For a long time, the Highlander remake was passed between various writers and directors like the cinematic equivalent of a hot potato, which resulted in Lionsgate and Summit’s fantasy actioner being sentenced to a life on the shelf in perpetuity. The dormant project finally showed some signs of life a few years ago though after John Wick co-director Chad Stahelski climbed aboard to direct and develop the reboot.
If you’re not familiar with the property, it’s actually pretty cool. Basically, there are a group of immortals fighting each other for “The Prize” (which is apparently ultimate knowledge and power). As you can imagine, though, immortals are pretty tough to kill, with the only way to be sure being to sever their head from the body, preferably using a brutal broadsword.
The 1986 film introduced us to the titular Highlander Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert), mentored by Sean Connery, and had a kick-ass soundtrack by Queen. It’s kind of ridiculous in a weirdly loveable sort of way, but it certainly has its fans and according to Stahelski, he’s still planning on getting the reboot off the ground.
“I still very much want to go in and do Highlander,” he told EW. “I’m a huge fan of a property I’m involved in, and working on the script now, called Sandman Slim, which I f—ing really really like. It’s a [fantasy] book series by Richard Kadrey. We’re working on the script right now. So, between those two projects, I feel very fortunate.”
When pressed about the film’s possible rating a while back, the director explained that that particular decision lies in the hands of the Powers That Be.
“Thus far the people in charge of the pocket book and all that, they’ve asked [the rating question] and I said, ‘Look, the way I work, the way we did John Wick, we never set about making a hardcore rated-R action movie, we said we’re going to do this, this is the design we want to do, this is what we feel is fun. If heads coming apart is an R, great. If heads coming apart is a PG, great.
Ratings are second to what we’re going to do. Highlander, I think the action is — at least what’s in my head — is going to fall on a line, for sure. We want to design it what we think is aesthetically cool, and so far I’ve met no resistance, they’re like, ‘Look, whatever you did with John Wick with the gun stuff, we want you to try and do with the sword stuff. We want you to make something cool and something unique, and something that’s going to make audiences say ‘Wow, I haven’t seen that before.’”
While hopes are high that the project will reinvigorate the Highlander franchise, with the studio apparently eyeing sequels if this one proves to be a hit, it’s still very, very early days. In fact, aside from the John Wick director’s commitment to making it, there’s been no real tangible signs of progress in some time. Once things do get going in earnest on the reboot though, we’ll be sure to let you know.