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Highlander Reboot Director Explains Why Henry Cavill Is Perfect For The Lead Role

Over the last decade, Henry Cavill has lent his acting talents to various franchises and properties, from his time as Superman in the DC Extended Universe to starring as Geralt of Rivia in Netflix’s The Witcher. Soon this corner of his professional life will grow a bit bigger, as it was revealed in May that Cavill will star in the Highlander reboot being directed by John Wick’s Chad Stahelski. As for why Cavill was the perfect person to lead this reimagining of the Highlander mythology, Stahelski said it boiled down to both the actor’s physical presence and having the necessary gravitas to play an immortal warrior.

As Chad Stahelski explained, it wasn’t enough for Henry Cavill to have the right physicality for Highlander; he also needed to be able to “carry the empathy of a character that’s lived 500 years.” Fortunately, it didn’t take long for Stahelski to see that Cavill could easily handle this, telling THR:

The character’s arc spans hundreds of years and he becomes many different personalities, all of which extend the timeline of his emotional growth. Then during our first meeting, my suspicions were confirmed: Henry was immediately riffing on the idea of the burden of immortality and you could see in his eyes that he can transform himself from being a young, vibrant soul to an old, wise soul. He had this combination I was fascinated by. The other thing you could see was his genuineness – he really loves the property and loves what he believes he can do with it, and when an actor has that level of passion, you’re going to get something unique. And finally – you’ve met him, you know – after 10 minutes you’re just like: ‘He’s cool, I want to hang out with this guy.'

It still hasn’t been clarified if Henry Cavill is playing a new version of Connor MacLeod, the lead protagonist from the original Highlander and its film sequels who Christopher Lambert brought to life, or a completely-new character in the Highlander reboot. Either way, Chad Stahelski is confident that Cavill will do a great job presenting both a youthful spirit and the weary spirit of someone who’s walked the Earth for centuries. It also helps that the actor has been a Highlander fan since he was a kid, so he came in with a good grip on the material.

This reboot has been in development since 2008, with Chad Stahelski coming aboard in late 2016. It’s unclear how much connective tissue this version of Highlander will share with its predecessors. The original movie, which also starred Sean Connery, Clancy Brown and Roxanne Hart, saw Earth’s remaining immortals (who are empowered by the Quickening and can only die by being beheaded) meeting for the Gathering, a duel to the death where the winner collects the Prize, the power of all immortals from throughout time. There were five live-action movies in the original film series, as well as an anime movie and three TV shows, among other media.

The Highlander reboot is expected to begin shooting in 2022, though a specific release date hasn’t been set yet. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates on its development, and in the meantime, you can see Henry Cavill reprising Geralt of Rivia in The Witcher Season 2, which premieres on Netflix December 17. He’s also currently shooting Enola Holmes 2, his second outing as Sherlock Holmes, which will premiere on the same streaming service sometime next year.

Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.