News, Reviews and Interviews by fans, for fans THE FANZINE FOR CLAN: THE RENEGADE HIGHLANDER APPRECIATION SOCIETY
t o o Rebtest La ws! Ne
Interview Highlander series producer
The cousins MacLeod reunite 12 years after Endgame
Highlander lovers take the genre to new heights
GREETINGS Well, that didn’t go to plan. Welcome to the long (repeat for about half an hour) delayed latest issue of Highlander Heart. My profound apologies for the length of time it has taken for me to get this to you. I do have a good reason though, and right now he’s sleeping upstairs (although I’m expecting him to wake up at any moment). Towards the end of 2012 my wife gave birth to our third son, Oscar. Now, we’d done this before (twice) and thought it would be a breeze. It wasn’t. Having two boys under 10 to contend with, as well as my growing freelance business was more than enough to make life more complicated... and then we decided to move house so Oscar could have his own bedroom. Suffice to say, as the clock struck 12 on Dec 31st, we breathed a sigh of relief and pleaded with whoever was listening that 2013 would be a whole lot quieter.
All the latest Highlander news from around the world
Ken Gord Interview
The legendary Highlander producer discusses his time on the show. 6
We delve into the incredible cinematic work coming from two devoted fans 10
Highlander’s Blu-ray releases get a grilling
Brothers in Arms
Covering the on-stage reunion of Adrian Paul and Christophe Lambert 18
All of which means that Highlander Heart 12 took a record time to get to you. It also means that, as of this issue, I won’t have time to keep on producing this labour of love. But... it doesn’t end here. After much thought, I have decided to remould the format into a website where you’ll be able to get all of the articles, news and reviews one a more regular basis, rather than waiting for me to find the time to lay them all into magazine format. The more I think about it, the more it seems to make sense. I hope you all agree. So to this issue. We have a great feature on a flurry of incredible independently shot Highlander shorts, an interview with TV series producer Ken Gord and coverage of that on-stage reunion of Adrian Paul and Christophe Lambert. Not only that, but we give you a rundown of how the current raft of Blu-Ray movie releases fare. So, grab a shot or two of Glenmorangie (I am) and enjoy our final issue... then go add www.highlanderheart.com into your browser favourites. Until next time, hold fast and don’t lose your head.
Editor Grant Kempster Contributing Editor Robert McGregor Contributing Writer Valoise Armstrong Special Thanks to Andrew Modeen and Jeremy Orr Highlander © Davis Panzer Inc. All Rights Reserved
The latest Highlander news from around the globe
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Highlander Reboot loses yet another director
Another one bites the dust There’ve been quite a few twists in the road since we last reported on the Highlander reboot. The first of which was that Hollywood hunk Ryan Reynolds had been cast in the lead role (a fact which immediately created uproar in online communities).
walked from the production citing ‘creative differences’, leaving the project in limbo once again.
Despite this controvercial casting, there was still hope as the recently hired director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo was still onboard... and then he wasn’t.
Interestingly, yet another writer (Noah Oppenheim) has been brought on board to tweak a script already penned by three high-profile names. All of which means that it’s anybody’s guess where the project will go next, or if it will ever even see the light of day.
In a very familiar turn of events, just as 2012 was drawing to a close, Fresnadillo
Whatever happens, we’ll keep you posted on the latest.
No Lambert cameo in Highlander reboot Christophe Lambert recently admitted that he hadn’t been asked to make a cameo appearance in the upcoming Highlander reboot. “It’s too close to me,” He told Today. “And I’ve done my Highlander bit. I’ve had a great time with it. If they were asking me to do like five minutes in it just as a wink to the audience, I would do it. But they didn’t. I think it would be right that they don’t ask. They have to stay away from the original.” Lambert also chimed in on the controvercy surrounding the remake. Christophe Lambert
I don’t think a remake would work.
“I don’t think a remake would work. I think a good one would be Man on Fire, which was directed by Elie Chouraqui – a French director – and then re-made (in 2004) by Tony Scott. It wasn’t a ‘remake’ of the movie. It was a new Man on Fire. And that’s exactly what I would do with Highlander.”
Chat to other readers, swap stories, post videos and have your say
Highlander Heart goes online!
No, honestly, this time it really does!
Last issue we somewhat prematurely announced the arrival of Highlander Heart online. Logistical issues unfortunately prevented it from coming to fruition... but no longer. Sadly, this is the last issue that will take the guise of an actual magazine. Hereafter,
all articles and features will be available online. This means you’ll get your Highlander fix faster than ever! So, from now on, make sure that www.highlanderheart.com is locked into your favourites for all the latest news, reviews and features.
