Justin Lin Bows Out of ‘Highlander’ Remake

Justin Lin and his publicist are working overtime this week. The director has been doing a few interviews, and in the process dropping details about how he’s still working on Terminator 5, the fact that he’s got a sequence already prepped for Fast Six (or whatever it will be called) and the “ok, whatever” revelation that he turned down directorial duties on the fifth Die Hard film.

Now the latest info drop is that Lin has vacated the director’s chair on the planned remake of Highlander.

THR reports that Summit’s reboot of the 1986 cult film will have to find a new helmer, as the success of Fast Five led to job offers for Lin that are a lot more interesting than Highlander. (You make the call: T5 over Highlander?) His schedule filled up, so this week he made the call to bow out of the conflict between sword-wielding, decapitation-happy immortals.

Summit wants to make the film soon, so we can probably expect to hear of a hire in the next few weeks. Art Marcum and Matt Holloway were hired to script in 2008, and THR says their draft is still in play. Summit’s go-to Twilight screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg was reportedly reworking the script a few months ago. That Marcum/Holloway draft may or may not be used, depending upon who is hired to direct. But if Summit does want to make this one happen quickly, it’s more likely than not that the existing draft will be used.

I can’t imagine that Highlander is an obscurity to any of you, but on the off chance that is the case, here’s the trailer for the ’86 original. Excuse me while I dig up the de facto soundtrack album, Queen’s ‘A Kind of Magic.’

He fought his first battle on the Scottish Highlands in 1536. He will fight his greatest battle on the streets of New York City in 1986. His name is Connor MacLeod. He is immortal. Connor Macleod was born in 1518 in the Highlands of Scotland. In 1536, after facing a mysterious, evil opponent, he survives a fatal stab wound and is banished from his village, for they believe his survival is the work of the Devil. Five years later, Macleod is met by Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez, a swordsman who teaches Macleod the awful truth; he is immortal, one of a race of many who can only die when the head is cut from the body. When one immortal takes the head of another, the loser’s power is absorbed into the winner. Ramirez teaches Macleod the ways of the sword, until Ramirez is tragically killed by Connor’s ultimate opponent, the evil Kurgan, a murderous immortal brute who lusts for the ultimate power of the immortals, “The Prize”; enough power to rule the earth forever. Connor fights his way through the centuries, until the time of the Gathering, when the few immortals who have survived the endless battles come together to fight until only one remains, and that winner will receive The Prize. The time: 1985. The place: New York City. The final fight is about to begin, and in the end, there can be only one.

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