Highlander is a 1986 British-American adventure fantasy film directed by Russell Mulcahy and based on a story by Gregory Widen. It stars Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, Clancy Brown, and Roxanne Hart. The film depicts the climax of an ages-old battle between immortal warriors, depicted through interwoven past and present day storylines.
Despite having enjoyed little success in its initial U.S. release, the cult film launched Lambert to stardom and inspired a franchise that included film sequels and television spin-offs. The film's tagline, "There can be only one", has carried on throughout the franchise, as have the songs provided for the film by Queen.
- 2 Cast
- 3 Production and development
- 4 Soundtrack
- 5 Alternate releases
- 6 Release and reception
- 7 In popular culture
- 8 Remake
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
From the Dawn of Time we came, moving silently down through the centuries. Living many secret lives. Struggling to reach the Time of the Gathering, when the few who remain will battle to the last. No one has ever known we were among you... until now.
Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez;Flashback
Connor MacLeod was born in Scotland in the year 1518 "in the village of Glenfinnan on the shores of Loch Shiel." In 1536, his clan is in conflict with the Clan Fraser, and Connor rides alongside his fellow MacLeods into his first battle. The Frasers are working with a seven foot giant of a man known as The Kurgan, who recognizes that Connor is a pre-Immortal and hopes to use the battle to kill him before he becomes aware of his abilities. On the battlefield, Connor feels a strange, painful sensation, especially when he sees the Kurgan on top of a hill, and thunder and lightning also appear.
As the battle rages, Connor wonders why none of the Fraser's forces will attack him, until he comes across the Kurgan and is struck again by an odd pain (from sensing the proximity of another Immortal, though he didn't know it at the time). This leaves him open to attack, and as Connor is no match for The Kurgan, he is mortally wounded. The Kurgan prepares to decapitate him, but the MacLeod kinsmen intervene just before this occurs, forcing the Kurgan to flee, vowing to return for Connor. The clan mourn Connor's death, but he miraculously revives shortly after dying, leading his fellow MacLeods to accuse him of witchcraft. He is tied up and attacked by his people, who prepare to burn him, but his cousin Angus persuades them to exile Connor instead. Connor escaped with his life but is banished forever from his clan and birthplace, vowing never to return again. Several years later, MacLeod has become a blacksmith in Glencoe, where he is married to Heather (Beatie Edney).
In 1541, he is located by a much older Immortal, who introduced himself as Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez. He explains that the pain he felt in the Kurgan's and Ramírez's presence is "The Quickening", which compels Immortals to battle each other. Ramírez appoints himself MacLeod's tutor in the ways of being Immortal, their pursuit of The Prize, and the rules of an age-old "Game," which will end when the few who remain participate in "The Gathering," noting that "in the end, there can be only one." Immortals can only die by decapitation and can only avoid battle on holy ground. Ramírez also takes it upon himself to improve MacLeod's swordsmanship, which he declares is "no better than that of a clumsy child."
Ramírez explains that his own name is just his current alias, being Egyptian by birth. He adopted it while serving as Chief Metallurgist for Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (also King of Spain between 1516-1556). His sword is a katana he received in Japan in 593 B.C.,made by his (then) father-in-law Masamune. Masamune, a genius far ahead of his time in the forging of swords, was the father of Princess Shakiko, Ramírez's third wife. Ramírez warns MacLeod to leave his wife or face heartbreak, explaining that "I was born 2,437 years ago. In that time, I've had three wives. The last was Shakiko, a Japanese princess... When Shakiko died, I was shattered. I would save you that pain. Please, let Heather go." He also explains that Immortals are incapable of having children.
MacLeod refuses to leave his wife, though he continues to train under Ramírez, who also reveals the origins of the Kurgan and the risk for the world if he wins the Prize. One night, the Kurgan arrives at MacLeod's home while MacLeod himself is absent, though Heather and Ramírez are there. The Kurgan and Ramírez duel, with the frightened Heather their only spectator. After a lengthy duel, which destroys the house, the Kurgan manages to decapitate Ramírez. MacLeod soon returns to find his home in ruins, his mentor killed, and his wife alive but traumatized. MacLeod remains with his wife until her death from old age. Dying in MacLeod's arms, she confides that her only regret was not having his children. After burying Heather, MacLeod burns their residence and wanders the world.
