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Summit Sets 'Highlander' Director While 'Mortal Kombat' Director Moves On

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by Drew Taylor
October 29, 2013 11:00 AM
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For years producers have been trying to get a "Highlander" reboot off the ground, with a number of high profile directors flirting with the project (most notably "Fast and Furious" filmmaker Justin Lin, now on board as an executive producer). Well, it looks like they have finally found their director and chances are you've never heard of him. But, as "Highlander" finally secures some talent, the big screen revamp of "Mortal Kombat" has lost its director (he's also someone you've never heard of). Hey, these things happen.

First: according to Deadline, Summit has hired Cedric Nicolas-Troyan to make his directorial debut on "Highlander," having previously served as a visual effects supervisor and second unit director on "Snow White and the Huntsman." Nicolas-Troyan will direct a script written by "Iron Man" screenwriters Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, which supposedly sticks pretty close to the 1986 original. In that film, Christopher Lambert starred as an immortal Highlander forced to do battle in modern day New York. (Sean Connery played his grizzled mentor, as was his style.) In the sequel, everything went psychotically science fiction. Hopefully they stay away from that.

The Deadline report describes the filmmaker as a "Comic-Con-caliber fan," not just of the original movie but the entire "Highlander" mythos, including the syndicated TV series. In a statement to Deadline, Nicolas-Troyan said, "For me, it all comes down to that first movie, but there are great themes in the show. It’s the rare cross-genre concept that has elements of the Western, time travel, fantasy, action, contemporary." No one has been cast in the reboot, but the decision to go with Nicolas-Troyan echoes the original film's director, the perpetually underrated Russell Mulcahy, who built the film around his innate visual sense.

But, as some people are brought on, other people let go. After spending three years on reviving "Mortal Kombat" for the big screen, director Kevin Tancharoen has departed the project. Tancharoen tweeted, "I’ve decided to move on to other creative opportunities. I wish everyone involved in the movie big success. Thanks!”

The director has experience with the property, since the big screen reboot was intended as a spin-off of sorts to Tancharoen's 2011 short film and web series "Mortal Kombat: Rebirth" (his newest web series, "Mortal Kombat: Legacy," just finished its second season). According to Variety, rights to the video game, whose popularity was based primarily on the fact that you could rip out a guy's spinal chord, were purchased by Warner Bros in 2009 while publisher Midway Games was having a fire sale in bankruptcy court. (Other properties they picked up and have done nothing with: "Spy Hunter" and "Joust.")

Who knows if the project will even go forward now. Is the world demanding a new "Mortal Kombat" movie? And if it is can we insist they utilize the soundtrack from 1995's "Mortal Kombat" movie? Okay, thanks.

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