Hey, Rewatchers! This week's episode is brought to you by the Highlander 25th Gathering Convention in Los Angeles, in celebration of the unique and enduring legacy of the Highlander television series! The convention will take place Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, October 20th through the 22nd at the LAX Crowne Plaza on West Century Boulevard in Los Angeles. We here at Highlander Rewatched could not be more excited about this convention, which will feature guests such as the Highlander himself: Adrian Paul! Elizabeth Gracen, Jim Byrnes, Stan Kirsch, Peter Wingfield, David Abramowitz, F Braun McAsh, Anthony De Longis, and James Horan (who you may remember from his turn as Grayson in Season One's "Band of Brothers"). Also appearing will be Highlander Writer Gillian Horvath; Highlander Writer Donna Lettow; Visual Effects Wizard Don Paonessa; writer Morrie Ruvinsky who penned classics such as The Fighter and Not To Be; and Joe Peirson, who produced the anime Highlander: The Search For Vengeance.
The Highlander WorldWide Gathering is a star-studded event, and a who's who of the people that have shaped the world of Highlander over the years. Not only will you be able to meet the immortal swashbuckling stars of our favorite television series, but there will be amazing interactive classes offered as well. Sharpen your skills with the blade in Adrian Paul's Sword Experience! Go toe-to-toe with F Braun McAsh in his Knife Combat Class! Experience super-sonic speeds with Whip-master to the Stars Anthony De Longis! And find inner peace and tranquility in Elizabeth Gracen's Fan Kata Class! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us mortals, so make sure to head over to highlanderworldwide.com for details, tickets, and hotel booking info! We can't wait to see everybody at the Highlander 25th Anniversary Convention: Friday, October 20th through Sunday, October 22nd. Head on over to highlanderworldwide.com--again, that's highlanderworldwide.com--today, to get your tickets!
♫Princes of the Universe!♫
Hi, this is Adrian Paul, and you're listening to Highlander Rewatched.
Hello, this is Beatie Edney. I played Heather in the original Highlander film, and you are watching Highlander Rewatched!
This is Andy Armstrong. I was the 2nd Unit Director directing the action units in New York on the original Highlander, and you're listening to Highlander Rewatched.
Hi, this is Anthony De Longis, also known as Ottavio Consone from the Duende episode of Highlander, and you are listening to Highlander Rewatched.
Hi, I'm Elizabeth Gracen. I played Amanda on Highlander the Series, and the spinoff called Highlander: The Raven, and you are listening to Highlander Rewatched!
Everybody involved with Highlander has stories; and they're great, great stories! This is John Mosby, the author of Fearful Symmetry: The Essential Guide to All Things Highlander, and you're listening to Highlander Rewatched.
This is Ken Gord, producer of the Highlander Series, and you are listening to the podcast Highlander Rewatched.
Hey! This is Stan Kirsch. I played Richie Ryan on Highlander, and you are listening to Highlander Rewatched!
This is Clay Borris, director of Highlander: The TV Series, and you're listening to Highlander Rewatched.
This is Gillian Horvath! I helped write Highlander: Endgame and Highlander: The Series, and you're listening to Highlander Rewatched!
3:43 Hey, Rewatchers! Keith here!
This is Kyle!
This is Eamon!
Keith: And this week we have a very special episode for you! We are doing one of our special Chronicle episodes, and this week we are joined by Associate Creative Consultant AND Script Coordinator: Gillian Horvath! Welcome to the show, Gillian!
4:00 Gillian: Hello! Good to talk to you guys.
Keith: You too! This is Keith talking--speaking right now.
Kyle: Hi! This is Kyle!
Gillian: Hello, Kyle. :D
Kyle: Good to uh... finally have you on!
Gillian: I've been looking forward to it, actually. With the convention coming I'm definitely getting in a Highlander mood. *Eamon chuckles*
Kyle: That makes sense. And I'm sure you've heard how cool we are, so that *Eamon laughs* naturally makes you wanna talk to us.
Gillian: Word is out. *they laugh* Word is out.
Kyle: You can't keep that kind of thing a secret.
Eamon: Hi Gillian! My name's Eamon. Uh, thanks so much for joining us.
Kyle: In any case, let's dive right into this thing!
Gillian: Sounds good!
