USA Today reports that the Red Sonja movie has taken a leap forward – Robert Rodriguez is now attached to produce, with Rose McGowan starring as the red-haired warrior. The film, to be directed by Rodriguez associate Douglas Aarniokoski is slated for a 2010 release. This will be, of course, the second time the character has travelled to the screen, the first being 1985’s Red Sonja starring Brigitte Nielsen and Arnold Schwarznegger.
The film news is the latest in a building Sonja resurgence, begun by the character returning to comics at Dynamite Entertainment in 2005. Through Dynamite, the character has now seen its longest-running series and most acclaim in comics to date.
According to the USA Today report, McGowan was approached first (she found the concept funny – “I do have a body made for sitting on a veranda with mint juleps and a parasol. I don't know why I always have to save the planet,” the actress tells the paper), and she then took the script to Rodriguez, who said he saw the actress as the perfect fit for the character.
"Rose is a pistol,” Rodriguez tells USA Today. “She's whip-smart, has attitude to burn, is sexy, extremely strong, yet has a vulnerable side that would surprise her closest friends. That description also fits Red Sonja."
McGowan said that she will undergo extensive physical training (and presumably a dye job) for the film, which is slated to go in front of cameras in October. The movie’s story will tell Red Sonja’s origin, and will, according to Rodriguez, take its cues from the comics as well as creator Robert E. Howard’s themes.
Newsarama readers will recall that the comic book version of Red Sonja is not the exact character created by Howard, who also created Conan, the Barbarian. Howard created a character named “Red Sonya,” while comic book creators Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith are credited with the creation of the scale-mail bikini wearing Red Sonja (with a j). Rather than keeping her in her original 16th century France setting, Thomas made her a contemporary of Conan.
Rodriguez is hoping to use the film to launch a franchise.