Later, during World War II, Connor finds an orphaned girl named Rachel in some ruins and the young Rachel sees him killed, only to come back to life and save them both.
- Present day
In 1985 New York City, the few surviving Immortals are participating in "The Gathering", a final series of confrontations to determine the winner of "The Prize". Meanwhile, the spike in what appear to be murders by decapitation has drawn the attention of the New York Police Department. One night while attending a wrestling match in Madison Square Garden, MacLeod senses an Immortal close by and leaves.
He goes to the garage under the Garden where he is confronted by Iman Fasil. After failing to convince Fasil not to fight, MacLeod takes out his katana. The fight swings back and forward, Fasil eluding MacLeod amongst the cars, rushing at him out of the shadows. Then the momentum swings to Fasil, as he separates MacLeod from his sword, but he cannot press his advantage and MacLeod vanishes. Out of sight, MacLeod recovers his sword and then steps out to face Fasil. This time, there is nowhere to go and Fasil is the one disarmed. The two look at each other for a last moment, before MacLeod beheads Fasil and receives his quickening.
Picking himself up, Connor hides his sword in an overhead grating before driving out of the garage. But he is not quick enough and is arrested by police arriving to investigate the disturbance. The police question him but he denies killing Fasil or Osta Vazilek (another Immortal killed in New Jersey a few nights earlier) and with no evidence, they let Connor go but still consider him as their prime suspect.
Among the investigators of the case is forensic scientist Brenda Wyatt, an expert in the field of swords. Samples taken from the crime scene reveal one of the swords used is more than 2000 years old (MacLeod is now using Ramírez's sword) which she believes is scientifically impossible. Returning to the Garden to collect further samples, she is observed by MacLeod who has returned to collect his sword. MacLeod then follows her to a bar and tries to talk with her, but strikes a nerve and she leaves.
As MacLeod does the same, a suspicious Brenda follows him and witnesses as The Kurgan attacks MacLeod. The fight is quickly interrupted by a police helicopter and both men flee, The Kurgan's parting words revealing some of MacLeod's history to Brenda. Brenda chases after MacLeod, and attempts to question him, but he angrily states she is out of her depth and tells her to go home. More determined than ever to find out what is going on, Brenda uses a little subterfuge to confirm that the man she followed from the bar is Russell Nash, the antiques dealer questioned over Fasil's death. She goes to his antiques store, but is stonewalled by Nash’s secretary, Rachel Ellenstein (the girl he had rescued during the war many years earlier), until the man himself appears, inviting himself to dinner at her apartment.
That evening, as he prepares to go out, Rachel confronts MacLeod about what he is doing, suggesting he should not discount the possibility of a genuine relationship with Brenda. At Brenda's apartment, MacLeod gives her a copy of her own book on the metallurgy of swords, proving to her he has always known she was with the police. He accuses her of trying to set him up with the cops, but she states her interest is only in the sword. She demands answers, but he tells her she has no right to them and leaves. As he walks away, Ramirez’ voice comes unbidden to mind: "You must leave her, brother."
Days later MacLeod meets his best friend and fellow Immortal Sunda Kastagir in Central Park and the two men share a night of partying one last time. Kastagir and The Kurgan then duel in an alley, and Kastagir is defeated. Unfortunately, the fight attracts a street full of witnesses. One of them, a survivalist named Kirk Matunas, tries to gun down the Kurgan after he kills Kastagir but is impaled on the Kurgan's sword and thrown against the wall. Unable to move, he has a front row seat as the Kurgan receives Kastagir's Quickening. The Kurgan makes his escape, leaving the survivalist to give a description to the police, who are less than pleased that their mysterious head-hunter isn't Russell Nash.
Later, MacLeod goes to church for his yearly remembrance of Heather, but his reflections are disturbed by The Kurgan, gloating in the knowledge that they are the last and the Kurgan has every intention of taking MacLeod's head and the Prize. Attempting to provoke MacLeod, he mocks Ramirez for dying on his knees and leaving "his woman" to be raped. As MacLeod finally learns what happened, and The Kurgan finally learns Heather was MacLeod's wife, a confrontation is only averted by their presence on holy ground. MacLeod leaves, reminding The Kurgan he "can not stay here forever."
