SDCC 2011: Catching Up With Adrian Paul

Transcription by Katrina King. Katrina is a Princess of the Universe…

Adrian Paul is best known for playing Duncan MacLeod in the television series Highlander: The Series. He’s also well known for his debut on The Colbys, Tracker, the second season of War of the Worlds, the 1991 revival of Dark Shadows and films such as Love Potion No. 9, Susan’s Plan, The Breed and The Heavy. Adrian is currently hard at work on several projects as well as his ongoing charity initiative, but he did stop by this year’s San Diego Comic-Con to meet with fans. He was gracious enough to talk to me for a few minutes at the Wired Cafe about Highlander and a few other things.

POP CULTURE ZOO: Thanks very much for talking to me today.

ADRIAN PAUL: You’re welcome!

PCZ: I’m a big fan of your work: Highlander, The Breed, Susan’s Plan

AP: Oh, I loved The Breed

PCZ: I’d actually kind of had hoped The Breed was going to turn into a TV show. I think that would have made a great series.

AP: I think it would have been a really cool series, very cool… I mean, it kind of has! They’ve done True Blood. We did that in 2002. I mean, come on! I like the character too.

PCZ: Such an interesting character, and you’re right, ahead of his time. There’s been many like him since then. So we’re coing up on the 20th anniversary of Highlander: the Series. What are your thoughts on it 20 years later?

AP: I didn’t even realize it, and Peter Davis was like, “By the way, did you know?” And I’m all, “Oh my god… What? Are you kidding me? 20 years ago now? Oh wow.. I feel old!” Y’know… So, yeah… what are my feelings about it? I actually remember walking into the hotel where I first did the audition, the first meeting I had, I told ’em they shouldn’t look for anybody else, because I was the guy! I swear I did. And they’re going that’s a cocky mother! It took three months to go through the all casting process and screen tests and all that before I got it.

PCZ: So were you surprised or disappointed that it only went 6 years?

AP: Surprised. Highlander was so taxing. It wasn’t an easy show to do. I loved it, but my life was Highlander. That was it. I spent morning noon and night, six, seven days a week doing it. I had no time for anything else. So you had to go “I need another life! I don’t want to die doing this.” That’s why I think, I wasn’t sure it was going to do that well, but glad it did, but also happy it didn’t go any further, to a degree.

PCZ: Right. Yeah, ’cause seeing you talk about doing things back then, you were doing sword training and working out and then shooting.

AP: Sometimes, I had so many sword fights to do that I would end up doing rehearsals in between takes while I worked. I’d be doing a take and the sword master and I would be off to the side on break in between takes, and I’d go and rehearse, and then go back and do the scene. So, no, I didn’t have any time.

PCZ: So, of course, I have to ask the sticky subject about Highlander: the Source. What happened there? Was there a legitimate need to really explain about the Immortals and kind of go out with that?

AP: The original idea of it was to create a big end to Duncan’s story, a passing of the torch, now you could go on with a young Immortal. But unfortunately, they’d never finished the script. I mean, we worked on it, and worked on it. When I was originally saw the shooting script I was very surprised, because I’d been told it was going to be something else. It was nothing like what I was being told, and I said it needs a lot of work. And we kept working on it, but things happened, and the plans for further films changed at the time, and there wasn’t anybody heading the rewrite. The last quarter of the script, it was like, you’re not quite sure what was supposed to happen. It made no sense.

PCZ: That almost seemed to be the curse of the Highlander movies. That either there wasn’t a full script there, or someone with money came in and said we’ll give you money but we want it made in our way.

AP: That’s usually it!

PCZ: I don’t think I’ve seen a movie franchise that has so many versions of each movie!

AP: They’re revamping the new one! It has legs, if it’s done correctly, it’s a fantastic franchise, it really is! It just has to be done right. That’s the only thing.

PCZ: Are you amazed at the number of fans you still have from Highlander?

AP: Oh yeah, I mean, what can I say. I was signing yesterday, I’m signing today, and when I got to the line I kind of went, there’s not gonna be anybody there, because I only announced on Monday that I was coming. It was like they didn’t know I was gonna be here. It was surprising that these people were still going “That was my favorite series!” I’m totally honored that I have that many people that still remember it.

