Last week, word came out that the studios behind the Highlander remake were wanting Ryan Reynolds to play the lead role of Connor MacLeod. This didn't sit too well with me as I feel there are other actors (ones who are actually Scottish too) who would be far better suited to the role of the immortal bad ass.
Let me say this to begin with, this article is NOT a Ryan Reynolds bashing article. Truth be told, I like Ryan Reynolds and think he's a good actor, who sometimes gets caught in terrible films (yet I never blame him for those films). However, I just don't feel he's right for the part of the Highlander.
Even though I love the original films (that's right, I enjoyed ALL of them on some level), Christopher Lambert's accent in the films has always struck me as kind of humorous. He's French trying to play a Scott, while his mentor is actually Scottish, playing some sort of Spaniard. It's great! So when word about a remake/reboot started swirling several years ago, I got to thinking; "Why not cast an actual Scottish person to play Connor MacLeod?" To that end, here's my list of 3 Scottish actors who I think would make excellent Highlanders.
Gerard Butler makes my list not just because of the epic skills and intensity he showed off in 300 (though that's definitely part of it), but mostly because of his ability to play dark and lone-wolf type characters. Connor MacLeod isn't a happy go-lucky kind of guy. He's spent the last 4 centuries of his life watching his loved ones grow old and die, while he has to continue and fight battle after battle.
By the timeframe of the Highlander movie, Connor's a bitter and jaded person, wanting to be left alone so he no longer has to get close to anyone. MacLeod's a loner and Gerard Butler can play that kind of character really well. He can be brooding and secretive, while still be able to serve up the ass-kicking required of the character. Besides which, it'd just be nice to see Butler back in more of an action role.
Ray Park (Darth Maul, Snake Eyes) hasn't really gotten his 'big break' yet in films. He's done quite a few roles over the years, but he's still not really a household name. That's kind of a shame, because I really like the guy, but the main reason I'm putting him on this list, is his incredible martial arts talent. I've had the chance to meet Park before and being a martial artist myself, that's primarily what him and I talked about. I've watched him doing competitions and of course the things he's done in his films. The man knows what he's doing when it comes to action.
Let's face it, at its simplest, Highlander is an action film. In order for the franchise to be relevant in today's world of action films, the filmmakers are going to have to ensure it has some epic looking fight scenes. This is what would make Ray Park an excellent choice. He can bring some heavy action to the fight scenes and truly make Connor MacLeod into (more of) a bad ass.
McGregor might seem an odd choice at first, being that he's more of an open and outgoing type of personality (counter to how we've already established MacLeod is not), but he is one damn fine actor. He molds himself into any role and performs incredibly well, and I've yet to see a movie I didn't like him in (he's been in movies I didn't like, but he did excellent).
McGregor can also handle himself very well in the action genre, as evidenced by his 'sword' fighting in the Star Wars prequels, and I think he'd bring a lot of depth to the character. He's good enough to play the younger naive Connor, when he first becomes immortal and needs his mentor, and strong enough to play the jaded and harder edge 'modern' Connor as he faces down the Kurgan.
Are there other people I think could nail this role and make an epic Highlander? Of course, but I as I said at the beginning I think it would be great for the film to use an actual Scotsman for the role, rather than have someone faking it. Besides, these guys are fun actors, have all had their hands in the action genre and (in my personal opinion) would fit the part of Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod way better than Ryan Reynolds.
Well, those are my Scottish actors, do you guys have any? Or, who do you think overall would be the best actor for Highlander?