MacLeod returns home to find Brenda demanding to see him, having discovered the real Russell Nash died in infancy. MacLeod then tells her the whole truth, and warns her she must keep away for her own safety. As Brenda returns home, The Kurgan is waiting and forces his way into her apartment, kidnapping her. He terrifies her with a high speed rampage through the New York traffic, playing chicken with trucks and mowing down pedestrians. He leaves a message for MacLeod, inviting him to come get her. Rachel knows that, win or lose, MacLeod is not coming back and says her goodbyes.
MacLeod goes to the abandoned movie studio where The Kurgan is waiting and finds Brenda tied to the neon sign on the roof. As he tries to free her, The Kurgan comes out of the dark and attacks him. MacLeod eludes The Kurgan, who smashes through the supports for the neon sign, causing it to crash down. As it does, it downs the water tower next to it and floods the roof. Brenda scrambles from the wrecked sign in time to see MacLeod and The Kurgan fall through a roof light into the building below. Both men are winded, but The Kurgan is quicker and kicks away MacLeod's sword. Preparing to finish MacLeod, The Kurgan is distracted by Brenda hitting him from behind with a pipe. This gives MacLeod enough time to retrieve his sword and reenter the fight. The two of them face off for a final time, but each time they clash, it is the Kurgan who feels steel slicing through his skin. The two stare at each other, but for the first time fear mingles with the madness in the Kurgan’s eyes and Connor steps through, and with one stroke of his sword takes the Kurgan’s head.
The final Quickening is unleashed and Connor is lifted into the air as the power of the Prize rages around him in the empty building. When it is finished, Connor leaves New York, taking Brenda with him, and returns to his homeland of Scotland. He now knows the thoughts of all men and can guide them as he wishes, he can live, grow old and have children. He is at one with all living things.
|Christopher Lambert||Connor MacLeod / Russell Nash|
|Sean Connery||Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez|
|Clancy Brown||The Kurgan / Victor Kruger|
|Roxanne Hart||Brenda Wyatt|
|Beatie Edney||Heather MacLeod|
|Alan North||Lieutenant Frank Moran|
|Jon Polito||Detective Walter Bedsoe|
|Sheila Gish||Rachel Ellenstein|
|Hugh Quarshie||Sunda Kastagir|
|Christopher Malcolm||Kirk Matunas|
|Peter Diamond||Iman Fasil|
|Billy Hartman||Dugal MacLeod|
|James Cosmo||Angus MacLeod|
|Celia Imrie||Kate MacLeod|
Gregory Widen wrote the script to Highlander, which he then titled Shadow Clan, as a class assignment while he was an undergraduate in the screenwriting program at UCLA. Widen sold the script for US$200,000.
According to William Panzer, joint producer with Peter S. Davis of the Highlander franchise:
|“||Gregory Widen was a student at film school, and he wrote this as his writing class project. (...) He was apparently travelling through Scotland on his summer vacation and he was standing in front of a suit of armor, and he wondered, 'What would it be like if that guy was alive today?' And that's where everything fell into place – the idea that there are Immortals and they were in conflict with each other, leading secret lives that the rest of us are unaware of...||”|
Widen's original draft of the script differed significantly from the movie version. The initial story of the film was darker and more violent. Connor is born in 1408 rather than 1518. He lives with his mother and father. Heather doesn't exist; Connor is promised to a girl named Mara, who rejects him when she learns he's immortal. Connor leaves his village instead of being banished. His alias is Richard Tupin and his weapon is a custom broadsword. Ramirez is a Spaniard born in 1100 instead of an ancient Egyptian born more than two thousand years earlier. The Kurgan is known as the Knight, using the alias Carl William Smith. He is not a savage, but a cold-blooded killer. Brenda is Brenna Cartwright.
Other elements were changed during the rewrite. Initially, immortals could have children; in the draft Connor is said to have had 37. In a flashback in the first draft, Connor attends the funeral of one of his sons. His wife (in her 70s) and his two sons, who are in their mid 50s, see him revealed as an immortal. Also, there are no quickenings in the first draft. When an immortal kills another, nothing special occurs. Nor is there mention of a "prize". When Connor finally kills the Knight, he feels a sharp burning pain. The viewer is then not told if he remains immortal.
