By Jan Lopreste
Talking to Bill Panzer is always such a pleasurable experience that I
hesitate to call it "work!" Although I am sure that he is an
extremely busy man, Mr. Panzer has always been gracious and kind in
sharing his time with me and with Highlander Fan Central. I recently had
the chance to chat with him about what is happening in the realm of
Highlander these days. He wasted no time in getting right to the heart of
what is on everyone's mind.
Regarding plans for another live-action Highlander movie, he said
"We are in conversations with the Miramax boys and they have asked us
to develop another movie. So we are sending them an idea. Today's title is
Highlander ~ TheSource." When
questioned as to whether or not this might tell where Immortals actually
came from, his seemingly wicked, gleeful pause was followed by, "Who
knows!" Have I mentioned that Mr. Panzer is an accomplished tease?
They are currently working on trying to agree on a concept, and will
look to Joel Soisson ~ who wrote Endgame ~ to do the writing. "We
would like to make a movie that has maybe a little more adventure in it,
maybe a little more Raiders of the Lost Ark kind of feeling to it. I think
it's a really cool idea, but lets see if anybody else thinks it's
Now, because I love all of our fans here at Highlander Fan Central so
much, I went out on that limb for you and asked about another live-action
weekly series. As I am sure you know, the process of bringing an idea from
a brain to actual production is a long and drawn out process and it takes
tremendous amounts of planning, timing and funds. Still, Mr. Panzer gave
me a snippet of information. A tidbit. A tease. "We have developed a
with Jim Thorpe, who was a staff writer on the HL series for the last
couple of years of the series, and consulting with - no, lets not even get
into that." He laughed. Some things are just not ready for public
consumption as of yet! I suppose we will just have to be patient until
he's ready to tell us more, but he did share that Mr. Thorpe is a Canadian
and Davis/Panzer would look forward to reprising their wonderful
experiences in Canada. "I miss it." He says. "The show we
are working on is called The Trinity. We
have a fairly extensive presentation and we've just started to go to
market with it." Meaning it may still be quite some time before we
hear anything more definite.
Davis/Panzer Productions isn't just involved with Highlander, though.
There are a few other projects in the works just now. "We have a
picture that is either going be called Dancer
or Runner that David Abramowitz wrote
and it's really terrific. Very exciting, slightly futuristic film noir,
action, sci-fi. It's really cool. We are about to start looking for the
director on that." He explained. It seems that most of the ideas in
the office right now are all at about the same stage of development, in
that they are "just hitting the market." Of course, anything
that David Abramowitz writes is
bound to be "a keeper" and I am sure that Highlander fans will
turn out to support it! The project has not yet been cast. Knowing that
the first question out of most actors' mouths When they are approached to
make a movie is, "Who's directing it?" the decision was made to
find the director first! Smart move. Who do they have in mind? There are a
few names that Mr. Panzer mentioned, but again, they are only just
beginning the search so time will tell. He is, however, very complimentary
about the script and thinks it will be a great project.
As for other projects, everyone has been asking about the DVD market,
and the possibility of the six seasons of Highlander being offered in that
format. "We're working on it. We're not quite sure yet what form it's
going to take. There's the "Best of" and we're planning on
doing the seasons, and we're just kind of organizing how that's going to
play out because it's a fairly substantial investment. We also wonder
about the strength of the market."
That sounds like a cue to me, folks. We need to let them know that we're
Like many of you, I was curious as to whether or not we might see new
Blooper Reels or behind-the-scenes features in the future. "Is there
extra stuff sitting in a can somewhere?" I asked.
" Well, the question is, Where's the can?!?" We both had a
good laugh over that. "Yes, I believe that our friends at Gaumont
have everything in storage in France. But 'everything', as you can well
imagine, is really a lot of stuff. Going through that to find additional
bloopers and behind-the-scenes stuff would be a fairly huge job."
Understandable. You may notice, however, that never did he say a flat-out
"No!" to my question. I take that as a good sign!
Another question on several people's minds has been the possibility of
getting their hands on scripts. "What's difficult about scripts is
that the script format does not lend itself easily or inexpensively to DVD.
What it does lend itself to is CD-Rom. And that's something that we might
consider doing." He stated. The project would not be without the
normal production problems that just about any project faces, but it is
feasible. "Scripts on CD-Rom are something that we might include as a
little bonus item with the DVD sets."
Always looking to the future of Highlander, and of the gentlemen who
brought it into our lives, I asked Mr. Panzer, "Where do you see you
guys in 10 or 20 years?"
"I see myself on a golf course." He dead-panned. We both
laughed. "I hope to see the Highlander interactive, massive,
multi-player online game a reality. It's a wonderful idea, but it's
certainly not going to come out for awhile yet. " He explained that
it's already been in development for over a year. "This makes movies
look like a fast-paced business!" He could see the game as being
something that the office would be constantly involved with, as
adjustments and expansions were being made to accommodate more and more
people playing, new time periods, characters, etc.
"I see maybe doing some smaller HL movies, smaller but more of
them, either for cable or direct-to-DVD. I see that as being kind of fun,
kind of a way to tell a few more stories." It would certainly be more
cost-effective. There is always a huge financial risk involved with
undertaking a big screen production. "And there may be one more of
those, if we get Highlander 5 off the ground. But you know, getting to
HL-4 was pretty surprising!" And pretty neat. "There's not a
whole lot of serious movies that there's ever been five of." Yet
another accomplishment for Davis/Panzer to be proud of,
and another assurance that the legend of Highlander will live on long
after we are gone. But then, that's the point of Highlander Fan Central,
isn't it? To "keep the legend alive!"
Thank you to Mr. Panzer and Mr. Davis and all of the wonderfully
talented actors, writers, directors, assistants, runners, copy editors,
etc etc etc who worked so long and so hard to fill our hearts and homes
with Highlander. We will keep watching, and keep hoping, that what started
twenty years ago will still be going strong twenty-plus years from now.
Even if it's from a golf course!