One of the undisputed highlights at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival was a special screening of cult classic HIGHLANDER, gloriously re-mastered and looking more spectacular than ever! American actor Clancy Brown, who plays the fearsome immortal Kurgan, was in town to attend the premiere and, with his undisputable charm, talk about the movie.

Film-News:
Clancy, congrats on the 30th anniversary of Highlander. Are there any particular memories which stand out?

Clancy Brown:
The one lasting impression/memory I have of Highlander is the special friendship with Bob Anderson, the sword-master who was also the fight choreographer on Stars Wars, The Mask of Zorro and a couple of other movies. He was such a great gentleman and one of those people you meet in the film biz who are real experts in their discipline. Sadly, Bob died two years ago and I really miss his friendship terribly. Thanks to him I did learn a lot about sword fighting but you know, fighting with these long and heavy swords can be so slow and cumbersome. I’m thinking how much easier it would be nowadays with a remake because you can do everything digital!

Film-News:
Since your arrival in Edinburgh for the Film Festival, have people stopped you in the streets and asked for your autograph and things like that?

CB:
Well, as you said it’s the Film Festival and they published the fact that I’m going to be here… the sliver of population who know who I am and who think I’m good come out and ask me to sign something. Or they ask me for a few lines of dialogue (such as “Don’t ever speak to me again”). But you know, if I come back here in a month or so then nobody’s gonna bother me. I’ll be alright, haha.

Film-News:
Clancy, your outfit as the ‘Kurgan’ is both fearsome and awe-inspiring. In the 2007 movie Pathfinder you play a Viking warrior called ‘Gunnar’ with a similar look… did you get the part of Gunnar as a result of your role in Highlander?

CB:
No, I don’t think that ‘Kurgan’ had anything to do with my part in Pathfinder, which was directed by a German director named Marcus Nispel. He envisaged Gunnar and all the Viking warriors as silent but we didn’t go for that, so he did the next best thing and had us ‘speak’ in Icelandic which came closest to being historically accurate. Unfortunately the whole movie didn’t really work – it’s actually based on a wonderful stark old Danish or Norwegian film though I can’t t remember the name, but in that film the pathfinder was a little boy whose tribe had gone to sea to hide from the bad guys.

Film-News:
Speaking of outfits, were you allowed any creative input in the design of Kurgan’s outfits?

CB:
Yeah, I think Jim Anderson was really generous and he did consult a little bit with me, then again, what does a 25-year old (which was my age at that time) really know about design…! So well, it was Jim who mostly came up with the ideas and the concept, though he made me feel as if I may have something to say about it. Ultimately this is what all designers do… they ask what you think and then do what they want to do! They only thing that really did happen was my suggestion regarding the headpiece. You remember my ritual headpiece in the film had this big mane attached to it, so when we went to do my final look with the shaved head and the tattoo I said, “Wouldn’t it be great if the tattoo called back to the headpiece and the mane?” So we created that character on the side of my head by keeping the mane of black hair. This was before manes were incorporated in tattoo designs and I was very proud of my ‘pop culture’ influence for about half a year or so, haha.

Film-News:
Are you surprised that Highlander had been chosen to receive a 4K restoration as part of the Special 30th anniversary re-release?

CB:
In a way yes, though of course it’s great that it’s available newly restored and looking magnificent. Really though I would like to see other films getting the same treatment like some of the fantastic old classics like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Or Once Upon A Time In The West, you know, I’d like to see that one re-mastered! But you know, people are doing this for whatever reasons they do and I like the fact that Highlander has be re-mastered, otherwise I wouldn’t be here.

Film-News:
Have you had any highlights so far during your stay in Edinburgh?

CB:
Not that many yet, I’ve mainly been doing the festival. I love Edinburgh and I got treated to a kilt which I wore for the anniversary premiere and also for the Ceilidh (Scottish dance), which was kind of fun. As from today my family and I try to get out and about and have a look at Arthur’s Seat and so on.

Film-News:
Many thanks for the interview, Clancy, and best wishes for the future.



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