The Highlander reboot has been in development hell for some years now. In 2008, Summit Entertainment purchased the property with the hopes to re-introduce the film franchise into pop culture. At one point Ryan Reynolds was attached to play the role of Connor MacLeod, aka the Highlander, the final immortal. He has since dropped out of the project, along with the reboot’s director Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later). Now it seems that Highlander‘s producers have found a new director to take his place.
According to Deadline, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan will make his feature film debut with the Highlander reboot. Nicolas-Troyan previously worked as visual effects supervisor and second unit director on Snow White And The Huntsman. He also worked on the visual effects on Gore Verbinski’s The Ring and Mark Romanek’s directorial debut One Hour Photo.
Cedric Nicolas-Troyan is a longtime fan of the Highlander film and TV series. The filmmaker grew up loving the series because most of the film was shot in his native France. Nicolas-Troyan “geeked out” when he got an opportunity to meet the film’s producer. He says:
My first reaction, like everybody else, was, really, do we need a remake? Then I read the script, and I thought about how Russell Mulcahy was this super visual video director who brought the pulse of the ’80s to the film so well. I started thinking about taking those great characters and matching them with a modern, visceral take, and then I was in love with the idea and I just went for it.
The reboot is scheduled for a 2014 production start, while Nicolas-Troyan will supervise a quick pass on the script before the film is cast. The plan for the reboot is to bring the series back to a respectable position, despite its more wackier moments in the past. Nicolas-Troyan continues:
‘It all comes down to that first movie, but there are great themes in the show,’ he said. ‘It’s the rare cross-genre concept that has elements of the Western, time travel, fantasy, action, contemporary. There are universal themes, but of course you need to provide the answers like the first film did. Who are these guys with swords? Why are they fighting each other? What is the prize and how are they drawn to each other? There is far more at work here I want to explore than the lightning that happens during the Quickening.’
Highlander’s former director Carlos Fresnadillo left the project in November 2012. Fresnadillo didn’t see eye-to-eye with Neal H. Moritz (the original film’s producer) and Peter Davis (the TV series’ producer) on the reboot’s storyline. Fresnadillo left Highlander for The Crow reboot starring Luke Evans. Director Justin Lin was also attached to the Highlander reboot at one time, but he left to make Fast Five and Furious 6, so in hindsight, it was a good move. Lin remains Highlander‘s executive producer. It’s believed that Nicolas-Troyan will cast the lead with a European actor instead of an American (I mean, Canadian) like Ryan Reynolds.
It looks like the reboot might really happen this time around, but fans should still remain cautious considering the production’s long history of false starts and failures. Although Summit Entertainment has yet to announce a release date, it’s most likely that the Highlander reboot will find its way into theaters sometime in 2015.
You can watch Cedric Nicolas-Troyan’s short film, “Carrot Vs. Ninja,” below.