Perhaps “There can be only one!” isn’t the best modus operandi when working on a potential movie franchise, as Lionsgate/Summit are already making plans for their Highlander reboot to be the first installment of a trilogy. Director Chad Stahelski (John Wick, John Wick: Chapter 2) was recently interviewed about where he plans to take his remake, why having a Queen-influence soundtrack is the way to go with the film, and what his thoughts on the rating that the MPAA may place on the film.
Speaking to Collider, Chad Stahelski stressed that the importance of building upon a mythology and the importance of creating the strongest possible standalone films over getting a movie out every two years. He mentioned the Original Trilogy of Star Wars movies as an example of the kind of three-act structure that they want to follow.
“We’re currently doing a bit of work on the overall plot structure. When I came on board, they were trying to reinvent the single Highlander property. We’ve gone since back in and we would like to really expand the world, so we consider the same shortcomings don’t happen again that happened on the original project, meaning you have one great movie and four questionable followups. We want to develop a property that can give us — and again it’s not about marketing, it’s not so much about the financials, it’s about how can we make a more mythological, chapter one, chapter two, whats a great way to tell this story?”
Tyler Bates (300, Guardians Of The Galaxy) is set to provide the remake’s score, who Chad Stahelski says will return to the original musical roots of the franchise by having a Queen-inspired score. Stahelski explained that he wants to make sure that the influence of the band is there, and that “Princes Of The Universe” will remain a part of the soundrtack.
“The tone of the first one just hit at that weird music video edge in the 80s that had Queen and for some reason, Queen just fits. I don’t think you can do Highlander and bring about that kind of tone again with the mythological world and take it too seriously. Just as we did with Wick, you can’t kill 80 people over a puppy and take yourself seriously. We got to let the audience know that we’re having fun and that there is a world here. Point being I can’t see Highlander without Queen, without the queen center, without having Freddy Mercury, Prince of the Universe, and all this stuff. I can’t picture the movie in my head without it.”
Lastly, Stahelski talked a bit about the MPAA rating. While a PG-13 rating seems to be the norm for most franchise movies (and reboots of R rated properties, for that matter), Stahelski has stated that the film they’re making will most likely be R-rated, although making the movie an R isn’t necessarily their biggest focus with the project.
“Thus far the people in charge of the pocket book and all that, they’ve asked [the rating question] and I said, ‘Look, the way I work, the way we did John Wick, we never set about making a hardcore rated-R action movie, we said we’re going to do this, this is the design we want to do, this is what we feel is fun. If heads coming apart is an R, great. If heads coming apart is a PG, great. Ratings are second to what we’re going to do. Highlander, I think the action is — at least what’s in my head — is going to fall on a line, for sure. We want to design it what we think is aesthetically cool, and so far I’ve met no resistance, they’re like, ‘Look, whatever you did with John Wick with the gun stuff, we want you to try and do with the sword stuff. We want you to make something cool and something unique, and something that’s going to make audiences say ‘Wow, I haven’t seen that before.’ So I think that’s the road they’re letting me go down and what side of the line it falls on… I certainly don’t want to be gory for gory’s sake, and I don’t want to be clean for clean’s sake. We’re not trying to hit four corners, we want to make great urban myth that goes through time, and we’ll see where that lands.”
Only time will tell what we can make of the project, but it certainly sounds like Chad Stahelski is invested in making anything but a going-through-the-motions remake by focusing on delivering a solid foundation for a standalone movie that could be the launching point for potential sequels.