www.facebook. com/groups/ highlanderheart/
Valoise Armstrong talks to Highlander: The Series producer Ken Gord about his career and time on the show... ANY FANS LOVE THE HIGHLANDER CAST, but without producer Ken Gord the series would not have had the exceptional locations and sets that helped make it great. At the Highlander Worldwide 9 convention in Los Angeles in April 2009 I had a chance to sit down and talk HIghlander with Ken. Although the schedule was absolutely packed, he made time for the interview in the middle of Saturday afternoon and found that after all these years he still loves to talk about Highlander and he had plenty to say. Q: I was just wondering on the early days in working on Highlander, did the nature of your job change until the end? Ken: Yeah, my job when I first took over was to see what I thought was right and wrong about it and change it from the first year. The things I loved about it were Adrian; I thought he was fabulous, a little too serious. I thought for a guy who lived for 400 years he should be a little more loose about the world, have more of a sense of humor, which we talked about when we first met. He said, “I absolutely agree with that, I want to have more humor.” I didn’t like his wardrobe at all the first year. I thought that he was wearing too many bright colors and he should just simplify. We’d put him in jeans and a t-shirt where he just looks fabulous. And I made a decree, sort of, like no yellow and red and purple on the Highlander. And of course every now and then I’d walk on set and he’d be wearing a red t-shirt or something and go, “Ha, ha, Ken.” We had a little bit of fun with that. I thought that the sets were wrong. I thought that the sets were too complicated. I don’t know if you remember the first [season], it was kind of an antique store but they also lived there and it was very strange. To my way of thinking, the sets had to be made absolutely grounded because the whole notion of the series was so fantastic that if you don’t ground the audience with something they can identify with — like four square walls and the guy lives in a loft or four square walls in a dojo where he works out — then they have no basis for suspending disbelief. If it’s all sort of fantastic... who lives in an antique shop?
I wanted to simplify it and I had a few creative discussions with the production designer [from] the first year. We killed Tessa and we were going the create his loft and create the dojo and he gave me gave me the first plans. He had all these ladders, because you know designers want to have fun. So had all these things going here and things going there. And I was like, “Nope. All out. I just want four square walls.” He said, “Wow. Oh my God, you can’t just have four square walls.” And I said, “Yes. That’s exactly what we’re going to do.” We had one stairway going up which led to some place, we never knew where it was. But I just felt very strongly that you had to ground it. That was sort of putting my stamp on it. And from there to the end it was basically just keeping winding up the machine, keeping it on track. That was not difficult to do when you have such talented people. Basically just hire the right people, let them do their job and give some guidance now and then. And casting. Casting was the main thing. Casting was where I spent most of my time. Q: Was simplifying the sets to basically four square walls, was that also to simplify the shooting? Ken: No. Nothing to do with shooting. Because it actually makes shooting harder. The directors don’t like four square walls because first of all, it’s going to be boring. What they want is more texture. They want the ups and downs and all this kind of stuff, but I didn’t want to give it to them, for the reasons I just described. Because one of things I thought, after I watched the first year, was that the strength of the show was the same as it’s weakness, which was that it was user unfriendly. So anything that I could do to make it a little more user friendly... In other words, a show like Walker: Texas Ranger, you could jump in at the beginning, you could jump in ten minutes in, you could jump in the last ten minutes, and you know what? You’re in the show, you can understand exactly what’s happening. There’s no effort necessary to get involved in the show or understand it. Highlander was exactly the opposite. It was like a thinking man’s action show, full of all this mythology which you had to learn as a viewer and all these rules. So you couldn’t just jump
You’ll find everyone in this business wants to be something else. into the show. You had to learn about it. You had to be told by someone else about it or you had to slowly get into it. So if I could help people by grounding it somehow, so they could at least get a place to start to identify, they would have an easier time to get to the difficult places which was the mythology. Does that make sense? Q: Yeah, it does. One thing a lot of us do like is Queen of Swords and I know you also worked on Queen of Swords. I was curious, I know there’s always cultural differences in the way people do business. Is producing a show in Spain different than in Paris or Vancouver? Ken: Not so much Spain to Paris or Vancouver. It’s more North American television—I wouldn’t say North American, maybe British and Australian, English language—is done very, very quickly. Episodic television is just brutal in terms of, we do eight to thirteen pages a day, day after day. Basically, it’s a creative assembly line. But when you get to other countries, they may shoot with the same kind of schedule, but maybe it’s just talking heads, which is easy. Soap operas do thirty pages of dialog a day, which is close-up space. Our show had sword fights and action, pyrotechnics and flashbacks and all kinds of crazy stuff. There’s a learning curve. That’s a long way of answering your question by saying that when you go into a space like Spain, you’re basically building a machine, a production machine from the ground up. So you’re bringing in all of these people, and you’re hoping they’re the right people, and as soon as people start seeing what the schedule is like after one or two days — twelve hours of work is a minimum day in television, so it’s usually thirteen, fourteen hours. Actors have to come in sometimes two hours early. Makeup and hair people come in early and camera people have to stay late because they have to check the cameras. It’s a grueling, grueling thing and in Spain you’re in the middle of the desert and it’s 40 degrees [104 Fahrenheit]. It’s a real war. I would say all of the Spanish crew were not used to that kind of schedule. Some of them thought it was absolutely insane and quit. And that’s what we want, because we don’t want people who don’t want to handle the schedule. Some people we fired because they couldn’t handle the schedule and that was us having to shape the machine. But whatever was left in terms of the crew and the
