Highlander: there can be more than one

One of the most exciting events this year for fantasy fans is the return of both Highlanders in the new movie Endgame.

Grant Kempster packed his katana and went to the set.

In the full version of this feature, Grant Kempster also talks to Peter Wingfield (Methos), Jim Byrnes (Dawson), newcomer Lisa Barbuscia and director Doug Aarniokoski!

Excerpts selected from Xposé #48

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I can remember several times when I thought I was cold. Walking across the Queensboro bridge in winter for example, cross-winds ripping through me in every direction. But in late November of 1999 I discovered the true meaning of the word cold, as I stood on the set of Highlander: Endgame in the bleakly picturesque country of Romania, where temperatures come prefixed with a minus symbol and the wearing of multiple layers is a pre-requisite. A thin sweater, jeans and shoes is not enough, believe me.

But as it happened it was a nice way to break the ice (so to speak) on my first day on set, as the sight of a shivering reporter was enough for people to warm to me, or at least feel sorry for me. I was here to witness something that fans of Highlander would kill for – the filming of what many are calling the final chapter of the franchise, and the transition of its TV star to the big screen. In particular, the scene they would be shooting today is one where Connor and Duncan MacLeod meet again after 10 years.

At this point very little was known about the content of the film so, interested to learn what the two main protagonists in this movie are up to, I first ask TV’s Highlander, Adrian Paul. “He’s resolved what he needs to resolve in this movie,” explains Paul. “People always ask me, ‘So what is Highlander IV about?’ and in one word, it’s redemption. It’s about redemption for Duncan MacLeod for something that’s happened in his past, it’s about redemption for Connor MacLeod to try and figure out a way to continue surviving, and obviously it’s about love and revenge. It also shows the difference between how Connor MacLeod and Duncan MacLeod see life.”

And how does Connor MacLeod, or rather the man behind the character which has graced three movies and the TV series pilot episode, think about the new film and his role within it? “Number four is heavier,” relates the incredibly approachable Christophe Lambert, “It goes back to Glenfinnan, and it goes back to Rachel who is his mother, daughter, whatever you want to call her, and it goes back to what made Highlander to start with.”

The arrival of this fourth chapter in Highlander’s eclectic cinematic series has brought concern from many quarters, largely due to the fact that the past two sequels were a bit rubbish. Lambert, of course, is quick to defend them.

“I think if you look at it, if you’d have called Highlander II, ‘Aliens from Another Planet,’ it’s a good movie,” he advocates. “The thing is that it has nothing to do with Highlander. The writers at the time wanted to explain where Immortals were coming from when nobody was asking them the question and it was a mistake. If people don’t ask, you don’t explain. We are Immortals, it’s established and just leave it the way it is...”

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Photo © Dimension / Mandalay / Miramax Pictures 2000
Feature © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction