The veteran portrayer of Duncan McLeod talks about this new adventure and future projects
Adrian Paul has been in these shoes before. Ever since 1992, we've known him as Duncan McLeod, or, The Highlander. Paul is coming back to this immortal character for the first time in eight years with the DVD release Highlander: The Source, which was released on DVD on February 26. I had a chance to speak with Paul today over the phone, and here's what he had to say.
It's been eight years since you played Duncan McLeod. What was it like to step back into that character again for Highlander: The Source?
Adrian Paul: It was fun. It was fun to try and find something different from a guy that I've spent a long time with. You know, it's just a slightly different take on it. It's dark, a lot darker than he was originally. But, in the state of what they were trying to do with it, it worked well. It was fun to do, because McLeod became a part of me, I became a part of him, so stepping back into him was relatively non-painful.
How did this project get set up in the first place?
Adrian Paul: I was asked to be involved, and when I heard that (Highlander series writer) David Abramowitz was going to be the writer, I thought that was a really cool idea. He has a lot of heart as a writer. He wrote the series and I thought it would be great to actually team up with him again. First what happened is he wasn't involved in it quite as much, and another writer came in and wrote the script, so that's how it started.
So I see you have some old friends from earlier Highlander works like Peter Wingfield as Methos and Jim Byrnes as Joe Dawson. What was it like working with them again?
Adrian Paul: Oh, we had a good time. I always liked working with those guys. You spend a lot of time with people, on the set, and we spent a lot of time together, and you kind of get to know them better than your own friends. They're nice, genuine, honest people.
I loved Thekla Reuten in In Bruges. What was she like to work with?
Adrian Paul: Oh, she's fabulous. Thekla really came with it, she wanted to do good. I really liked Thekla. I thought she did a great job on the movie. She had a lot of qualities that Highlander women have. They're kind of sexy, kind of motherly, earthy people. She has all those qualities naturally, so she brought a lot to the role.
In the timeline of the Highlander, this is just a new adventure, right? It's not a prequel or anything like that?
Adrian Paul: No, this is a sometime-in-the-not-too-distant-future type of thing. That's where it was supposed to be set, in the next two or three or four years time down the road. Yeah, that's where it was supposed to be based.
It seems that this is almost like Star Wars, with all these separate mythologies. There was an anime Highlander: The Search for Vengeance released recently, and there have been a few other different Highlander works. Has there been any plans to try and consolodate all these separate Highlander works?
Adrian Paul: You know, they're not separate. They're all a part of the same company. Panzer-Davis controls all of that. As you're talking about in the mythology of it all, I can't answer that question because, since Bill Panzer died last year, it's going to be a little bit before they know which direction they want to go with it. They also have a video game that's coming out soon, which I've actually seen and it looks pretty good. It's one of those things that might never die (Laughs). You can put him in any time period you want.
What is it that you enjoy most about playing this character?
Adrian Paul: The very stuff I get to do. I mean, I get to dress up in different costumes, be in different time periods and try to do a slightly different guy from the past than he is in the present. I get to play with swords, I get to play with some cool people, it's just a fun role to play. I'm very lucky to have gotten it.
It looks like you've got some pretty big roles as well. Can you tell us anything about The Heavy, Captain Drake or Nine Miles Down?
Adrian Paul:The Heavy is an English movie. It's kind of like a gangster movie that has a really interesting cast to it. It's a role for me that's very different, playing a political part, who's about to win the general election in England. His brother is a fuck, who basically is out to try and kill him. That was fun, very different. At the same time, when I'm going to play in an English film, I'm going to play an American NSA agent in Eyeborgs, which is actually based on all these cameras that are being installed in many cities around the world, and how they are being obtrusive. The cameras, in this movie, are actually robots. They can actually give people tickets, give people citations, so they're going a bit further than that. Then Captain Drake is a Sci-Fi Channel movie of the week, which I had so much fun doing. I just enjoyed playing it, because, in my research on Captain Drake, you know, he was a very famous character in England, but he was also a pirate. He was egotistical, self-centered, wasn't liked by many people because he was so full of himself. So I played him like that (Laughs). We had so many laughs, just from the preposterousness of being that way, it brought something out of the character that we might not have seen before. The one I'm doing now, Nine Miles Down is a psyschological thriller. It's a really good, well-written script, which the director had for a long time, like eight or nine years. Technically, it's a really interestingly-shot, and hopefully really well-acted psychological thriller with some interesting twists in it. So, I've gone from one end of the spectrum to the other.
Finally, where do you see the Highlander franchise in, say, 20 years? Is this something you'll always be a part of in the future?
Adrian Paul: I don't know. You just don't know where they're going to take it. I'm just having fun doing what I'm doing. If they ask me to come back and do something that's worthwhile doing, then I'd definitely consider it. Who can tell what the future is going to bring.
That's about all I have for you. Thank you very much for your time, Adiran.
Adrian Paul: Your very welcome. Thank you, Brian.
You can find Adrian Paul and Highlander: The Source on the DVD shelves now.