team were fabulous because once you get the thing wound up and you get into the groove — you’ve survived the cut and you’re now doing it day after day — it’s a beautiful thing. Q: Did you also do the casting for that show? A lot of the secondary characters were really good. Ken: Yeah, I did all the casting. Q: Were they mostly Spaniards? Ken: It was a combination, depending on the part. Either they came from Spain or they came from London. Q: Anything else about Queen of Swords, working with Val and Peter and David in a different context? Ken: It was a fun show and I like westerns so it was great. We created our own little universe. We shot where Sergio Leone and a bunch of other guys shot spaghetti westerns. It was exactly the same place in an actual western town. We spent about $200,000 and we painted it and built stuff and put in our standing sets. But we created a world, that was our world. We only went out occasionally to do other stuff. It was fun in a way because it was creating California 1800s in the desert of Spain and I love that period. To me it was fantastic. Production-wise it was kind of murder because, like I said, it was the desert, shooting in July and August. It was 40 degrees, guys like Peter and Valentine were wearing wool costumes and working thirteen hours. They’re on horseback doing sword fights. It was just murder, but that’s what television is. Television is just hard work, really hard work. But I think if you ask me which I prefer, well Highlander is just special. Q: I completely agree. On imdb.com, I noticed that you’ve got a couple of projects where you’re writing and producing right now. How are you finding that? Is that your first jump into writing? Ken: Well, I’ve always written. Almost everyone in the business writes. They say scripts are like, I’ll say noses, everybody’s got one. But I think over the last year or two I’ve just gotten lucky in collaborating with some people in that our story and our writing
has just jelled. So, I think those things are going to happen and it’s satisfying for me because I’m the creative producer. When you’ve written it as well as producing it you’re just showing more of your creative chops. Q: If you’re a creative person in any way, is part of that you want to try things from different angle, in different ways? Ken: You’ll find that everyone in this business wants to be something else. Actors want to be directors, producers want to be directors, directors want to be directors, writers want to be directors. Everybody wants to be a director. Some people want to be writers. Because everyone in this business is a self-starter, I’m not going to say ego-centric, but you have to believe in yourself. Basically it’s you against the world. It’s not like you’re working for somebody. You’ve got to always be out there trying to survive in a very tough business. So for me writing is sort of second nature, I’ve always written, and I think everybody else whose a hyphenate is doing the same thing, just sort of exploring their creative envelope seeing how far they can push it. Q: That leads us to the next question. Some people talk about how when they get out of film school they want to direct. How did you happen to move in the direction of production? Ken: Well, that’s interesting because, first of all, I’ve never wanted to be a director. I would make a lousy director, I can tell you that right now. I like directing maybe second unit where you can do a beauty shot or something. I really have no aspirations for that. I’m the one guy you’ll find that doesn’t want to direct. But it started out in the early 1970s. At that time in Toronto there was actually no industry, it was low budget Canadian films and the CBC. I just fell into it by accident and I started producing right off the bat and I had no idea what I was doing but I bluffed and after I had bluffed long enough I kind of learned. I worked my way down to being production manager where you actually learn the nuts and bolts of production and worked my back up to being a line producer and a creative producer. It’s just sort of a fluky kind of journey. Q: Had you been to conventions before? Ken: During shooting. I had only been to cons during shooting. I was at the first one in Denver. There was one in Baltimore. And I think one in Anaheim.
Q: How are you finding it? Ken: I love them. The reason I’m here right now is that I was in LA a few years ago and I was at David’s house just visiting and Abramowitz was talking to me about all these cons in Australia and Leeds and all these great places. And I said, “How come nobody ever invites me? Nobody knows more about the show than I do. You weren’t there. Everyone knows it from their own department, but I know it from every department.” So he said, “Let me see what I can do.” He wrote to Carmel and said, “Can you invite Ken? He really wants to come.” So she did invite me and I had a great time. The reason I have a great time is because it’s gone now, but it was fantastic, the whole thing. To be able to relive it for a few days and just be in that Highlander cocoon. There’s some adoration there and I’m a fan myself so it’s a love fest, you know? In a good way. Q: How unusual is it that producers get to have that kind of interaction with fans? I know that fans usually want to talk to the stars, hard-core fans to the writers and directors. The producers? How unusual is that? Ken: I don’t know because I have ever gone to any other conventions. I know that I enjoy talking to them about. I just want to say one thing since you touched on something that was interesting. One of the reasons that the show is so good, is really because of the fans. This is not a line, this is actual reality. Because in my second episode — I didn’t even know what the internet was at that time — Gillian and Donna were in the writing room sending up these things from chat groups. I didn’t even know what this stuff was, but they were sending up all the things, fans talking about the show that they had seen a month before or something. They really loved the costumes and [so forth]. I was amazed because this was the first time were able to get actual, not just immediate feedback, but feedback whatsoever. I couldn’t believe it. So I used to read these things. They used to cull them for me and I would put them on the call sheets. Letters from the fans. And I’d put on, “We love your costumes.” “We thought this was great.” Just the positive ones. I did that as a cheerleader to stoke the crew and the cast. To tell them, “You know what? People are watching the show. People like this show and you’d better care about this show because it’s really important to the fans. They’re out there and they’re the ones that are keeping us on the air. They like what we’re doing.” So we wanted to give back. We would have done a good job anyway, we’re professionals. But that gave it an extra dimension.
