One of the more iconic elements of “Highlander,” the high-concept fantasy adventure from 1986 that went on to spawn a long-running franchise, is the movie’s songs, written and performed by Queen. And Chad Stahelski, who will be directing the remake for Lionsgate, says that those songs will return for the new movie.
“Yes,” Stahelski told TheWrap while talking about the Oscar chances for “John Wick: Chapter 4.” “Probably in a different way than you think, but hardcore yes.”
Queen wrote and recorded songs for the original “Highlander” and released an album, “A Kind of Magic,” in 1986 that served as an official soundtrack to the movie. (Only one song, a Queen recording of “Theme from New York, New York,” didn’t make the cut and has never been officially released.)
The songs were perfect for the movie, which depicted a battle between immortal beings known as Highlanders in modern day Manhattan. Instead of Scottish moors, they battle in underground parking garages. That kind of thing. Queen’s songs were wedged in among Michael Kamen’s original score and became part of the tapestry, mixing ancient mythology and high camp, ingeniously designed by Australian filmmaker Russell Mulcahy.
While the movie failed to make money, it was popular enough to justify a bonkers sequel from Mulcahy (1991’s genuinely unhinged “Highlander II: The Quickening”), a long-running syndicated television series and several more sequels of varying quality.
“We’re trying to encapsulate everything you loved about the original with more – meaning we want to ground it, we want it to be a great chance at world-building and mythology. But we still want to keep it fun,” Stahelski said. “It’s like the ‘Wick’ movies. You want to experience this world, you want to believe it’s real. But it’s also five degrees off from reality. This is a movie with immortals running around chopping each others’ heads off. There’s a certain ridiculousness to it. It’s like the ‘Wick’s. We ride the tone. Everybody in the movie thinks its real. But we as an audience can get our heads around it – look, suspend disbelief. We’re trying to get you on board for this amazing journey with people who have lived hundreds of years. It’s a challenge. But I’m very excited.”
Recent reports have suggested that the movie will shoot next year, with Henry Cavill in the role made famous (immortalized, some might say) by a then-largely unknown Christopher Lambert. Who wants to live forever?