PCZ: Excellent! So, I’ve watched Eyeborgs recently. I thought that, other than the little guys running around and stuff, that it’s almost kind of the way our society is now. I mean, cameras watching you everywhere…

AP: That was the idea of them shooting it. In London, for instance, about 85% of the roads were monitored at one point. There are a lot of people out there saying “This is a major invasion of privacy.” That was the idea of Eyeborgs. You see New York, Chicago, larger metropolitan cities with the same legislation. So they were trying to put something out there saying “Woah, wait a minute, this could happen” It’s a fantasy idea, but based in truth.

PCZ: Right, right. And I see too, looking on IMDB, I think you’re one of the busiest people I’ve seen working. You have several projects each year it seems!

AP: I only do about 2 or 3. So a couple a year. I mean, some years I’ve got more than others, but where I’m really busy right now is my film company which is Filmblips. We’ve got about 3 or 4 movies that are in different stages of pre-production. So that’s kept me really busy, because dealing with the packages, dealing with the casting, dealing with the financing and all that, it’s been hard, but it’s fun. I like working, y’know, but I like getting paid for it too. That’ll happen soon, I hope. (laughs)

PCZ: How’s the PEACE Fund coming along?

AP: Good! We actually have a new initiative, Celebs for PEACE, which is a simple program I came up with. People who go to conventions, racetracks, anywhere, all they need to do is go to my site, download the release form, give it to a celebrity, ask them to take a picture doing the peace sign. They send us the picture, we upload it and we let people download it for a donation. It’s a simple way to get involved without too much effort.

PCZ: To me, it’s admirable that you’ve kept PEACE going. You see celebrities start a charity or something like that, and they last for a few years. But I remember being at one of the Highlander conventions and you were already talking about it then.

AP: I remember, it was ’97 and it was a very simple concept then. Just get celebrities to inspire peace. I’m still kind of in that vein, in a sense, but the intent has changed in that we actually go fund actual events now that we take around. We have to have a lot more people working for us. We actually deal with other charities that are on the ground, and actually have the manpower to facilitate what goes under our mission statement, which is protecting, educating, or aiding children, in whatever part of the world it is.

PCZ: That’s awesome, as a parent, anything that helps children, I’m all for.

AP: Oh yeah, me too, I love being a parent.

PCZ: It’s awesome.

AP: Oh I love it. Love it.

PCZ: There’s never a dull moment…

AP: Another little rat of you walking around. “Oh no, I can’t believe you just did that!” Payback!

PCZ: It’s all awesome. On a different note good buddy of mine, Brandon Jerwa, wrote the Highlander comics…

AP: Yeah, I remember Brandon!

PCZ: What’d you think about being in a comic book?

AP: It’s really weird! I mean, I’ve seen my action figure, too! I’m like “Really?” If it had been done now, the action figures and the comics, it’d be much bigger, because there’s a much bigger audience for that now than there was in the ’90s. Highlander never had a presence at Comic-Con. Ever. That’s unheard of for any show now. Now you have to have a presence at Comic-Con, so it’s interesting that that’s changed. To actually have a comic… just, wow.

PCZ: Well, he did Duncan right in the comic, so he took care of him for you. Well, thank you very much, it’s good talking to you!

AP: Thank you!

OUR SDCC 2011 COVERAGE IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
Jenny Hanniver, Lorelei Miller, The Nord Family, Kyle Winters, Angela Dean, Erik Bruhwiler, Spencer Fornaciari, Teresa Everett, Katrina King, Jayson Peters, Michael Eshom, Renata Kanclerz, Kimberly Potts, @timegeek

About Joseph Dilworth Jr.

Joseph Dilworth Jr. has been writing since he could hold a pencil (back then it was one of those big, fat red pencils, the Faber-Castell GOLIATH. Remember those? Now that was a pencil!). As editor-in-chief and instigator of this here website he takes full responsibility for any wacky hi-jinks that ensue. He appreciates you taking the time to read his articles and asks that you direct any feedback, criticisms, questions about life directly to him by clicking here.