I’m a fan myself so it’s a love fest, you know? In a good way.
Highlander fans Jeremy Orr and Andrew Modeen discuss taking the fan film to new heights with their upcoming short films...
NTIL 1997, fan films were something of a non-entity as far as the general public were concerned. While there were plenty of people running around the woods with lightsabers looking for Ewoks, or men in big scarves tackling cardboard Daleks, the culmination of their efforts would be seen only by a scattering of friends and loyal family. Then there was the Internet, and with it, an outpouring of appreciation for cult film and TV… but it would take one man to really bring the fan film to the attention of the world. Kevin Rubio did something that nobody had done before (although plenty had tried). With his short film, Troops, he managed to create something that looked so convincing that you’d be forgiven for thinking George Lucas had popped out with his DP for a cheeky bit of filming. And he wasn’t alone. In 2003 Sandy Collora took fan fulfilment one-step further by assembling a bunch of film-school and industry pals to pit Batman against not only the Joker (played by Walter Koenig’s son, Andrew) but Alien and Predator (long before the latter two faced off on-screen) in his short Dead End. Since then, every film has had its fair share of fan film entries, and Highlander is no exception. But until now, few have lived up to the expectation provided by the likes of Troops and Dead End. Until now. When Highlander producers revealed that they were looking for fan-made documentary shorts to accompany their Blu-ray release of Season Two of the series, two fans decided they would rise to the challenge. Actually, no, they decided they would rise above it… and then just keep on going. “I never really intended to do any sort of fan-film,” says Jeremy Orr. “Andrew Modeen contacted me and asked if I would shoot a bookend sequence for a short he was putting together, and suggested I make one of my own. But rather than do a documentary, I just decided to do a narrative short, which would be Watchercentric, and see if they’d still go for it. They ended up including it on the season 2 set, and contacted me afterward saying they’d be interested in further instalments for the remaining sets.” Clearly both Jeremy and his partner in crime on that first project, Andrew Modeen, had been bitten by the bug. “As time went on,” Modeen explains. “I was mulling over the idea: ‘Now, how awesome would it be to do a full-on short film for them for the Blurays, if the doors are open to this kind of material?’ not unlike Jeremy Orr did in his first Watcher episode. ‘Pretty awesome,’ was the answer I quickly arrived at. Talking to the powers that be, they came around to the idea on the condition that it not involve the Watchers, as Jeremy would be featuring them heavily in his own works. Done and done.” With permission granted to take Highlander beyond the original series, Jeremy and Andrew both began work on what would turn out to be an epic journey.
“I sat down with my co-producer and Director of Photography, George Thomas,” Orr explains, “and along with some help from one of our actors, Thomas La Rue, we put together an outline for the remaining episodes. I think we came up with some good stories, which stand more or less on their own, but all turn out to be directly related to events in that first short.” “Even though New Mexico is currently experiencing a bit of a filmmaking boom,” Jeremy continues, “I’m in the wrong part of the state, so we don’t have a terribly large pool of actors in the area. I tend to work with a lot of the same people, from film to film. Our lead Watcher character in this series is played by a local actor named Heath Cates, who did some Soap Opera work out in LA, but came back to NM to start a family. He had worked on a cou-
ple of films with us before this, and in this case, I wrote the character with him in mind to play it. Our lead Immortal is actually played by my younger brother, Michael Chandler, who was right there with me the first time I watched that old VHS tape of the original film. He’s as big a Highlander fanatic as I am, and has been acting in our short films from the beginning. He also happened to be the only actor in our stable with any sword experience at the time, so I was happy to cast him in the role. We did hold auditions for a couple of roles, but most of the cast came from within our established group. I tend to think of us as a “garage band” style production company.” While Jeremy was getting ready to shoot in New Mexico, Modeen was assembling a cast for his first short, Dark Places, in Seattle.
