Conan The Barbarian Director Shares Honest Thoughts After Jason Momoa Admitted He Thought The Movie ‘Sucked’

Jason Momoa as Conan the Carbarian
(Image credit: Lionsgate)

Jason Momoa has become one of Hollywood’s top leading men in recent years, but he didn’t get there without a few missteps. The actor recently talked about his attempt to reboot the Conan the Barbarian franchise in 2011, and how that movie “sucked.” Now, the movie’s director Marcus Nispel has responded to Momoa’s comments and he doesn’t entirely disagree, though he does give the whole experience a positive spin.

The belief that 2011’s Conan the Barbarian sucked is what you would call “conventional wisdom.” Most people who have seen it would probably agree with you, and a lot of people probably haven’t seen it because they heard it was bad. The good news for Jason Momoa is that it didn’t end up stalling his career, despite it being his first starring role on the big screen. Director Marcus Nispel is also glad that didn’t happen. He recently told People that he was also unhappy with the Conan movie that was made though none of that is because of Momoa. Nispel said…

As a filmmaker in this system you are a dog on many leashes. Trying to get Conan done under those circumstances was the worst experience that I had and I was as unhappy with the result. I am happy though that none of this got in the way of Jason's career path…I always stood by the decision to make Conan with him.

While there are a lot of details that we don’t know about the production of Conan the Barbarian, that the movie was a complicated and messy creation is known. Momoa’s initial comments refer to the movie being “taken over” and while it’s unclear what that means, it certainly aligns with Nispel’s comments. If he was being pulled in different directions by various elements of the studio system, and making the movie that they wanted rather than the movie that he wanted, that would certainly qualify as being taken over.

One area of potential conflict may have been the casting of Jason Momoa in the lead role. Nispel says he always stood by the decision to cast Momoa, which implies that there were others that did not. This would be Momoa’s first major action-adventure role. While audiences would see Momoa first on Game of Thrones, production of Conan pre-dated that which meant Momoa was essentially an unknown going into the film. It’s perhaps understandable why some might not have wanted him, though he seems like perfect casting now.

Conan the Barbarian certainly didn’t slow Jason Momoa’s career rise for very long, if at all. The Game of Thrones role led to other opportunities. The same can probably not be said for director Marcus Nispel who has only directed one film since Conan. If the movie had been a smash hit, that probably would not be the case.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.