As Cindy mentioned over the weekend, Candian
ab actor and erstwhile Dustin Rowles mancrush Ryan Reynolds is being courted by Lionsgate to play the lead in the upcoming remake of Highlander. I must confess that as unnecessary as a Highlander reboot may seem (not counting animated versions, the story has already had five film treatments and two TV series), it could be fantastic if done right. Listen, I won’t bore those of you who have never seen any of the Highlander iterations with the details of the premise but, suffice it to say, the leading man needs to a) look good in a variety of historical garb b) pull off the humor/action/pathos trifecta and c) execute a convincing Scottish burr. And while good ol’ Ry Squared will look great swinging a sword, weeping over a loved one or kicking up his kilt, I’m already blushing at the thought of that accent. And not in the good way.
The Highlander franchise has a notoriously rocky past with nationalities. Duncan MacLeod (played by British actor and Lorenzo Llamas stunt double Adrian Paul) and Connor MacLeod (played by American-born/Swiss-educated/Simian-looking Christopher Lambert) were problematic enough.
But please, don’t get me started on Sean Connery. Let’s make a movie about Scotsmen and have the only actual Scot play a Spanish/Egyptian/Peacock hybrid. Egyptian by way of Spain.
But we’re better than that now, aren’t we Hollywood? With Pixar’s Brave (boasting a largely Scottish voice cast) looming on the horizon, doesn’t it make sense to cast an actual Scot as the bloody highlander? Unless they transport this whole dog and pony show to Labrador, the highlands of Canada, then I can’t sign off on this Reynolds casting. Here are 7 performers I’d rather see Lionsgate court. With all due respect to Liam Neeson in Rob Roy and
Mel GibsonBrendan Gleeson in Braveheart, ain’t nothing like the real thing.
David Tennant: Good ol’ Ten is a little spindly, sure. That’s why, despite his full marks in the pathos and humor department, he ranks the lowest on this list.
Sean Biggerstaff: Having set 12-year-old hearts a-flutter as Oliver Wood in the earlier Harry Potter films, Biggerstaff has mostly disappeared. But look! He’s all scruffy and adult-looking! He’s certainly just as tough as the new Spider-Man and, come on, with a name like Biggerstaff, how can you not want to see him in a kilt?
Henry Ian Cusick: During its six rocky seasons, “Lost” never delivered anything approaching the poignancy and drama of the Penny/Desmond love story. Let’s brush aside any doubts that Cusick could deliver on the heartbreak and tragedy of outliving all your loved ones.
Kevin McKidd: McKidd has been languishing in television hell for the past few years on “Grey’s Anatomy,” but those who’ve seen him in either “Rome” or “Journeyman” know he can hold down a leading role. We also know from “Rome” that the man can fill out a skirt.
James McAvoy: James has proven he can do action (Wanted wasn’t his fault…blame the Loom of Destiny), tragedy (Atonement, The Last King Of Scotland) and comedy (“Shameless”). In fact, I’m pretty sure he can do anything.
Ewan McGregor: The consummate Scottish actor of his generation (sorry, Butler), McGregor would make a fine MacLeod. Swinging a sword can’t be any harder than swinging a lightsaber, can it?
Tony Curran: My number one choice to play Connor MacLeod is Curran, a hard working actor who has been bumping around on the fringes of fame for quite awhile now. You may recognize him from Underworld: Evolution, Blade II or, if you’re lucky, his phenomenal work in the van Gogh episode of “Doctor Who.” Lionsgate had a huge hit this year with Hunger Games and, despite her Oscar nomination, Jennifer Lawrence wasn’t exactly a household name. I’d like to see them go the same route with the MacLeod casting and tap Curran over Reynolds. In a field of good options, he’s The One.
[Reynolds casting news via /Film]
Joanna Robinson spent countless afternoons growing up watching VHS copies of the “Highlander” TV series with her friends. You’ll pry that autographed photo of Adrian Paul out of her cold, dead hands.