We’ve known that a Highlander remake was in the works for at least a year now, and as of a month or so ago the rumored top contender for the lead was Ryan Reynolds. Well, now it’s official: The Tracking Board is reporting that negotiations have concluded and that Reynolds play the immortal “Conner McLeod,” a Scottish highlander who has survived through the centuries and now fights with other immortals to claim the Prize of mortality. (The “Conner” spelling is taken from the Tracking Board’s story; he was named “Connor” in the original film. It’s not clear if this is a typo or if they’ve changed the spelling for some reason.)
The film will be directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, who previously helmed the 28 Weeks Later sequel. He’s also said to be in negotiations to rewrite the script. The Highlander remake script has been through several writers so far, including Matt Holloway (Punisher: War Zone), and Melissa Rosenberg (the last several Twilight movies). Rosenberg’s Twilight connection is enough to make an old Highlander fan’s hair stand on end, but hopefully the rewrites will get it into fighting shape. From the sound of things, it seems as if they’re sticking pretty closely to the premise of the first film. Which, given how the various Highlander sequels turned out, can only be a good thing.
As for the idea of remaking Highlander in the first place…honestly, I’m having a hard time working up any ire about this one. While I still love the original film, and this reboot is just as pointless as most of the others infecting Hollywood these days, it’s not like the property has been in good shape before this. The franchise dove headfirst down the toilet with Highlander II: The Quickening, then somehow found a way to dig even deeper with the sequels that followed. If they can find a way to reinvigorate the concept, I say more power to them.
The biggest question mark, honestly, is Ryan Reynolds. While I’m not on the hating bandwagon when it comes to the guy, his track record isn’t the best. I thought he did fine in Green Lantern despite working from a crummy script, and he was genuinely good in the one-man horror flick Buried. Sure, he isn’t Scottish, but I’m betting at the very least he can pull off a more convincing Scottish accent than original Highlander Christopher Lambert…