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'Conan the Barbarian' Director Reveals How Reboot Will Differ From Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic

Jason Momoa takes on the iconic role in Lionsgate's update of the 1980s film franchise, which opens Friday.

August 19: "Conan the Barbarian"
Lionsgate

For many, there will be only one Conan the Barbarian: Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But the director of the reboot, which hits theaters Friday, said he wanted to give moviegoers a reason to see the new take on the character Schwarzenegger made iconic in 1982.

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He said the creatives behind the film started by making sure the Cimmerian warrior had more of a modern sensibility.

"Our collective perception of who Conan is really changes through the decades and is not just defined by one thing alone," Marcus Nispel told USA Today. "He needs to be updated."

The new movie finds Conan, played by Jason Momoa, going into a world where he survives as a thief, pirate and warrior after his father is murdered and the village is destroyed. He then meets the warlord responsible for the destruction of his tribe.

"Is this still a generation that embraces or reveres machoism?" Nispel added "Are they still into an experience where you get dirt under your nails, and that's sweaty and grimy and hard-core? I believe they will be."

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And, Nispel argues, younger moviegoers likely aren't familiar with Schwarzenegger's 1982 film.

"That's why we're here to relaunch the franchise," he said. "Get Conan back out there. There's a whole generation of kids who don't know who he is."

Meanwhile, Rachel Nichols, who plays a female monk named Tamara in the movie, praised Momoa and what he brought to the role to separate himself from Schwarzenegger.

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"There's a finesse that he brings to the character that is very modern and very sexy," she said. "It's less 'Me Tarzan, you Jane,' and he's got more personality."

Rose McGowan, Stephen Lang and Bob Sapp co-star in the Lionsgate feature, which will be available in 3D. Watch a clip from the movie's first scenes below (warning: it's graphic).

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