“Before things grew to include a full crew and production,” Andrew explains. “The general idea was just me – very grassroots-style – going around with my little Kodak HD camera shooting some friends that could act, with things to be heavily cut up and edited later on in post-production. As things grew, we did hold some auditions and what we ended up with was something bigger than what we started out with, but something still very much sprouting from the same spirit it had begun with. When we met local Seattle actor Moses Olson, we knew right away we had found our Highlander. Mark Rahner was also a great find and great fit as our ambiguous “holy man.” Then, for the second and third films we opened the doors to draw upon even more from the local Seattle (and even Portland) pool of actors/actresses and have subsequently worked with some great talents like Christian Lagadec, Yulia Hancheroff and Ronee Collins. It has also been a joy to watch the evolution of Erika Tadeo as an actress over the course of the three films we’ve shot so far. One of the biggest thrills for me personally has been working with George Motakis, an internet buddy (on the HLBB, originally) for many years – a lawyer by trade, actually – who flew in from Michigan entirely on his own dime not once but twice so far for our Immortal “supervillain”… his enthusiasm has been infectious and we were all impressed at how quickly he nailed and owned his part, Keradoc/Vlad, who will be delved into heavily and focally in the fourth and final film, Dark Beginnings.” With a cast and crew assembled, both Highlander fans called ‘action’ for the first time, embarking on all the highs and lows that filmmaking have to offer… except without the budget. “Even though we were focusing our story on a Watcher,” Orr reveals. “We absolutely HAD to include some sword fighting in this series, but that presented its own challenges. Aside from issues with choreography, and teaching some of the actors how to fight on-screen, we had to deal with the weapons themselves. For safety reasons, I didn’t want to use live blades for any actual combat, but we didn’t have the money to spend on screen accurate prop versions of our various weapons. In the first two episodes, we simply used wooden props, painted to match our live blades. These actually worked surprisingly well on camera, but it required that I keep the camera further back during the fights. For the latter episodes, one of our supporting actors, Jon Lard, made a set of aluminium doubles for our swords, which provided more options in shooting.” “The biggest challenge by far was scheduling,” Jeremy discloses. “Everyone in the cast and crew has day jobs, but Heath, our lead, has had to spend extended periods out of state for work. On top of that, both Heath and Michael have had children during this production, so that’s played havoc with the schedule as well. On the upside, the delays have allowed me to further develop and expand the story we’re telling, so there’s a silver lining to much of the frustration.” Jeremy Orr wasn’t alone in his trials and tribulations of course. “With any production, I think, there are some ups and downs but I believe we made the most of things,” Modeen explains. “For many
of us I know it was a major learning experience, a trial by fire. I had never hoped or planned to be a director so it was as daunting as it was humbling, but it was great to be surrounded by so many very talented people. It has been a massively rewarding and educating experience, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity. My director of photography, Benito Vasquez, a visual savant, has been there with me through much of this, and I feel we’ve both grown professionally as a result. I like to think we’ve grown things with each movie. With Dark Places we were very much finding ourselves within a fairly lean revenge story, shades of Search for Vengeance and Something Wicked. One thing that sticks out in my mind – and it’s absolutely nobody’s fault – is the day we went to shoot the final swordfight and we get about three or four takes into the first bit inside this enormous warehouse… and then the lights go out. Like literally, lights out in the warehouse. Poof. We had to scramble and figure things out on the fly on how to salvage the shoot and ended up filming outside on a loading dock by some train tracks which in retrospect actually might have even been for the better visually. Dark Reckoning was a pretty breezy shoot… we shot the bulk of it in a weekend, largely in Seattle and a boiler room. We also opened the door to some basic green screening, too. By Dark Endings we were shooting in airplane hangars and ice caves, and doing a little more green screening. With Dark Beginnings, almost entirely set in 1400s Romania, we’re going all-out with the green screening (about 75% of the movie will be shot in such), so this is largely uncharted territory for us now. I’m very excited to see what we can achieve.” While both Modeen and Orr clearly had a handle on the story aspects of Highlander in their interpretations, there was no getting away from the fact that they would need to introduce the franchise’s signature element: The Quickening. “Quickenings are an important visual signature for any Highlander production,” Jeremy explains. “And we have a number of them in this series, and I also did the Quickening FX for Andrew’s Dark series of shorts. Conceptually, I wanted to keep them in-line with what we have seen in previous iterations of the franchise, but I wanted to put my own spin on them, as well. We don’t have the capability of doing big pyrotechnics on-set, as they would in one
of the features, or on the series, but these days, digital FX can make up for a lot of that. So, the on-set aspect really boils down to having the actor flail around a bit while we hit him with lights and a fan. It looks pretty silly when you’re doing it, really.” “While in filming, some use of strobe lights and leaf-blowers,” Modeen elaborates. “In post, some green-screening and a lot of digital mayhem. To tease a bit: Dark Reckoning (the second film) might just feature the most graphic on-screen beheading ever seen in Highlander, and Dark Endings (the third) features a pretty massive Quickening involving a parking lot of exploding cars. A few cues are taken from some of my favorite Quickenings throughout the films and episodes which fans will probably recognize.” With production on Orr’s Watcher shorts and Modeen’s Dark trilogy coming to a close, both filmmakers are excited about the reception that their films might garner when the Blu-ray box sets are finally released. “I’m sure fans are already beginning to wonder if they’ll ever get to see them… but they will.” Modeen says. The two are also grateful for a collaboration which has been mutually beneficial, despite the fact that neither of them have ever met in person. “It has definitely been fun collaborating with Jeremy Orr on these short films,” Modeen says. “It seems like we’ve been collectively working on them and talking about them for so long now.” “It’s been fun collaborating with Andrew Modeen on his shorts,” Orr agrees “Aside from the stylistic similarities in FX I’ve dove for both, we’ve managed to work in a few little nods between our two series. The watcher character from the bookends I shot for Andrew’s documentary, played by Thomas, appears as a main supporting character in my series, and Immortals from Andrew’s series will be seen in Watcher reports. The Immortal I myself played in those bookends appears, via some FX trickery, in a scene in one of Andrew’s films. So, I feel like we’ve carved out our own little corner of the Highlander universe.”
The latest Highlander merchandise reviewed by us
THE HIGHLANDER MOVIES Robert Alexander McGregor reviews all five films in glorious hi-definition...