Christopher Lambert was cast in the lead role marking his first lead role in an American film. Lambert had just barely learned to speak English when he took this role. The only other English-speaking film he had been in at that point wasGreystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, in which he spoke only a few words..Eilean Donan Castle
Director of photography Arthur Smith actually filmed the scene in which fish fall out of MacLeod's kilt, but Lambert's kilt proved to be too short. Smith said, "I stuck part of a drain pipe above Chris's kilt out of camera range, and fed live trout down the tube." Smith also had difficulties shooting MacLeod meeting the Kurgan. It was raining that day and the crew had to use umbrellas and hair dryers to prevent water from hitting the camera lenses and appearing on the film. Smith also remembered that Lambert, who was near-sighted, "kept forgetting to take off his glasses as he came over the hill on his horse."
The filming of the parking garage scene took place in two different places. According to New York location manager Brett Botula, "the garage exterior is Manhattan, across from Madison Square Garden, and the interior is 'somewhere in London.'" The pro-wrestling match in the opening scene featured The Fabulous Freebirds vs. Greg Gagne, Jim Brunzell and The Tonga Kid.
The scene where the MacLeod clan sets off to battle is supposed to take place "in the village of Glenfinnan, on the shore of Loch Shiel" in the Lochaber area, but was actually filmed at Eilean Donan Castle, which is in the same general area but is really on the shore of Loch Duich, a sea loch near Kyle of Lochalsh and the Isle of Skye.
According to the DVD commentary, the film's climax was originally intended to take place on top of the Statue of Liberty. Then it was changed to an amusement park and finally changed to the rooftop of the Silvercup Studios building.The opening sequence was originally intended to take place during an NHL hockey game. But the NHL refused to allow the crew to film there because they were intending to emphasize the violence of the match.
The church scene involving The Kurgan was filmed at St Augustine's in London, the choirboys (Craig Baxter, James Owusu & Thomas Smart) were handpicked on the day of filming from St Augustines School opposite the church. With the permission of the priests in charge, filming went ahead during the day with no-one knowing what was going on inside. Still, Brown's lines were ad-libbed, and they were reportedly considered so sacrilegious that the priests off-camera were making the sign of the cross as he said them.
The scene in the alley where the Kurgan beheads Kastagir and then stabs the ex-Marine, followed by an explosion, was filmed in an alley in England even though it was set in New York. The director was reluctant to set off the explosion in the alley because the windows were full of Victorian glass, but he was given permission to do so because that particular site was going to be destroyed in a few months anyway.
All of Sean Connery's scenes had to be filmed in a single week due to Connery's hectic schedule. Still, during the filming of the movie, Connery and Lambert got along even better than their onscreen counterparts, even going as far as to call each other by their characters' names when not filming. The two were (and continue to be) such good friends that Lambert threatened to back out of the sequel unless Connery's character was added to the film. The opening voice-over by Connery has an echo effect because it was recorded in his Spanish villa bathroom. It was played for the producers over the phone and they approved of it because they could not discern the quality of the recording that way.
The Highlander original orchestral score was composed by Michael Kamen, and the soundtrack includes several songs by Queen, such as "A Kind of Magic" and "Princes of the Universe" (the latter also being used for the Highlandertelevision series title sequence). Queen wrote many of the songs specifically to match the mood of the scenes when the songs play, notably Brian May's "Who Wants to Live Forever", concerning the doomed love of Connor and his wife Heather.
Despite a mention in the end credits, to date a complete soundtrack album for Highlander has not been released. However, Queen's 1986 album A Kind of Magic features most of the songs from the film (although sometimes in different arrangements). Songs from the film that appear on the album are "Princes of the Universe", "Gimme the Prize (Kurgan's Theme)" (the album version includes snippets of dialogue from the film), "One Year of Love", "Don't Lose Your Head", "Who Wants to Live Forever", and "A Kind of Magic". The album does not include Queen's recording of "Theme from New York, New York", which features briefly in Highlander. The 1986 and 1991 CD versions of A Kind of Magicinclude the bonus track "Forever", an instrumental version of "Who Wants to Live Forever" performed by Queen with Michael Kamen's orchestral arrangement. "Hammer to Fall", a Queen song heard playing from a car radio in one scene, was from an earlier album, The Works.
The 1995 CD Highlander: The Original Scores includes five cues from Kamen's Highlander score (along with six cues from Stewart Copeland's Highlander II score, and four cues from J. Peter Robinson's Highlander III score). Furthermore, a rearrangement of an excerpt from Kamen's score (specifically, the beginning of the track "The Quickening") was used as the theme music for New Line Cinema's logo indent in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
A number of scenes were lost in a fire. They included;
- A duel sequence that introduced an Asian immortal named Yung Dol Kim was cut from the film. The footage for the scene, along with certain other deleted scenes, was later destroyed by fire, although a few stills from the sequence, some in colour and others in black and white, survived.
