After helming only one feature-length film in 2013, the Keanu Reeves action fantasy 47 Ronin, director Carl Rinsch became the subject of an intense bidding war. His next project, a series titled Conquest was bought and paid for by Netflix to the tune of over $55 million. Unfortunately, due to a bizarre string of creative and legal battles between the streamer and the filmmaker, the series will almost certainly never see the light of day.
The New York Times claims rights to Conquest were purchased by Netflix back in 2018, during the height of the streaming revolution, when each new streamer popping up in the cinematic marketplace seemed too big to fail and eager to spend money on original programming. Now, nearly six years later, the $55 million series has never materialized. The half-decade-long tale of Conquest‘s downfall uncovers a strange pattern of behavior, including COVID-19 conspiracy theories, cryptocurrency scams, and behind-the-scenes abuse.
Despite being quite in demand as a filmmaker, Carl Rinsch had developed something of a negative reputation before signing on to create Conquest for Netflix. For starters, the filmmaker was barred from the editing room on 47 Ronin after engaging in a long and hard-fought battle with producers, resulting in the final product being a muddy and artistically inconsistent mess. As a result, Netflix executives promised Rinsch complete oversight of the final cut for his series in hopes that the deal would provide the filmmaker with enough creative control to prevent further conflict between him and the producers.
The half-decade-long tale of Conquest‘s downfall uncovers a strange pattern of behavior, including COVID-19 conspiracy theories, cryptocurrency scams, and behind-the-scenes abuse.
Allegedly, Rinsch’s behavior rapidly grew erratic once the ink on the streaming deal had dried. According to his former wife, Uruguayan model and fashion designer Gabriela Rosés Bentancor, Rinsch’s grip on reality had begun to slip long before the Conquest Netflix deal ever took place.
The fine details regarding Rinsch’s behavior on and off the set have only recently become public as part of the pair’s divorce, where it is stated that Rinsch would frequently overwork his employees, gamble chunks of his production budget on cryptocurrency stocks, and, on several occasions, punched holes in the wall to intimidate his wife during arguments.
Carl Rinsch’s tenuous grasp on reality can be traced back to his early childhood by those close to him. The young filmmaker, who was raised in the United Kingdom by his insurance salesman father, would reportedly espouse tall tales of living in Africa for most of his childhood while maintaining that his father was a secret agent of a shadowy government agency. After Conquest was purchased by Netflix in 2018, the pandemic stuck during a 2019 overseas shoot, resulting in Rinsch crafting a conspiracy theory suggesting that the coronavirus was a man-made serum that traveled through coordinated lighting attacks from the sky.
While shooting Conquest overseas for Netflix, Rinsch’s mental state continued to deteriorate, leading to the filmmaker refusing to sleep for several days and accusing those around him of trying to have him assassinated. A representative from Netflix was sent to check on the director after complaints from the cast and crew of abusive behavior. When broached by executives regarding the status of the production for the past several years, Rinsch has remained consistently explosive in his responses.
With several episodes of Conquest allegedly shot, the director has refused to share any footage with Netflix or even allow the streamer to assist in getting the production back on schedule. For now, it seems that Netflix and Rinsch are in a deadlock, with legal threats flowing in both directions alleging breach of contract. No matter what happens next, the series is doomed to forever remain in development hell.