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INT: Adrian Paul

Adrian Paul is a familiar name to all the fans of HIGHLANDER. His work on the series as Duncan MacLeod has earned him status as a cult hero. And since then, he has continued to carry on the series in film. But to say that is his only claim to fame is way off. He is constantly working, including a film he is shooting in Budapest called NINE MILES DOWN. It is great to see him continue to work in the horror/fantasy genre.

I got a chance to talk shop with him and to say I was impressed is a major understatement. We talked about HIGHLANDER THE SOURCE and his disappointment in the finished project. Although not the best in the series, I still found it to be a fun couple of hours, yet it had it’s problems. Adrian discusses those issues with the film and how he was hoping to make a film that fans could have really been happy about. He is a real class act and I have the utmost respect for his honesty.

So where are you filming right now?

I’m in Budapest at the moment.

Okay, well the first question I have to ask you is… where is your home base?

Ah, good question. I mean, I travel a lot. I have a place in Los Angeles. I travel a lot to Europe for work…

I noticed you seem to work all over the world and you are probably one of the hardest working guys in Hollywood…

[Laughing]

And of course you’re in Budapest, you seem to work everywhere… don’t you get homesick?

Ah, no, I’m so used to traveling, you know. And my girlfriend’s here too so we travel a lot together. I put a lot of stuff in different places and I have friends in a lot of different places so that’s really nice. I get the best of both worlds, I get to see my friends in different places from time to time and I get to enjoy the different cultures that I come into contact with.

That is kind of cool actually.

Yeah, I’ve always enjoyed traveling.

Lets talk about HIGHLANDER: THE SOURCE. You took on Executive Producer for this, how did that come about?

Well they asked me whether I wanted to become part of it and I hadn’t been happy with some of the decisions that had been made on the one before, and I had no control over it. And I wanted to make sure that, at least the acting part of it was covered, in the sense of, you know, some of the decisions we would make would be correct. It worked to a point. But it was hard because I was in virtually everything. So to be a producer as well, my producer’s hat had to really sort of stop once shooting began. You know, for me to be the producer, and the actor on set, just didn’t work.

And at times, I was the only producer on set, which was kind of weird because Bill [Panzer] wasn’t well and nobody else had come across to spend time with it the way he would. So it was a little bit of an odd situation that we had there. I enjoyed producing, I’ve been in the producer aspect before when we did “Tracker”. I’ve done a couple of other things… here, right now, one I think might get green lit that I wrote, that I’m actually a producer on. So it’s actually something I like to do, and I’m about to start working with a really good producer here. She’s actually an American so she’s done a lot of big movies and we seem to gel in the way that we work together, so we’re looking for product right now to produce together. You know, it’s kind of a fun thing to do but I do still like to act.

Now with The Source, you’re character Duncan Macleod, you’ve gone through so many changes from the series to this. What have you found that has changed, by either getting worse or better?

Well, I think Duncan has gotten too dark now. I mean, there was something that we went into this film with, ‘oh we’ve got to make the world dark’ and I went with that idea. But the end of the film was not really resolved for any of us in the sense that, it kind of ended and there was supposed to be another scene shot which brought it back to life again, but we never got the time or the money to shoot that. So, I would have liked to have seen MacLeod… with the series he had a sense of humor and there was a certain lightness about him in certain aspects, even though there’s a darkness in a lot of the subject matter, I would have like to have seen more of that. If MacLeod had a little more irony than he had played in the film.

Yeah, it was a much darker version of your character. Although I did kind of like the film, there were moments that worked. I thought Brett Leonard brought kind of an interesting look to the film.

I think the look of the film is really good. I think where the problems of the film are, I’ll be honest, I mean people will kill me for this, but I’m always honest about the stuff I do. I’ll say I really like stuff or I really don’t like stuff. But where we could have gotten better was some of the visual effects element. Some of it, I think, we were shooting in the dark in certain respects, like the fight sequences. And the world, understanding what the source was all about, I think we could have been a little clearer on. I think the visual effects could have helped the action rather than make it a little cartoonish occasionally. But I think the acting was strong. And I think some of the look of the film was really good. And it felt like a really big movie and we shot it for a very small budget which I was very pleased about in a sense but… again, I think we could have done better.

Do you think, obviously with the progress in CGI, that even though it has opened up a lot of doors, we can do things now that we couldn’t dream of doing years ago, that it has hurt the product as of late?

Yeah. Absolutely. To me, I think when you have a certain product, you have to always have its basics that would make people like it in the first place. And I think what was tried to be done with this, was to make it into a superhero type of aspect. And I don’t think that is what HIGHLANDER is about. I think Highlander is about history, love, romance, betrayal, honor… it’s about all those things. And when you take away some of those basic elements, it loses, and you draw on the action hero, sci-fi type of stuff. I don’t think that works as well.

It does seem like it is a difficult position for you to be in with your role as executive producer and then trying to separate yourself from it. How early on do you think the problems began?

Well I think for me there was some problems with the script itself. I think that’s where we really started finding it. But we ran out of time. To be honest, we ran out of time. We were on a schedule to make it and the script was three-quarters of the way to being developed. And I think if we had another month or two of sitting down, discussing it and really looking at it and having the correct writer on board, to help that. And in my view it would have been David Abramowitz. I think it would have been a much better film and an end product. I think we, I’m not making excuses, I’m just telling it how it was. So I think that was when we started realizing, ‘oh we’ve got [problems]…’ and we started fixing it on the spot and that never helps. Because we change one thing and it affects something else.

Well especially something so rich in history. There is a lot of history behind these characters.

SPOILER

Yeah there is. For instance, I always say this and a lot of people ask me this, and I’m like… well, if you didn’t know anything about the series, would you really know what the relationship between Dawson and MacLeod was in this film? So when he dies, you don’t really care. So, I mean, that’s something you have to look at from a totally different standpoint. Rather than expecting everyone to understand who Joe Dawson was to MacLeod and why it hurt him so much when he died.

END SPOILER

You mentioned the film you are shooting right now, can you talk a little more about it?

Oh, it’s a cool movie. It’s a cool movie. It’s called NINE MILES DOWN, it’s a psychological thriller with a lot of twists. And it’s a great acting piece for me. And I think it’s going to do pretty good, to make people look at things and go ‘Wow, that’s kind of cool.’ Some of the visual stuff in it is really cool. The director has spent nine years on this, so he knows everything backwards… and now, he’s really allowed us to sort of work as actors and bring in stuff of our own to add to that. And I think it’s really helping the product and I’m really excited about it.

Let me know what you think. Send questions and/or comments to
[email protected]

READ OUR HIGHLANDER THE SOURCE REVIEW HERE

GET THE HIGHLANDER THE SOURCE DVD HERE

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