Highlander, an absolute classic of the 80s and one of the best and most original action movies for a generation! It had an amazing cast and an equally fantastic soundtrack.
Join me as we look back at some amazing facts, fortunately with facts, there can me more than one!
Apart from Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan in which he spoke only a few words, this was Christopher Lambert’s first film in which he had to speak English and he had only just barely learned the language when he filmed Highlander.
Sean Connery and Christopher Lambert got on so well whilst making Highlander that they used to call each other by their characters’ names even when they had finished filming.
Ever noticed that the opening voice over provided by Sean Connery has an echoey sound to it? This is because it was recorded by Connery when he was in the bathroom of his Spanish Villa, where he had been spending time with a Spanish voice coach to perfect that amazing, non-Scottish sounding Spanish accent!
Ever wondered how they achieved that amazing sparking effect during the sword fighting sequences when the swords connected? This was done with a wire running down the actors’ arms to a car battery, one to positive, one to negative, so when the swords connected there was an arc created.
Due to his schedule, Sean Connery had to film all his scenes in one week. He was paid a million dollars for the role – That’s more than $100,000 per day! Nice work if you can get it.
Rock band, Queen, were only due to record one song for the film, but after seeing scenes from the film they loved it so much they decided to record more songs for the soundtrack. The band members each had a favourite scene and Brian May wrote “Who wants to live forever” in a taxi ride home after seeing the film.
When The Kurgan addresses the congregation in the church and says “I have something to say. It’s better to burn out… than to fade away!”. This line was improvised by actor Clancy Brown!
Clancy Brown got so “in to” his role that the crew felt he was actually becoming The Kurgan and some refused to go near him! To be fair he absolutely nailed the part!
In the scene when The Kurgan bursts in on Ramirez and cuts the table in half, when this was first filmed Clancy Brown was so nervous he instead cut through the candelabra, almost decapitating Sean Connery in the process! Connery was so angry he stormed off the set. Brown later apologised and Connery joked that he needed to use his stunt double more.
Before Christopher Lambert, Kurt Russell was cast as Connor McCleod, but his partner Goldie Hawn insisted that he pull out and instead star in Big Trouble In Little China!
For the French language version of the film, Christopher Lambert dubbed his own character’s dialogue in to his native language – I wonder if he got paid twice?!
Many of the extras in the battle scenes needed to be portrayed with long hair, so the producers looked to students at Glasgow University to take part in the scenes!
To prepare for the film. Christopher Lambert underwent intense training with Olympic champion and Sword-master, Bob Anderson.
When viewing New York out of McCleod’s apartment, this was actually enlarged photos of New York that were then cut up to fit in the window panes creating the effect seen in the finished movie.
Both of the lead actors in the film have gone on to portray Mortal Kombat’s character, Raiden, the god of Thunder and Lightning. Christopher Lambert played Raiden in the big screen adaptation of the game, whilst Clancy Brown provided the voice of Raiden in Mortal Kombat: Defenders of The Realm.
The original title for the film was going to be “Shadow Clan”. I think we will all agree that they made the right decision with the title of the movie!
The first battle scene in the movie was filmed at Eilean Donan Castle, a tourist attraction. The car park had to be covered with dirt and grass so that it wasn’t visible in the finished film.
Many actors were considered for the part of Ramirez before Sean Connery was cast, including Lee Van Cleef, Clint Eastwood, Malcolm McDowell, Gene Hackman, Peter O’Toole and Michael Caine. It could have been played very differently by any one of those actors!
Have any of these facts been a big surprise? Have they made you want to go out and watch Highlander again? What are your favourite moments from the movie? And what about Highlander 2? Some regard it as an awful film that should never have been made, some really don’t mind it too much? Which camp do you fall in to? Join me as we move on to look at facts about…
Highlander 2: The Quickening!
Michael Ironside certainly made his feelings on the film clear, saying that he, Sean Connery and Christopher Lambert hated the script and that they all only took it on for the money. He even went as far to as to say that the script was “like it was written by a thirteen year old boy”!
Can you believe that Ramirez is the only character other than James Bond that Sean Connery ha played in more than one movie? Amazing considering the length and diversity of his career!
Christopher Lambert refused to use fake swords for the film, insisting in using the genuine article only. After suffering a cut to a finger which went down to the bone, then a broken jaw, Lambert relented and agreed to use plastic swords for the remainder of the shooting schedule!
Even the director of the film, Russell Mulcahy, wasn’t overly keen, especially on the theatrical cut of the film – he was so disgusted with that version of the film that he walked out of the premier after just 15 minutes!
The Zeist Assassins’ flying sleds looked too much like the hoverboard from Back to The Future Part II which was released shortly after they started to produce Highlander 2. As a result the sleds had to be redesigned at the last minute.
Virginia Madsen agreed to do the film for two reasons only – one she had the chance to go to Argentina, and two she got the chance to work with Sean Connery. Sorry, Christopher Lambert!!
So what are your thoughts on both Highlander and Highlander 2? Let us know in the comments as always!