Those of us waiting for definitive news on a new Highlander movie know all too well that our hopes have often been delayed, dashed and sometimes destroyed as the different levels of general development hell pull the possibilities one way or another.
Though seen as a mythology still full of aspects to explore or reinvent, the potential is there but progress has often been in frustratingly small and awkward steps.
But it does seem there’s real movement and interest now. During recent press events for the release of John Wick: Part Two, the film’s director Chad Stahelski also spoke of his progress as the latest director of the proposed reboot.
And, for once, it doesn’t seem like vague lip-service. Stahelski told the Collider website of his passion for the project and gave clear indication that he’s a genuine fan with a broad knowledge of the mythology and history to date…
“I think the [original Highlander] TV series hit on a lot of great stuff wasn’t in the feature, between the Watchers and all the different types of immortals. How do we get this into a feature mode before we dribble it into the TV world? Well, let’s restructure it in parts, let’s look at it like it was a TV show, let’s look at it like it was a high-end trilogy. How to we tell the story of the gathering the quickenings, the immortals and how do we really build this world out even more so than the original project. That’s what we’re restructuring right now. It’s taking all the good stuff that we had before I was involved in the project from the script; redeveloping the script to give us really good chapters one, two and three; and expanding the world…”
Yes, it does seem that not content with one film alone, Stahelski is conceiving a trilogy of sorts, ones that might stand alone as singular stories in some respects but which would weave together into a broader saga without wrapping everything up in a mere two hour production.
He came from a kick-boxing background; he entered the film field as a stunt performer at the age of 24. Before that, he worked as an instructor at the Inosanto Martial Arts Academy in California, teaching Jeet Kune Do/Jun Fan. After doing numerous roles in low budget martial art movies like Mission of Justice (1992) and Bloodsport III (1996) his first start as a stunt double came from the movie The Crow (1994) for doubling late Brandon Lee whom he trained with at the Inosanto Academy. After Brandon Lee‘s lethal accident Chad was picked for his stunt/photo double because he knew Lee, how he moved, and looked more like him than any other stuntman.
Though his directorial credentials came to the fore when he worked with colleague and c-director David Leitch on the first John Wick film, Chad Stahelski has a solid and practical background working on films such as The Crow and serving as Keanu Reeves’ stunt-double on The Matrix. He ultimately formed a company called Smashcut with his stunt colleagues and the list of films to which he has contributed or overseen the stunt aspects include the likes of Tomorrow Never Dies, The Replacements, Spider-man 2, Van Helsing, xXx: State of the Union, Mr & Mrs. Smith, V for Vendetta, Serenity, The Expendables and The Wolverine.
While progress is still slow, it does seem that 2017 may finally be the year when some of the most important pieces in returning Highlander to the screen are finally set in motion and in some capable hands…