For years, “John Wick” director Chad Stahelski has been working on a sword-fighting epic called “Highlander.” Now he promises to retain a particular element.
It’s nearly impossible for fans to think of the cult classic “Highlander” without immediately having the melody and refrain of “Who Wants to Live Forever” by the British rock band Queen in their heads. The film, directed by Russell Mulcahy and starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery, and the Queen song are inseparable and forever linked.
It’s truly remarkable how much of a cult has formed around this first film in the series over the decades since its release, despite, or perhaps because of, it being a box office flop. Elements like the slogan “There can be only one” and the entire Queen soundtrack have found their place in pop culture history. Yet, the legendary collaboration between the filmmakers and Queen almost didn’t happen.
When Mulcahy contacted the band led by the legendary Freddie Mercury to request them to contribute the title song for his second feature film, they initially turned down the request. However, for the filmmaker, there was only one band he believed capable of composing an iconic title song (via Queen Online):
“Queen had produced a great soundtrack for ‘Flash Gordon,’ so we gave them a 20-minute videotape with different scenes, and they said, ‘Wow!’ We assumed they would write just one song, but they wanted to write every single one.”
The result was not only Queen’s twelfth studio album, “A Kind of Magic,” whose album and song titles were directly borrowed from the film, but also an unofficial soundtrack for “Highlander” with six songs, some of which were arranged differently in the film. The two most famous of these are undoubtedly “Princes of the Universe” and “Who Wants to Live Forever.” Which fan doesn’t get goosebumps from the latter? It is among the top 15 movies according to the IMDb database, belonging to the best of all time.
“Highlander” will use the original songs by Queen The new “Highlander” by “John Wick” director Chad Stahelski, which has been in the works for years, may differ from the 1986 original in many ways, but fans can be sure of one thing: the songs by Queen will remain. The filmmaker assured this to The Wrap:
“Yes, probably in a different way than you think, but fundamentally, yes.”
Perhaps there will be remasters of the original songs by Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor. Maybe the songs will be completely reissued and rearranged, but one thing is certain: a “Highlander” film cannot do without the legendary Queen songs:
“We’re trying to connect everything you love about the original with more – that means we want to ground it, we want a big opportunity to build this world and mythology. But we don’t want to lose the fun either. It’s like the ‘John Wick’ movies: you want to experience this world, you want to believe it’s real. But it also deviates from reality by about five degrees. This is a movie where immortals walk around beheading each other. That carries a certain absurdity in itself.”
As for who will be in front of the camera in the film, it is not currently known. It is only confirmed that “The Witcher” star Henry Cavill will take the lead role, bringing significant experience from his role as the White Wolf to the table.