Kyle: Um, so... How did you, initially, get brought on to Highlander and, you know, join this... kind of fun franchise that we all hold SO dear?
4:38 Gillian: Well, David Abramowitz, who I think everybody knows as the show runner and guiding light of Highlander for most of its run, he came on halfway through the first season. He had been my boss on another show, when I was a writer's assistant, a few years earlier. And so... when he got the job on Highlander, I actually... The previous year, I had sold a couple of freelance scripts, because I was looking to break in as a writer, but I was still working as an assistant, because scripts don't come that often, and also I like to be part of a team. Working freelance is all at home alone, and when you're somebody's assistant you get to be right in the thick of a show happening. So I was still working as an assistant even though I was writing scripts, and when David, who I considered a friend, got the job on Highlander, I started watching the show; liked it, loved him... When his assistant from the first year left, and he needed someone new for second season, he called me to ask me if I knew anyone who was available. And there's actually a funny story there, because I tried to sell him on a friend of mine who was trying to break into the business, but she didn't live in L.A., but she would MOVE to L.A. for a job like this, and her name was Donna Lettow. And... he said "Oh no, I need an experienced assistant." So I said, "Well... In that case I'll do it." *Rewatchers laugh*
Kyle: You didn't uh... You slow-played that. You uh...
5:58 Gillian: Yeah well, *laughs* I actually was trying to get Donna a break but David was... It WAS a tough show to work on, because it was such a small writer's office. It was basically just David in the L.A. office, and everyone else was in either Vancouver or France, and so the person in the job DID need to have some experience in order to handle how much... In the normal... In a normal production office, you know, a writer's assistant wouldn't have to do as many things as David's assistant did because there'd be the rest of the staff, right down the hall. And so that was his reason, and... he said, "I'm a little worried cuz you're writing scripts now, and I can't have you leave me halfway through the year, and then I'm... struggling to find an assistant while we're already in production!" So I remember striking him a deal. I said, "Well, David," I said, "I promise that I will not leave you for a freelance script. I'll just write it in my spare time, and if someone offers me a staff job, then... that's the only way I would leave you." I said, "So make your own judgement call how likely I am to get a staff job in the next ten months." And he said, "Great! When can you start?"
*Eamon chuckles, Kyle laughs*
Kyle: Nice! What was the project you worked on previously with David Abramowitz?
7:04 Gillian: It was a show called Jake And The Fat Man, *Eamon recognition noise* *Keith: Oh yeah!* which was a Universal show and in the glory days of Universal Studios. I had a great experience there! We filmed in Hawaii, I got to visit Hawaii, and the writers' offices were on the lot at Universal Studios. So as a young assistant, just being on the lot at Universal every day with all the shows filming there, it was really a great education and a great experience! I worked for both David and Bill Conway, who was uh, another writer on the show, was my direct boss. It was a wonderful experience, but it was over...! *Rewatchers laugh with Gillian* And I'd been doing sort of freelance assisting and freelance writing in the intervening years. And this was David's, you know, big showrunning. That was a transition for him to be in charge. You probably heard the story from other people: That there were seven other people, who tried to run the show before they finally found David. It was--*Rewatchers make agreeing noises*
Kyle: Oh, yes. In the chaotic first season of Highlander.
8:00 Gillian: Exactly! Exactly. So, but by the time I got there, at the beginning of the second season, he was solid in his position. I can only imagine being the assistant for eight different people before they found the right Showrunner! That was a, that was a tough gig for the guy the first year!
Kyle: Yeah. So you got in, you got in while the getting was good! *Eamon laughs*
8:16 Gillian: Yeah! *laughs*
Keith: How did you actually get started IN the business? What was your kind of first official gig?
8:22 Gillian: I was very fortunate because I had a couple of internships while I was still in college. So I had internships at Universal Studios and at NBC, while I was still a student, which meant that I had... met some people who were my supporters, when I moved to L.A. after college... And someone who I had worked for as part of the internship introduced me to someone, who introduced me to someone... So my first official job in the industry was as an assistant and researcher on Miami Vice.
Eamon: Oh, wow!
Kyle: On Miami Vice?
8:56 Gillian: Yeah. Miami Vice! *Kyle laughs.*
Eamon: That's amazing!
9:00 Gillian: Yeah th--it was really the tail-end of another era--
Kyle: Did you have to do some hard research in Miami to, to figure that out?
