EXCLUSIVE: It’s been a long time in the works but the reboot of classic warrior franchise Highlander is moving forward. I hear that Colony writer Ryan Condal has delivered a script to Lionsgate and pre-production is set to start later this year.
The studio has been handed a script for the project, which has been in development for nearly ten years after Summit Entertainment acquired the rights in 2008. It is a new take on the feature, which was originally released in 1986, starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery, and telling the story of an immortal Scottish swordsman who can only be killed by decapitation. It will be directed by John Wick helmer Chad Stahelski and is set to be produced by Neal H. Moritz. The original film, which had the catchphrase “there can be only one” and a soundtrack produced by rock band Queen, spawned four sequels and a number of TV spinoffs.
I understand that Lionsgate, which acquired Summit Entertainment in 2012, is extremely pleased with the script and has set pre-production for October after Stahelski has finished the third John Wick film starring Keanu Reeves. It is set for a 2019 release.
Condal is the co-creator, executive producer and showrunner of USA’s drama series Colony, currently in its third season. He recently struck a deal with Amazon to develop a drama series based on classic property Conan The Barbarian. The series, which he is working on with Game of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik and Fargo and The Handmaid’s Tale executive producer Warren Littlefield, retells the classic character’s story via a return to his literary origins. He also recently wrote Rampage, a sci-fi monster film starring Dwayne Johnson.
“We’ve finally got a screenplay we’re happy with,” Patrick Wachsberger, Head of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group tells me. “We have set up the story so it has sequel potential.” It’s thought that Stahelski is already planning a Highlander trilogy. Last year, the director said it had a lot of parallels to John Wick, the third of which was being sold by Lionsgate at EFM in Berlin. He said he was creating the world and the mythology of immortals and had a stunt team already working on it.
Condal is repped by WME, Grandview and McKuin Frankel, while Stahelski, who recently signed up to fantasy drama Sandman Slim for Studio 8, is repped by WME and Tara Kole of Gang, Tyre.