When Connor MacLeod said “there can be only one” at the end of Russell Mulcahy’s 1986 cult classic Highlander, he clearly had no idea how popular the film was going to become. USC film student Gregory Widen’s tale of immortals living amongst us – forced to fight to the death with swords in a battle known as The Gathering – caught on with geeks around the globe (we geeks love swords – which made Highlander becoming popular a no-brainer) and spawned one of the worst sequels ever (Highlander 2), a decent third and marginal fourth entry, a television series that ran six seasons, a spin-off series, a terrible film on SyFY, comics, a kid-friendly animated show, an awful videogame…and now, a remake.
Early reports about a Highlander redux had Fast and Furious director Justin Lin set to bring us an updated tale of Connor MacLeod’s quest to survive The Gathering and win the universe’s ultimate prize. Say what you will about Lin (he’s good at what he does, which is make movies with lots of car races and chases and little else), but we just couldn’t see him pulling off a flick with lots of sword fights. Luckily for fans, the next installment of the Fast series has Lin tied up – and now Summit and RCR Media Group have their sights set on a new helmer: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo.
Fresnadillo, who wowed horror fans with his film 28 Weeks Later, is in Toronto promoting his latest release, Intruder – and has yet to publicly comment on the possibility of directing Highlander. We’re crossing our fingers (and swords) in the hopes that he says yes. It’s sort of exciting to imagine a Highlander reimagined through Fresnadillo’s perspective – the filmmaker’s already demonstrated that he can take an existing narrative and continue it while staying true to the source material and making it uniquely his own at the same time, and that’s the kind of director a project like Highlander needs.
It also needs someone with a keen visual eye, as one of the things that made the original film so memorable was Russell Mulcahy’s scene compositions. Some of those look very dated by today’s standards, but Mulcahy’s music video background was used to give the original a fresh and different look back in 1986. We think Fresnadillo can do the same thing in 2011.
We can’t even guess who might play the roles made famous by Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, and Clancy Brown in the source film, but we do know that the script for the remake was penned by Iron Man scribes Art Marcum and Matt Holloway – and that the screenplay has generated positive buzz in Hollywood. Reports indicate that it will stick closely to the series’ source mythology (and not the various permutations that emerged from the sequels and television series), and despite jokes about Twilight Saga screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg polishing the script, Immortals will not sparkle when in close proximity to each other.
We’ll bring you more on this story as it develops.