- Connor, Kastagir and Bedsoe partying at a bar. The scene expanded more on Kastagir and Connor's relationship and revealed that they met during the American Revolutionary War.
- One scene in which Connor shows Brenda his katana after the sex scene.
In the scene following Connor beheading the Kurgan, Mulcahy had originally envisioned an animated dragon with the Kurgan's battle helmet emerging from his decapitated body and challenging Connor again. Only after Connor had defeated this ghost-dragon would he have received the final Quickening and subsequent Prize. This idea was eventually cut due to budget constraints.
The additional scenes include:
- MacLeod having a short flashback about his first battle in Scotland during the wrestling match
- A longer fight scene between Connor and Fasil, mainly Fasil doing backflips through the garage
- A scene showing Connor's first love, Kate, bringing him flowers before he goes to battle
- A flashback to World War II that further develops the character of Rachel Ellenstein
- Longer sex scene between Connor and Brenda
- A scene where the Kurgan can be seen in the background trailing MacLeod and Brenda at the zoo
- Much longer fight scene between MacLeod and the Kurgan at the end of the movie
There are several changes in dialogue from the theatrical version:
- Whooshing sounds whenever one Immortal senses another
- When Connor and Ramirez jump into the water during training, Ramirez (in the theatrical version) shouts, "MacLeod, this is the Quickening!"
- When Connor is talking about the 1783 bottle of wine (in the theatrical version), after he says, "Brandy, bottled in 1783", Brenda's head can be seen moving but she speaks no dialogue. In the new release, she says, "Wow, that's old."
- After Connor wins the Prize and is being comforted by Brenda (in the theatrical version), he looks up and says, "I want to go home." This is missing in the new release.
The new release is also missing a short scene of Detective Bedsoe spilling coffee on himself while staking out Brenda's apartment.
The French theatrical version of Highlander is mainly the same version as the U.S. theatrical. It includes the World War II flashback but it removes the interior shot of Detective Bedsoe in his car while on a stakeout. This has been issued on 2-disc and 3-disc DVD sets in France with French dialogue only.
Upon initial U.S. release, it was not well-received, but it gained wide and persistent popularity in Europe and on other markets, as well as on home video. It has since obtained status as a cult classic film in both domestic and non-domestic markets, leading to four sequels, a television series, and various other spin-offs.
Danél Griffin of Film as Art awarded the film four stars (out of four), saying: "The key to Highlander's success is in its approach to its subject matter. What could have been a premise that breathes cliché is given a fresh approach due to Mulcahy's unique directing style and a cleverly-written script. [...] Highlander is certainly a classic film that will continue to be cherished and watched as the world of movie making continues to grow and change. It is a triumphant example of the art of cinema, and watching it reminds us all of why we like going to the movies in the first place." Christopher Null of FilmCritic.com gave the film four and a half stars out of five, writing: "Highlander has no equal among sword-and-sorcery flicks." Null later called Highlander "the greatest action film ever made," saying that it features "awesome swordfights, an awesome score, and a time-bending plotline that only a philistine could dislike."
Matt Ford of the BBC gave the film three stars out of five, writing: "From the moody, rain-soaked, noir-ish streets of late 20th century America to the wild open spaces of medieval Scotland, Mulcahy plunders movie history to set off his visceral fight scenes with suitably rugged locations. [...] What the film loses through ham acting, weak narrative, and pompous macho posturing it more than compensates with in sheer fiery bravado, pace, and larger than life action."Dean Winkelspecht of DVD Town also gave Highlander three stars out of five, writing: "The film's slow pace and dated look will turn away many a new viewer [...] However, there is a certain appeal to the film that brings back many for a second or third helping. I have learned to appreciate the film over the years, [and] the film's story is unique and entertaining."