Video Quality: HD 1080p with an Aspect Ratio of 1:85.1
Video Quality: HD 1080p with an Aspect Ratio of 2:35.1
The HD transfer of is pretty good considering the age of the movie and budget. From the start of the movie everything looks great up until its gets dark. A lot of the scenes are filmed at night and the black levels can be very inconsistent and grainy. Long and wide shots can be very rough but the close ups are quite incredible with clear and crisp images making the viewing much better but it’s the flashback scenes that makes Highlander worth the jump to HD. From the time when we are introduced to the Clan MacLeod riding into battle till we see the mortal MacLeod sitting on the hills of the Highlands, we are treated to some of the most spectacular visuals of the movie and as such they look sharp and crystal clear as we should expect of this High Definition Format. Audio Quality: DTS-HD Master with English 2.1, English 5.1, Deutsch 5.1, Español 2.0 Mono, Italiano 2.0 Surround, Portugues (Brasil) 2.0 – Subtitles are available in English, Deutsch, Francais, Español, Italiano, Portugues (Brasil), Portugues, Nederlands, Svenska, Norsk, Suomi, Dansk and Japanese The Audio was always one of the best things about the original Highlander, from the haunting Michael Kaman score to the glorious music of Queen. So as fans we would hope that the music has been given the respect it deserves and I’m happy to say that It has. The DTS HD master audio is incredible and a delight to listen to. Extras: Highlander Documentary: A legend is Born, The Visual Style, A Strong Woman Christopher Lambert Interview (in French with English Subs) Commentary with Director Russell Mucahy. A compilation of deleted scenes in HD (no dialogue just music) Trailer HD With the Exception of the deleted scenes which is in high definition everything extra is just as it is on previous DVD releases and are just up scaled to 1080p.
The HD transfer is pretty bad considering this was the most expensive movie in the franchise. From the start of the movie everything looks up scaled and not much better than the previous Region 1 DVD release, which was supposedly re-mastered. There are some good HD moments in the movie like the fight between Connor and the flying hedgehogs… sorry Korda and Reno but for the most part it’s pretty dire. Something tells me that this is the best we are ever going to get which is a shame as the quality could do with a clean and brush up. One for the true Highlander fans only. Audio Quality: DTS-HD Master with English 7.1, English 5.1, Subtitles are available in English, Francais and Español The Audio is pretty impressive and it’s the one thing that makes it worth buying in my opinion. Stuart Copeland’s score is great but not as amazing as Kamen’s and with the exception of some Queen music in the movie the songs are pretty forgettable and well out of place in a Highlander movie but still sound great. Extras: Highlander 2: Seduced by Argentina The Redemption of Highlander 2 The Music of Highlander 2 The Fabric of Highlander 2 Shadows and Darkness: The Cinematography Original Cannes Promotion Reel Deleted Scenes Trailer Al the extras have been in the previous 2004 edition and all are in Standard definition but look a lot better than the movie. Still the suppimental material is a must for al Highlander fans and the deleted scenes are an insight to just how bad this movie was or could have been.
Highlander 3 Die Legende
(Region B - German) Video Quality: HD 1080p with an Aspect Ratio of 2:35.1 This Bu-ray has been clearly up scaled from the master and could do with an incredible amount of remastering. Comparing the image to the previous DVD there isn’t much difference but we are treated to a proper widescreen version of the movie which we were denied in the UK DVD version so this is worth picking up or tracking down but I’d try and get it for a lower price as value for money is not on the cards with this release. Audio Quality: DTS-HD Master Audio with German 5.1, English 5.1, Subtitles are available in German The audio is to be expected of a Blu-ray release much better than the DVD audio and like Highlander 2 there are some very odd musical choices. Extras: None
Audio Quality: DTS-HD Master with English 5.1, Subtitles are available in English for the hard of hearing The Audio is pretty good and the movies score was actually a lot better than I had expected but sadly the only song addition was again Bonnie Portmore and absolutely no Queen which for me is tantamount to sacrilegious. Extras: Deleted Scenes Visual Progression Featurette Same extras as the UK DVD and just as disappointing, I was hoping for some of the stuff the Region 1 DVD got with the alternate cut of the movie and a lot more of the interviews and behind the scenes Featurette’s but nothing old or new here that impresses me, sadly.
Highlander The Source
(Region B German) Video Quality: HD 1080p with an Aspect Ratio of 2:35.1
Disappointingly there are absolutely no extras, frustrating since this was the most expensive DVD to get a hold of.
Highlander Endgame (Region B)
Video Quality: HD 1080p with an Aspect Ratio of 2:35.1 The HD transfer is pretty good, with cool crisp images throughout and with the exception of a few scenes being overly grainy and saturated like the scene where Connor returns to Glenfinnan and a shot of the original Highlander was edited into the movie. I was very happy with the image since I had been so disappointed by the two previous Highlander Bu-ray’s. It’s definitely worth picking this one up as its far more superior than the DVD release.
