Prince of the Uni­verse

Christo­pher Lam­bert talks High­lander’s 30th birth­day, sequels and the pro­posed re­boot...

SFX - - Red Alert - High­lander is out on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD now.

“It’s un­be­liev­able,” mut­ters Christo­pher Lam­bert, re­flect­ing on how a fan­tasy film he head­lined in 1986 still en­joys such a rev­er­en­tial fan­base on its 30th birth­day. “It deals with im­mor­tal­ity,” he shrugs, try­ing to ex­plain its pop­u­lar­ity. “When I read it in ’85, all these peo­ple were go­ing to plas­tic surgery – ev­ery­one wants to try to re­ju­ve­nate.” Now more than ever… “I read an ar­ti­cle a few months ago. Medicine is go­ing so fast to­day that when you’re 75, they’ll be able to bring you back to 50. And by the time you get to 75 again, the sci­en­tists will be able to bring you back to 40.”

High­lander cast Lam­bert as Con­nor Ma­cLeod from the clan Ma­cLeod, a 16th-cen­tury Scots­man who dis­cov­ers he is one of a small group of im­mor­tals who must lop off each other’s heads with huge swords, for there can be only one. He signed on be­fore the pro­duc­ers re­alised he spoke lit­tle English (“I was raised on the French side of Switzer­land. When I met the pro­ducer, his face dropped: ‘Holy shit, how are we gonna do this?’”), trained with swords and a voice coach for 20 weeks, and barely spoke to Con­nor’s arch en­emy, the Kur­gan, played by Clancy Brown, on set (“He wanted to stay in char­ac­ter”). It was worth it – the movie is a classic, some­how co­her­ing into a sat­is­fy­ing whole while hop­ping be­tween the me­dieval high­lands and 1980s New York, fan­tasy and ro­mance, with Queen on the sound­track.

“When I was pro­mot­ing High­lander 2, I kept say­ing, ‘Lis­ten, if you’re ex­pect­ing a se­quel, then don’t see this movie,’” he sighs of the fran­chise’s plum­met. “I said to the pro­duc­ers, ‘It’s ridicu­lous – they’re com­ing from a dif­fer­ent planet?!’ High­lander 3 was what num­ber 2 should have been, though you can never repli­cate the magic of the orig­i­nal.”

That said, the TV show (1992-1998) was “fun”, and he has no prob­lems with the long-planned High­lander re­boot, say­ing, “You can re-do some­thing, but don’t try and copy.” If they want him for a cameo, he’ll do it, but he has no in­ten­tion of play­ing the role of Ma­cLeod’s Egyp­tian-born men­tor Juan Sanchez Villa-Lo­bos Ramirez, as por­trayed by Sean Con­nery in the orig­i­nal. As far as Lam­bert is con­cerned, his High­lander legacy is as­sured… “It’s now been three gen­er­a­tions [of fans],” he laughs. “I have 12-year-olds in the street say­ing, ‘High­lander, it’s so fuck­ing great.’”

Now that’s a sword that saw some ac­tion.

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