Also giving the film three stars out of five, Adam Tyner of DVD Talk wrote, "The screenplay spots a number of intelligent, creative ideas, and I find the very concept of displacing the sword-and-sorcery genre to then-modern-day New York City to be fairly inventive. The dialogue and performances don't quite match many of the film's concepts, though. The tone seems somewhat uneven, as if Highlander is unsure if it wants to be seen as a straight adventure epic or if it's a campy action flick." IGN, awarding Highlander a score of 8 out of 10, wrote: "This 80s classic has a lot going for it. The hardcore MTV manner in which it was filmed is common these days, but was groundbreaking then. This movie features some of the best scene transitions committed to celluloid. [...] To this is added some fun performances by Connery and especially Clancy Brown."
Leonard Maltin gave the film one and a half stars: "Interesting premise made silly and boring... Former rock video director Mulcahy's relentlessly showy camera moves may cause you to reach for the Dramamine."
The video was a hit in the United States. The theatrical release of Highlander II: The Quickening in 1991 significantly increased the rental activity on Highlander even though the sequel was not a box-office success. Highlander was first released to DVD in the United States in 1997, in a "10th Anniversary Edition" Director's Cut that contained the international uncut version of the film. A "15th Anniversary" edition was released in Australia in 2001, which also contained the International cut of the film.
Highlander was again released in 2002 in two editions: a special "Immortal Edition" with several extra features (including several Queen music videos and a bonus CD containing three Queen songs from the film) and a standard edition, both of which contain the International uncut version. On the June 17, 2009 French distributor StudioCanal issued the film on Blu-ray with identical releases following in Germany, UK, Holland, Australia and Japan. The U.S. director's cut is currently available on DVD in North America from Lionsgate under license from the film's current owner, StudioCanal. 20th Century Fox, the theatrical distributor, remains the television rights holder.
A novelization of the film was written by Gary Kilworth. It expanded more on the movie by; Telling how the Kurgan met his first death, his training with an Immortal Arab known as "The Bedouin," whom he eventually kills. The novel also reveals how the Kurgan gets his customized broadsword and his battle with an Immortal Mongol before meeting MacLeod in 1536. The novel also introduces an alternate scene showing Conner and Kastagir meeting in the Subway before meeting at the Bridge. One really interesting thing about the novel is that it portrays Conner and Kastagir's relationship very differently than in the film. Here they are just simply two Immortals who are simply not enemies and are just passive friends who can talk about anything without fighting.
The novel also reveals how Heather came to find out about Conner's Immortality from Ramirez, the ending of the book is also expended by revealing that Conner went back to his Antiques store to say his final goodbye to Rachel before leaving for Scotland. Once he and Brenda arrive in Scotland, they tour for two months, and then open an antique shop in Camden Alley. On one occasion, he returns to the Scottish Uplands alone and stares at the remnants of his home with Heather. There is no croft there, but he finds a few stones from the fallen tor and locates the burial place of Ramirez and Heather. He finds two timbers and fashions a rude cross, telling Heather that she would like Brenda. "She is much like you.".
Marie-Pier Côté, a 12-year-old Canadian, published a novel called Laura l'immortelle. On March 13, 2007, the French-language newspaper La Presse published an article noting a list of similarities between Laura l'immortelle andHighlander. Côté later admitted that the story was a plagiarized Highlander fan fiction originally written by a Frenchman.
At the end of the church scene, the Kurgan says, "I have something to say. It's better to burn out, than to fade away." This is a direct reference to "Rock of Ages" by Def Leppard, which opens with the spoken lines "I've got something to say/ It's better to burn out/ Than to fade away". This, in turn, is a reference to Neil Young's "My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)", which includes the lyric "It's better to burn out/ Than to fade away".
On March 2008, Summit Entertainment announced that it had bought the film rights to the Highlander franchise and is remaking the original film. Originally Iron Man writers Art Marcum and Matt Holloway were writing the script, but Summit Entertainment turned to Melissa Rosenberg to write it instead, with release scheduled for 2011. In September 2009, Fast & Furious director Justin Lin was announced as director of the film, while Neal H. Moritz was slated to co-produce. However in August, Lin dropped out of the film due to commitments to other projects. 28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo has signed on to direct the remake, replacing previous director Justin Lin. As of 2012, release had been pushed back to 2014. As of the middle of May 2012, Ryan Reynolds was slated to play the titular character.
However, due to creative differences that had led to Juan leaving the development of the film, the project is now in development hell. Reynolds has since dropped out of the film as well. It was announced that Cedric Nicolas-Troyan had been hired to direct the film, thus making his first directorial debut. Filming is set to begin in 2014.