The HD transfer is incredible which is to be expected as the movie was shot in High Definition. There are very little problems with the image quality that I saw and considering this is the cut we saw on the Russian DVD release we are greated with the full movie and not the butchered “Producers Cut” which we all know just made a terrible movie worse. Audio Quality: DTS-HD Master with German 5.1, English 5.1, Subtitles are available in German only The Audio is very good with a strange mix of Haunting and heroic music that is clearly better than any of the previous scores with the exception of Kaman’s. Buy this at your peril or just make sure you get it really cheap or better still as a gift. Extras: Some Trailers for other movies Nothing worth mentioning here and quite disappointing to be honest.
It’s the flashback scenes that makes Highlander worth the jump to HD 17
S IN ARMS Christophe Lambert and Adrian Paul feel the pull to a faraway land...
DRIAN PAUL AND CHRISTOPHE LAMBERT first met in 1992 on the set of the pilot episode of Highlander, the serialised telling of one immortal’s journey through the ages while battling with others of his kind in modern day. Had the producers decided to stick with their initial plan of using a recast Connor MacLeod as the central character, the two would never have met. But luckily for them (and us), Paul became Duncan, a cousin of sorts to Connor, and a friendship both on and off screen, was born. “We always had a very good relationship together,” Lambert explained while appearing at Birmingham’s Greatest Show in the Galaxy, alongside Paul. “Adrian was taking over [with] Duncan on the TV show and you know, it was just something natural. It wasn’t like looking at me having made the movie and saying ‘oh, someone’s taking over in a TV series’. It was spontaneous, it was generous, it was human.” “The one thing that was very good for me as an actor was that I was playing Duncan MacLeod and not Connor MacLeod,” Paul agrees. “And I think that really helped the fact that there was a series and a film being separated and both characters being able to be on screen at the same time. Originally Christophe wasn’t going to be available for us so I was going to playing Connor, and I didn’t want to be playing Connor. I’d had have to have stepped into his shoes and I didn’t want to do that. Big shoes, big feet.” “I think what Adrian says is very important,” Lambert continues. “It’s not stepping into the shoes of Connor. We had to separate
I didn’t want to be playing Connor. I’d had have to have stepped into his shoes and I AP didn’t want to do that. the movie from the TV show to keep the essence of exactly what Adrian was saying. When I read the first script on Highlander 1, I was touched by the romantic side of this guy that couldn’t die. The pain of this guy. The movie on the whole is science fiction action movie, but before anything it is a romantic movie. And what I love about the TV show is that they kept that and to keep it for a movie that’s an hour and 40 minutes long, I’m not saying it’s easy but it’s easier. To keep it for six or seven years of a TV show is extremely difficult. I think from Adrian to the producers and the people involved in the series, they did a great job in keeping that.” While Adrian and Christophe’s connection occurred in the early 90s, Lambert’s journey began further back when he was first cast in 1985 to play the 400-year-old immortal. While the film didn’t garner much praise initially, it of course went on to become a cult hit, although the actor admits that this prospect never entered his head.
“I read the script,” Lambert explains. “I loved the script for its sensitive side more than for its action side but you never accept the role thinking it’s going to be iconic or it’s going to become a cult movie. You just do it because you feel something about it that is close [to you]. And that’s exactly what I felt about it.” “What I loved about it was that it wasn’t just about cutting off heads and it wasn’t just about the idea of immortality,” Adrian concurs. “It was about feeling the essence of somebody else. I always tell people this, the one moment for me was the stag. You’re running down the beach with Sean Connery and they see the stag and he says ‘feel the heart of the stag’, and that’s very cool, the idea of feeling the essence of somebody else and that was part of what you were able to receive as an immortal. So there was a spiritual aspect to it.” Despite having only worked together on a handful of occasions,
While Adrian Paul and Christophe Lambert have always shared the lead role, Highlander would be nothing without the Highlands themselves. A fact that both actors lay testament to. “I gotta tell you that I have a huge preference for Scotland,” Lambert enthuses. “For the roughness, but mostly for the people. What you see is
what you get, they give you everything they’ve got. The landscape is unbelievable and what struck me the first time I’m at Scotland is that you have four seasons in one day. It’s beautiful weather, then it’s snowing, then it’s hailing, then it’s raining, then it’s beautiful again. In one day. It’s fabulous. I was stunned by Scotland, I didn’t know Scotland and I discovered something that’s mind blowing.”
given that the two have both worked within the world of Highlander for so long, there is no shortage of common ground. “In the first episode, Christophe had a fight with Richard Mohl,” Adrian notes. “And Richard is a big guy and just swung and swung. It was night and there were lights, and that’s where you’ve got problems. The stunt guys teach you a lot.” “It’s exactly as Adrian was saying, it’s a lot of rehearsing,” Lambert agrees. “When we did Highlander 1 we started rehearsing with plastic swords, wooden swords, aluminium swords and then heavier and heavier and that was after 10 weeks, 12 weeks, 14 weeks of work. What was great was that [Adrian] does more than I do, he likes it and he was very helpful in Highlander Endgame because I was trusting his way of doing things. It was very cautious to begin with because he knows how dangerous the swords are. I was having much more pleasure and much more willingness
But with the beautiful scenery comes another aspect that can’t be ignored. The iconic Scots accent which was something of a challenge for the Frenchman. “First of all I had two judges,” Christophe laughs. “My voice coach with whom I practised for 16 weeks and then I had the legend, Sean Connery. This French/American guy is playing a
Scotsman while the Scotsman is playing a Spaniard. So from time to time, Sean was looking at me saying, “Christopher, this is not right”. So I had two voice coaches on set. It was interesting.” “What’s great about being an actor is that, a French guy is playing a Scotsman and it’s a matter of practice, it’s a matter of work, it’s a matter of belief.”
