Growing up a bookish child amid the oil field roughnecks of Cross Plains, Robert E. Howard found deliverance in fantasy, dreaming up far-off realms filled with roving warriors, stony palaces, and monstrous serpents from his small Central Texas town. It’s a good thing Howard didn’t have Netflix back then, or the world probably wouldn’t have been given his greatest creation, Conan the Barbarian—or, for that matter, the entire sword and sorcery genre, which the Texan author fostered through a prodigious run of pulp stories published in the twenties and thirties. And thank Crom he did, because now the streaming service has a new Conan series in the works to distract us all from our own slow descent into barbarism.
Deadline reports that Netflix is currently searching for a writer to develop a new live-action show based on the Cimmerian warrior, whose mythical feats Howard first conjured during a trip to Mission, drawing on memories of the misty Hill Country outside Fredericksburg to imagine his bygone world. The Conan character appeared in nearly two dozen of Howard’s own stories before the author grew bored with him and moved on to Westerns. But the character has since lived on in decades of books, comics, games, TV shows, and, of course, films, in which Conan has been played by Arnold Schwarzenegger and, most recently, Jason Momoa—although not all of them have been so successful as 1982’s Conan the Barbarian. Any new adaptation would obviously live in the shadow of Schwarzenegger’s Teutonic take on the strongman, mangling dialogue about the “lamentations of their women” and regarding every character and rock with the same flat disinterest. Still, with any halfway-decent casting and enough banging of swords, it could be worth binging an episode or six.
Jamie Foxx Returns as Spider-Man Villain Electro
Hot on the heels of Cedar Hill’s Jonathan Majors joining the Ant-Man sequel comes the news that his fellow Dallas-area alum, Jamie Foxx, is taking his own place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Hollywood Reporter says the Terrell-born star is in talks to reprise his role as spark-spewing supervillain Electro in a new Spider-Man movie, setting up a potential crossover between Sony’s abandoned Amazing Spider-Man franchise with Andrew Garfield and the current, Marvel-owned Spider-Man series starring Tom Holland. Some have even speculated that Foxx’s return—along with the recent reappearances of J.K. Simmons’s J. Jonah Jameson and Michael Keaton’s Vulture characters—presages a possible live-action version of the Spider-Verse that will attempt to bridge the character’s various movie incarnations into one mind-and-timeline-bending team-up. The best part? With the pandemic delaying Spider-Man 3 until at least December 2021, we have literal years to speculate and argue about it.
Megan Thee Stallion Continues Hot Streak With Saturday Night Live Performance
It’s been a history-making few weeks for Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion. She’s seen her latest single, “WAP,” resting comfortably at the top of the Billboard charts. She landed on the cover of Time, where she’s been hailed as one of this year’s 100 Most Influential People. And this weekend she’ll cap off that remarkable streak by performing as the musical guest on the forty-sixth season premiere of Saturday Night Live. Megan also appears in promos for the episode alongside host Chris Rock, where the duo don face masks—and increasingly more outlandish protective gear—to joke about how totally not weird it is that they’ll be performing to a much smaller, socially distanced live audience at Studio 8H in the midst of one of the most perilous eras in the show’s decades-long run. Eerie, dystopian atmosphere aside, it promises to make history, too.
Woody Harrelson Wants You to Fix Your Dirt—and Save the Planet
SNL recently recruited Jim Carrey to play Joe Biden, effectively robbing us of another month to eight years of Woody Harrelson donning those blinding white veneers. But if you still want to hear the Midland native talking gravely about climate change, you can check out the new Netflix documentary Kiss the Ground, in which Harrelson joins celebrities like Gisele Bundchen and Jason Mraz in extolling the virtues of “regenerative agriculture”—fixing the quality of our soil through more sustainable farming practices, which could be key to saving the planet. Yes, it’s literally a movie about dirt. Yet Kiss the Ground is also billed as the rare climate change doc that’s actually hopeful, rather than merely apocalyptic. Besides, if Woody Harrelson’s voice can’t inspire you, maybe this planet just doesn’t deserve to be saved.
Did Post Malone Get a New Tattoo?
He did not, and frankly, it’s beginning to seem deliberate—especially in light of this recent video that shows Post Malone, needle in hand, using it to tattoo someone else. To pass on getting a new tattoo for yet another week, while still engaging in the act of tattooing—of his own name, no less!—feels like the Grapevine rapper is enacting a grotesque parody of everything we’ve been waiting for. It seems pointedly, intentionally defiant. Post Malone is mocking me, I’m certain of it. Why, he might just go the rest of his life without getting another tattoo, inking up every square patch of skin he comes across that isn’t his own, merely to spite me! Well, game on, Post Malone. You have no idea how long I can keep this up.
Oh, and he’s performing at the Billboard Music Awards.
This Week in Matthew McConaughey
Like an even less grounded Robert E. Howard, Matthew McConaughey has been escaping into books lately himself—specifically, books that he’s written, books he’s adapting into podcasts, and, if John Grisham has his way, books he’ll soon be bringing to the big screen. Last week, McConaughey shared a photo of himself reading an advance copy of Grisham’s A Time for Mercy, the upcoming sequel to the 1989 thriller A Time to Kill that gave McConaughey one of his first breakout roles. And now it seems that McConaughey wasn’t just revisiting Jake Brigance for his own nostalgic indulgence. Grisham tells USA Today that he really does want McConaughey to revive the character in a sequel, saying, “It’s up to Matthew, if Matthew wants to do it, the movie will be made.” Of course, the normally sequel-averse McConaughey has previously expressed interest in reprising a different attorney, The Lincoln Lawyer’s Mickey Haller, saying it was “of all the characters I’ve done, the one I’m most excited about … carrying on.” But if Matthew McConaughey’s tweets constitute binding endorsements—and the entire premise of this feature is that they do—then Jake Brigance is back, baby.
In the meantime, Greenlights—the Matthew McConaughey guide to a simpler, happier life through liberally applied aphorisms—debuts in mere weeks, and he’s been gearing up for a virtual book tour that will now feature several celebrity guests to stare at him in bemused wonder. October 20 will see McConaughey sharing Zoom air with none other than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who at least shares his zeal for motivational quotes; October 23 will reunite him with his How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days costar Kate Hudson; and October 20, 21, and 24 will see him paired up again with Idris Elba, not in The Dark Tower sequel we’ve been so long denied, but in something that promises to be equally confounding. All of this, obviously, is just a prelude to the main event: the Greenlights audiobook, which McConaughey confirmed this week that “you’re damn right” he’s recording.
The magnanimous McConaughey even offered up a full two-minute preview of your future road-trip staple, in which he teases the book’s litany of “felts-and-figured-outs, cools and shamefuls, graces, truths, and beauties of brutality, getting-away-withs, getting-caughts, and getting-wets-while-trying-to-dance-between-the-raindrops.” It’s a two-fisted pulp tale that should allow you to slip away into your own fanciful world of wildly untamed appropriated nouns and platitudinal sorcery.