have lists. On these lists are people they want to work on their films. As in every other aspect of life, wanting and getting are not the same thing, but sometimes these lists are interesting because it lets you look inside of a project, to see what direction it’s going in. That’s the case with the recent story we ran about Gerard Butler and X-Men Origins: Wolverine – it wasn’t that Butler was signed on or even in talks for the role of Sabretooth, it’s that the filmmakers wanted him, and that lets you know where they’re going. They’re looking for someone with more acting chops than Tyler Mane.

Speaking of Gerard Butler, he’s on top of everyone’s lists these days. It’s not just 300 fallout, although that is what got him kickstarted – it’s that he’s a geniunely tough guy. He’s a man, unlike so many of the other actors we’ve been stuck with the last few years. Everybody wants him to show his chest, kick some ass and make the ladies swoon. If there’s an action-oriented movie in pre-production right now, someone is talking about getting Gerard Butler to star in it.

The latest such talk is about the new Conan movie, but that isn’t the interesting part of the story. The other part is that the producers are looking at John McTiernan – director of Die Hard, Predator and his own imminent jail sentence – to helm the movie. Make no mistake, McTiernan has fallen off in recent years – hello, Rollerball! – but his history is filled with greatness. Considering his recent troubles, could he be hungry enough to step up to the plate and, if not hit it out of the park, take a mighty swing at the ball? I’d love to see it, and McTiernan has all of my support if Conan is going to be something he works on.

And meanwhile, the ball is in Butler’s court. What kind of a career is he looking for? Will he be happy as an action star, or will he be sprinkling plenty of PS I Love Yous in with the bloodletting? He’s at a weird spot right now, one where he probably has a lot of options, but the wrong choices in the next year or two will see them all dry up.