to train with Adrian than some other guys. Some guys are great but some guys are showoffs, they just go full blast, full blow, full whatever. When you have 40 pounds of steel and it’s coming at your head you only have two solutions, either you get out or you have to be really prepared and it’s not about how strong your blow is, it’s the way you sell the blow and Adrian on that level was very talented.” “When you’re dealing with weapons or anything, you have to train because you get adrenaline,” Paul adds. “Actors come in, they can be proficient in what they do, but everybody that works, does it differently. So you have to practice. On a TV show, you don’t have that much time to practice sometimes, so you’ve got to know that you have to pull a blade. Those were techniques that when we worked together, we understood, but if somebody doesn’t, you have to be very, very careful.”
Often criticised for being a bit of a boy scout, Adrian defends Duncan MacLeod’s choices. “Chris will probably agree with this, you play a guy who’s been around for 300 years you’re going to change over time,” Adrian explains. “Duncan MacLeod in the year 1992 or
94, whenever we decided it would be, had become what he has and through all the things he’s done he’s now realised that he has to follow a certain amount of rules and he has to do it a certain way. Whereas when you see Connor MacLeod in the past he is much more of a loveable rogue. Duncan MacLeod, in the flashbacks,
Another aspect that both actors have had to deal with is the quickening, a challenge for any actor. “Even though Connor MacLeod has had more kills, I’ve had more quickenings,” Adrian laughs. “Because I’ve had 117 episodes to do them in and I try to make them different every time.” “No matter how long you rehearse,” Lambert reveals. “In between the rehearsal and when you do a take and the director says action, if the mechanical stuff is not in your mind you’re definitely going to fuck up, so that’s why it was 10 weeks, 12 weeks, 14 weeks because at ‘action’ you’re not yourself any more so you need to have something automatic about the moves and the way you conduct yourself, that’s why you rehearse. It’s exactly the same if you ask me how you do a quickening. I’ve no idea what I’m doing between ‘action’ and ‘cut’. I’m another guy, I’m somebody else and most of the time when the director calls ‘cut’ you just wake up.”
went through that as well. The amount of stuff I had over it was basically I would get the script and say, “Okay, I’d like to play this this way”. And we talked about a timeline. Unlike a movie that’s one and a half hours, with the series you’ve got 117 episodes. When you do episode 45 and you’ve done a scene from a
flashback in episode 22 you’ve got to know exactly what your character was doing at that point in time. So we created a timeline, and I created a timeline as to who he was at that particular moment in time. So in a sense I had a certain amount of control over it but I went through what was given to me.”
“In reality,” Paul chips in, “when people go, “So what exactly is it you’re thinking?”, I go, “Well, it’s like an orgasm, you don’t really think do you?” “It was a painful orgasm.” Christophe laughs. Following their brief paring in the first episode of the TV series, it wouldn’t be until 2000 that they would meet again professionally, on the set of Highlander Endgame. It would represent a longawaited continuation of their relationship and a passing of the torch from Lambert to Paul. For this to happen, however, someone’s head was going to have to roll. “To act it was, it was emotional because Adrian had done a lot,” Lambert explains. “He’d just finished the TV show and I’d done three movies before and suddenly you have to leave a part that’s been part of your life. But I think there is an acceptance that
I can say that Adrian is a friend even though I’m not seeing him all the time.
some things are going to come to an end. I was happy it was with Adrian and I think the way the whole thing was dealt with was right. The whole story was that whatever this guy was saying in Highlander 1, saying, “You know what, you have to keep on walking, you have to keep on going. It’s been 450 years of joy and pain. Without the power of Connor, he wasn’t going to be able to win against evil, so he wanted to let go. That’s the way I took it, a lot of emotion but a lot of joy about doing it with someone that I cared about.”
While Connor MacLeod may not have survived that day, thankfully their friendship has. Appearing 12 years after Highlander Endgame shot, they seemed as comfortable together as they did on set in 2000. “I cannot say that we see each other every day,” Lambert admits. “But each time we bump into each other… the business is very much like, you’re very good friends on the movie set and then sometimes you don’t see them for a couple of years, but when you have a good relationship, when you feel that person has been giving something to one another… I can say that Adrian is a friend even though I’m not seeing him all the time.”
“The funny thing for me was I was in an awkward position,” Adrian reveals. “Because I was having to go and kill Connor MacLeod and somebody’s going to give me shit for that somewhere down the line so they’d better feel for me for what I was going to have to do. I was following in somebody else’s footsteps. So I had to get Video footage of the interview can be found on our the audience behind me and go, “Look, he had no other choice”. Facebook group.
For all the latest news, reviews and interviews
The magazine might be dead, but the Highlander Heart beats forever... www.highlanderheart.com
The Latest and last issue of our Highlander Fanzine