Cast/Recast: Highlander


There’s talk that Highlander (1986) is about to be rebooted. I know there was quite a popular TV series that was a spin-off from the original series of films, but I was never a fan, and I’ve only ever seen the first movie, so I thought it would be fun to recast the main characters of the original mid-eighties movie. Here’s what I came up with:

Highlander (1986)

Character: Connor ‘The Highlander’ MacLeod / Russell Edwin Nash
Originally played by: Christopher Lambert
Recast: Sam Heughan

Connor MacLeodThe original film cast a Frenchman in the role of a Highlander. I want to put a Scot in the role. A Scot who has recently become quite well known for playing a Highlander born some 200 years after Connor MacLeod, as he plays Jamie Fraser in the Starz series, Outlander (which is excellent, by the way). He’s tall, good looking, and looks fabulous in a kilt. He can also handle a sword, which is pretty important for this role. I’d love to see this up-and-coming actor play the lead here. He certainly has the talent and charisma for the role.

Character: Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez
Originally played by: Sean Connery
Recast: Rodrigo Santoro

Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos RamirezIn another strange bit of casting, the original film had a Scotsman playing an Egyptian. I want to cast a Brazillian in the role. Santaro has proven he can be an imposing presence (check out his performance as Xerxes in 300), and his exotic good looks would seem to fit the character well. And look at those soulful eyes – if anyone looks like he has a soul that has lasted thousands of years, it’s him. I could believe he’s been walking the earth since almost 900 years before the birth of Christ!

Character: Victor Kruger / The Kurgan
Originally played by: Clancy Brown
Recast: Zach McGowan

The KurganThe heavy leather boots left vacant by the formidable Clancy Brown are incredibly hard to fill. From the information I’ve managed to gather, the ex-wrestler-turned-actor, Dave Bautista, is stepping into them for the reboot, but I’m disappointed by this choice. I’d like to go a little more subtle. Another of the Starz alumni is my choice. McGowan can currently be seen playing the ruthlessly vicious Captain Charles Vain in Black Sails, and his gravelly tones would be perfectly suited to the evil Russian who is even older than the Egyptian. He’s not quite as tall as Brown, but at six feet tall, he can still be pretty imposing, and he can certainly project enough menace to terrify any immortal!

Character: Heather MacLeod
Originally played by: Beatie Edney
Recast: Lily James

Heather MacLeodAnother rising star at the moment is Lily James, known for playing Lady Rose MacClare in Downton Abbey, and now as playing Cinderella in the live action remake of the Disney classic animated film. Her fresh face and natural prettiness would suit the role of Heather MacLeod perfectly.

Character: Brenda J. Wyatt
Originally played by: Roxanne Hart
Recast: Katee Sackhoff

BrendaAs the police technician fascinated with the apparent murder case involving MacLeod/Nash, and his modern-day love interest, I see someone like Katee Sackhoff (who played the formidable Starbuck in the rebooted Battlestar Galactica). She’s a down-to-earth, independent, feisty kind of gal who would be a great foil for the leading Highlander.

Character: Rachel Ellenstein
Originally played by: Sheila Gish
Recast: Raquel Welch

Rachel Ellenstein HighlanderCasting Rachel, the little girl adopted by MacLeod when he finds her all alone during World War II is a touch more difficult to cast, as we are now thirty years on from the original film. We need someone who was a small child, maybe five or six years old, by the tail end of the war, but someone who still looks pretty good. Of course, Hollywood is filled with screen sirens who are aging very gracefully, but the one I chose, who I think fits the bill perfectly, is Raquel Welsh, who was born in 1940 and still looks absolutely amazing at the age of 74! She would bring a real touch of class to my personal reboot.

So, there we go – my own personal wish list for a reboot of this magnificent movie. Obviously, I haven’t cast every role – there are many other roles I could cast, but I choose to focus on just the main parts as I see them.

Do you agree with my choices? Either way, I’d love to know. And if you’d cast someone else, leave a comment below with your choice and reason for casting them.

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8 thoughts on “Cast/Recast: Highlander

  1. Woo… now there’s a set of movies I haven’t watched since…. yikes! I was in single digits! Maybe it’s time to revisit them…

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