Rose McGowan Gets a Freaky New Look in ‘Conan the Barbarian’
12 May, 2011

Rose McGowan in ‘Conan’ Lionsgate Films


Rose McGowan has had some wild looks in the past. The most notorious of which was the barely-there chain mail dress she wore to the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards when she attended with Marilyn Manson. But even that outfit can’t compare to just how crazy her appearance is in this summer’s new movie “Conan the Barbarian.”
McGowan plays Marique, a part-human/part-witch villainess with a high forehead, twisted hair, and no eyebrows. McGowan told WWD.com that her striking transformation “required six hours of makeup each day starting at 2:30 in the morning.”
Her all-leather costumes were also challenge. McGowan said, “The costumes were feats of engineering, and it took two people to get me in and out of almost every one of them.” Once she was in the outfits, it didn’t get any easier. “All of them except for one I could not sit in, so at lunch I would just kind of stand in my trailer because I didn’t want to hurt them.”
McGowan’s character is the daughter of Khalar Zym — play by “Avatar” baddie Stephen Lang — the brutal warlord who murdered Conan’s father. Taking over the role of Conan is 6’4" Hawaiian native Jason Momoa, who can also currently be seen in HBO’s fantasy series “Game of Thrones.”
McGowan’s real look
The actress has been circling the Hyborian Age, the mythical time from the “Conan” books written by Robert E. Howard, for several years. In 2008, she and director Robert Rodriguez announced they would be collaborating on a new movie version of “Red Sonja,” a character created in Marvel Comics’ “Conan the Barbarian” book in 1973. That project was ultimately scrapped, but it did open the door for McGowan to take on a different role in the new “Conan” movie.
As it happens, McGowan’s character wasn’t actually written for a woman. According to ComicBookMovie.com, in the original script Khalar Zym had a son named Fariq. Rewriting the role not only gave McGowan the chance to be in the movie, it also created a female adversary for Conan’s love interest Tamara, played by Rachel Nichols. Nichols told the New York Post, “We have a fight scene and she is after my blood... It’s quite cool.”
To see McGowan’s freaky on-screen look and preview the sword-slashing heroics in the new movie, watch the exclusive trailer for “Conan the Barbarian” below. The film opens August 19.