Brett Ratner seems like a perfect fit for Beverly Hills Cop 4: a director nobody likes making a sequel nobody wants. It was announced back in May that he was taking on the project, with Eddie Murphy and an R-rated approach intact despite rumors to the contrary on both counts. But now, with a BHC 4 script still unfinished, Ratner is looking at something to work on in the meantime -- a reboot of Conan the Barbarian.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ratner is thisclose to signing a deal to direct a hard-R-rated Conan, with a 2010 release in mind. The screenplay is by Joshua Oppenheimer and Thomas Dean Donnelly, who also wrote Sahara and A Sound of Thunder and based their Conan script on the original stories from the 1930s. (Yes, that's when Conan was created. No, he wasn't an ancient mythological character.) THR notes that Oppenheimer and Donnelly are "doing a quick polish" of their work "to incorporate some of Ratner's ideas." That doesn't bode well -- but then again, neither does hiring the guys who wrote Sahara and A Sound of Thunder.

On the other hand, the original Conan stories weren't exactly high literature. They were pulpy, cheesy, and goofy. The first Conan movie, Conan the Barbarian, which helped launch the career of a certain U.S. governor, wasn't very faithful to those stories, but it was successful in its own right. The sequel, Conan the Destroyer, was jokier and went for a softer rating, thus dooming the franchise after only two entries. A loud, explosive, over-the-top, ridiculous reboot might be just what the character needs -- in which case Ratner is definitely the man for the job.

Oh, and Ratner still intends to direct BHC 4, too, only now it will be after Conan. That means for the next couple years, Ratner will be too busy to interfere with anymore superhero franchises, which will help a lot of comic-book geeks sleep easier.