
The character of Red Sonja has subsequently appeared onscreen only once more, portrayed by ‘Baywatch’ actress Angelica Bridges in an episode of the late 1990s ‘Conan’ live-action TV series - and reportedly a ‘Red Sonja’ TV series was in development at one point, intended to star WWE wrestler Sable.
More recently, 2009 saw Robert Rodriguez announce plans to produce a new ‘Red Sonja’ movie with Rose McGowan in the lead and Douglas Aarniokoski directing. A number of teaser images were released to widespread fan interest, but the project failed to gain momentum.
McGowan went on to take an unrelated supporting role in 2011’s ‘Conan the Barbarian’ reboot, alongside Jason Momoa.
Around that time producer Avi Lerner announced that Simon West (‘The Expendables 2’) was attached to direct a new ‘Red Sonja’ movie, with Amber Heard mooted as a possibility for the lead at the time, but it would seem the box office failure of the ‘Conan’ reboot put those plans on ice - until now.
No potential candidates to direct or star in the new ‘Red Sonja’ have been mentioned just yet - but most fans will be hoping for something a bit less camp than the 1985 movie (even if this writer thinks it’s not quite as bad as it gets made out to be).
Picture Credit: Dynamite Entertainment, MGM/UA, Troublemaker Studios