Director Chad Stahelski Talks ‘Highlander’ Reboot

While director Chad Stahelski is waiting for Matrix 4 to complete before he can begin shooting John Wick: Chapter 4, he’s also still developing a feature film reboot of the beloved 1980s action film Highlander starring Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, and Clancy Brown.

The original 1986 film spawned multiple sequels and a couple of television shows.

HIGHLANDER – An immortal Scottish swordsman must confront the last of his immortal opponents, a murderously brutal barbarian who lusts for the fabled “Prize”.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Chad gave some insight and updates on the current status of the Highlander project.

STAHELSKI: “As far as Highlander goes, it’s a project I’ve been working on for a little over three years now. It’s a project that’s not only near and dear to my heart but also the other creative people that are involved in it. It’s something that we feel we’ve got a good direction on. It’s just a tough nut to crack because the Highlander property is so involved and the mythology is so deep. But to try and make it our own, and be somewhat true to the original, yet do it in a way that makes it ours, is a little tricky. We don’t want to do a remake. We don’t want to do a reinvention. We want to do something that’s fresh, that utilizes the mythology of what everyone loves from the first movie. To make a good film is hard, to make a great film is even harder. We choose challenging projects in trying to be new and diverse — at least something that the audience hasn’t exactly seen our way yet. So, time is always a good thing, but I think I have a knack for picking projects that aren’t easy to develop. So, that’s good, I guess.

He was also asked to give his pitch to the younger John Wick fans, who might not be familiar with the Highlander property given that it really hasn’t had a modern incarnation.

STAHELSKI: “It’s a cool story about… I call it the burden of immortality problem. You’ve got a group of individuals that, for some cosmic reason, have been allocated to be immortal. They have to live through human times and experience the human experience over centuries. The caveat to that being everyone you love or anyone whom you can bond with, you’re going to outlive. And the only people you can relate to, other immortals, the one simple truth is that there can be only one of you at the end. So, that means the only people you can relate to or actually become friends with want to take your head. So, how do you live through life with that kind of loneliness or that kind of burden upon you, knowing that you have to push love aside and you have to push friendship aside? And still learn every fighting style in the world because at the end of it, it’s one big gladiatorial pit over centuries, that there can be only one. And your mission in life is to survive, learn as much as you can and sword fight to the death. Come on. If you can’t get behind that, done to some really cool music, I don’t know what you’re doing.

When Highlander will begin shooting remains to be seen as Chad has been mulling over potentially tackling a series (likely at Starz) to help flush-out the mythology to a new generation that might be unfamiliar with the mythology.

John Wick: Chapter 4 is officially on deck next with a May 2022 release date and is presumed to begin shooting sometime in 2021.

It was recently reported by Deadline that the director is putting together another action film at Paramount Pictures that would focus around cars/driving with a script penned by Andrew Nemec and Josh Appelbaum.

There were also some teases last month from John Wick franchise writer/creator Derek Kolstad while speaking with Comic Book that John Wick: Chapter 5 is a possibility, which could be the final installment of the Wick franchise.

KOLSTAD: “Because when you look at having been a part of establishing and building out the foundation of this world, you sign that first contract, I’m a nobody. I am part and parcel with both a part of it and not, and yet you just want to give it your blessing and have them play and have them play well. I’m not like a George Lucas in this capacity.”

 “I am the guy who wrote the spec that got made and I was blessed enough to be part of three, and hope, in a certain respect, to be a part elsewhere. The studios reminding me again and again that it’s become bigger than me, but that is as iconic a studio line as you can hear. And yet, it’s been a fucking joy.”

I guess we’ll have to wait and see what Lionsgate ultimately does with the property.


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