It’s been almost a year since Juan Carlos Fresnadillo departed the director’s chair on the Highlander reboot, citing creative differences with Summit Entertainment. The studio has now chosen Cedric Nicolas-Troyan to handle the job instead.
If you were to hit the IMDB and look up the movies Nicolas-Troyan has directed in the past, you won’t find any, because this is his first time holding the megaphone. He has, however, been working in visual effects for years, earning an Oscar nomination for Snow White And The Huntsman, on which he also served as second unit director. Most recently, he performed second unit duties on Maleficent. It would appear that it was his enthusiasm for the original Highlander and the story of immortal warrior Connor MacLeod that won over the Summit team.
“I have been working on my pitch for this since the summer, and when I got there I met the original producer and I just started geeking out and he loved it,” Nicolas-Troyan tells Deadline. “The first movie came out when I was a teenager in France and it was one of my favourite films of those years. I loved the [TV] series also, they shot a lot of it in France, on the Seine River. My first reaction, like everybody else, was, really, do we need a remake? Then I read the script, and I thought about how Russell Mulcahy was this super visual video director who brought the pulse of the 80s to the film so well. I started thinking about taking those great characters and matching them with a modern, visceral take, and then I was in love with the idea and I just went for it.”
The script he’s referring to is the draft by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway (one that Noah Oppenheimer polished while Fresnadillo was attached), which according to Deadline, stays close to the original’s take on the story, but which will be expanded by Nicolas-Troyan.
“For me, it all comes down to that first movie, but there are great themes in the show,” he says. “It’s the rare cross-genre concept that has elements of the Western, time travel, fantasy, action, contemporary. There are universal themes, but of course you need to provide the answers like the first film did. Who are these guys with swords? Why are they fighting each other? What is the prize and how are they drawn to each other? There is far more at work here I want to explore than the lightning that happens during the Quickening.”
Assuming he stays in the chair – which has seen Fresnadillo and Justin Lin exit – he’ll start looking for a cast and plans to shoot next year.