Juan Carlos Fresnadillo keeps teetering on the edge of directing a tentpole project, but has come up short each time. The 28 Weeks Later director was tapped for a Bioshock movie and The Crow reboot, but his vision ultimately failed to make it past the pre-production stage of development.
Now Fresnadillo has withdrawn from Summit’s Highlander reboot, which has Ryan Reynolds onboard as the next member of Clan MacLeod. The filmmaker’s decision to withdraw from The Crow contributed to Bradley Cooper departing - could he have a similar effect on Reynolds’ involvement with Highlander?
Deadline chalks up Fresnadillo leaving Highlander to creative differences, as he and Summit are reported to have reached an impasse over their differing views on what the film should be. The project still has producer Neal H. Moritz and Justin Lin (director of Fast and the Furious 3-6) set as executive producer, even though Lin dropped out as director last year. Moreover, the initial script from Matt Holloway and Art Marcum (Iron Man, Punisher: War Zone) was recently given a rewrite by Noah Oppenheim – who is also working on scripts for the WarGames remake and Americanized version of Snabba Cash (a.k.a. Easy Money).
That’s all to say, Summit has invested too much in the project to let it fall by the wayside now; so, you can expect an update on Fresnadillo’s possible replacement in the foreseeable future. Similarly, Reynolds doesn’t look to be going anywhere for the time being – though, that could change, depending on when Deadpool gets the green-light from Fox (and how the timing affects Reynolds’ availability for Highlander).
Highlander is the rare geek franchise that many fans seem to agree should be rebooted, following on the heels of subpar past installments; not to mention, the original 1986 fantasy-adventure film has (arguably) not aged as well as other properties from that decade currently being dusted off for the new century (see: RoboCop). However, the casting of Reynolds hasn’t inspired the support from the fanbase it was intended to generate, so anticipation for this reboot in general remains somewhat lukewarm (for the time being, that is).
As for Fresnadillo: it’s becoming more and more transparent that the Hollywood studio system just doesn’t work for him. The Spanish filmmaker released the supernatural horror flick Intruders earlier this year, but has yet to fully capitalize on the promise he showed with 28 Weeks Later. Nonetheless, many executives and actors alike wish to work with Fresnadillo – as further evidenced by his being on the wish list to direct Dawn of the Planet of the Apes this year – so expect him to find new employment sooner, rather than later.
More on the Highlander reboot as the story develops.