High Hopes

There can be only one. So was the maxim behind Highlander and its evolving tale of foundlings who grew up to discover they could only die if someone decided to separate their heads from their bodies. In the twenty years since the original movie, the idea has spawned several sequels and a hit TV series which ran for six years. The latest sequel ‘The Source’ has just been delivered to Lionsgate and is expected to be released around March 2007.

Given the problems of previous sequels, but the welcomed presence of all the main TV series players, fans are holding their breath to see if the franchise can get back on track. Adrian Paul, who played Duncan MacLeod in the show and reprises the role for The Source, says that while everyone waits to see the finished print, there’s no denying the time and effort that went into the project.

FractalMatter: With the mixed reception given to the last Highlander movie, even some stalwart Highlander fans were initially worried about The Source. But you also served as a physically-involved Executive Producer and brought back people like series writer David Abramowitz to work on the final script on location. It seems that whatever the outcome, everyone put in 101%…

Adrian Paul:Well, whenever I take on any role or job, I don’t like to do it in name only. I want to work for it. Being an Executive Producer on the Source, I had some say on how this would work and the direction it was headed. There WERE a lot of problems with the shooting of the movie and I was glad I was there in a capacity that could bring some sort of say in the progress of how we shot it. The original script needed a lot of work by the time we were almost ready to shoot. Thanks to input from all of us, we were able to improve what we had been given before as an original baseplate and go from there. Ultimately, I think it’s good to have the movies back in line with the franchise. It was the movies that started it off. I don’t think that necessarily means that there will never be another TV series. There probably wouldn’t be one with me, but maybe eventually with a younger guy - I think that would be the thought of doing that. But it’s a subject-matter that can go on forever because…well, the films and TV series is about people living forever. But IF it’s handled correctly, it’s still a subject in the films that can be interesting to explore for a younger generation that doesn’t know anything about Highlander’s mythology.

FractalMatter: Can you talk a little about the plot of the movie. It appears to be set a little into the future, but within ten years or so. It’s still recognisable as our world, but not a nice one…

Adrian Paul:Well, basically the world’s gone to shit ! It’s pretty current with today’s events., but we’ve taken it a step further where things have really begun to fall further apart and the only light at the end of the tunnel is - what some of the Immortals believe, not everyone, not Duncan MacLeod - that there is a time, an alignment when ‘The Source’ will show itself and the answers that Immortals have been looking for will be given to us. So, Duncan sets off, not on a quest for this ‘Source’ but to basically save his mortal wife’s life. He wants to be with her, to live with her and guard her… so he goes on this journey simply to protect her. The others - including Methos (Peter Wingfield) and Joe Dawson (Jim Byrnes) are around and looking for other answers, but Duncan realises that this really does tie into his destiny and with the other Immortals he ends up heading back to discover how things started…

FractalMatter: You shot this in Vilnius, Lithuania. Eastern European countries seem to be becoming the go-to studios and locations, even for some Hollywood projects. What was your experience of the country a positive one?

Adrian Paul:Yes, Lithuania has a lot to …not learn, but their film industry is trying to catch up with the other East European countries such as Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary where there are a lot of productions now. Lithuania is trying to compete on the same wavelength and they do have a lot of talent and studios and the ability to produce good movies at a cheaper rate than western countries. It was cold there but rewarding!

FractalMatter: Is the film all done now?

Adrian Paul:Well, Lionsgate are just getting the finished version of the film, so there may always be the normal tweaks and changes before the film is ready to hit screens and there’s talk about minor reshoots or additions, but Brett (Leonard, the director) seems happy. Producer B J Rack has come onboard to oversee the final stage of the project and everyone seems to agree she’s been great and working hard to deliver something we all agree is worthy of the original ‘Highlander’ brand.

FractalMatter:In the meantime, you’ve had several other projects Séance (which was named the Best Horror Picture Feature winner at the 2006 ShockerFest International Film Festival in California) and The Lost Colony, about the disappearance of the Roanoke colony. What’s next?

Adrian Paul:I’m looking at a couple of projects at the moment. But the most immediate thing is building on the success of The PEACE Fund which I helped set up. It stands for Protect Educate Aid Children Everywhere and people from not only the Highlander fan base but beyond that have done a terrific job of supporting our efforts to us directly help children in such diverse places as America, Thailand and the Middle East. We’ve raised over $100,000 through events and auctions simply by creating activities that everyone can easily get involved with. I’d like to say thank you to everyone who’s helped in any way and we’ll be happy to hear from anyone else who wants to get involved.

The webpage to go to is: www.adrianpaulpeace.org

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