Gillian: No, that was... You know, writers' offices are almost always in L.A. no matter-no matter where the shooting is. That's just, ah, but that... You know, on the Miami Vice days, the scripts went back and forth by FAX, not by e-mail. And...
Eamon: Oh, boy!
Kyle: Oh! That sounds... cumbersome.
9:18 Gillian: It WAS... I caught the tail-end of a real... of an era that is now gone. Before the age of... the VCR, Dailies screened in... screening rooms, on the lot. So every day, the writing team would go together to a screening room, and watch the previous day's filming work. Projected by our Union projectionist on a full-sized screen, it was a really different way of doing it than watching, at this point, streaming low-quality video of the dailies. It also served as the meeting of the minds, because it was a chance to discuss the direction of the show, while looking at how the footage was coming out. And I honestly think it's a loss; I think it's a loss to the business, that everyone that watches their dailies alone, at home, while they're eating their cereal.
Kyle: Right. They're just watching it on their phone. *chuckles*
10:07 Gillian: Yeah. *laughs* That's right. So there's... I think there's... something... It's harder for the writing team and the production team to connect, I think, because of that loss. But, there are gains, of course. Especially there are gains in the fact that you can now see the dailies within hours; as opposed to having to wait for them to be... When, when Highlander shot in Paris, we didn't get dailies for something like four days, because they had to be brought by HAND, on an airplane, *someone pllllls* back to the States, and then transferred for viewing! And so by the time you saw something, it was REALLY irrelevant. There was no way to do any kind of course-correction of like, "Wait! You guys misinterpreted the script, and this isn't what we had in mind!" Like, it is so far in the past, before you, you know, have any conversation about it. So if, you know--
Kyle: Yeah, you couldn't just call up Paolo Barzman and say "Eeeh, take another crack at that!" *Eamon: Yeah.*
Gillian: No! *laughs* I mean, we didn't really have it in the budget to re-shoot things anyway. If something... was off the mark in terms of tone, to say, you know, "Oh going forward, let's try and scale this back," it's like, they'd already shot three more days before you could call, so... It did mean... the importance of the relationship between David and Ken Gord and the directors, because that way they were not being micro-managed from the writing office. They couldn't be, and therefore they weren't. Ken Gord was really the guiding creative voice, because he was THERE. He was the one who could speak up, for the voice of... the show. Because directors, as you probably know, are visiting artists. We were fortunate to have... many directors like Paolo Barzman, Denny Berry, who came back, time after time, and were very familiar with the show. But even so they haven't necessarily read the scripts that they're not directing. Other directors may only come in to do one or two episodes, and they're not familiar with... four, five, six years of history. So there has to be someone who can look out for that long arc of the tone, and mythology... I mean, two people I think. Well, David Tynan, was very active in doing that, as a writer who was in Vancouver. But especially when the show was in France: Ken Gord, and Adrian himself, who would look out for consistency, over the entire arc of the series. Cuz of distance, we... we had to leave it in their hands. Which I think worked out. *laughs*
Kyle: Yeah! And plus, Ken Gord was able to give us Rowdy Roddy Piper, as we learned when we spoke to him, so...! *Gillian laughs* We've got that event as well!
12:32 Gillian: Wait! You spoke to Ken and he held that up as his proudest moment?
Kyle: I think WE held it up as his proudest moment... but-- *Gillian: Yeah!* *She starts laughing again*
12:42 Gillian: If I were uh... asked what was Ken's proudest moment, I think I would always say the submarine base, from the Four Horsemen episode.
Eamon: Oh, he--
Keith: He did talk about that, yeah!
Kyle: Oh! He did actually se--He did actually seem proud of that one! *laughs*
12:55 Gillian: Because... We just had "Chateau", which would have been fine, and he's like, "Wait 'til you see what I found!" *laughs*
Eamon: Hahah! That's awesome.
13:02 Gillian: And, you know, to give credit, there are producers who would... You know, uh, that is to say on the creative side, David Abramowitz/Bill Panzer, there are ones who would have told Ken, "NO! I asked for a chateau, find me a damned chateau!" But those guys all respected each other, and said: "Well okay then!" *laughs* "Let's, let's do it your way!"
Kyle: Yeah. I don't know how you see that location and don't immediately say: "Get me as much footage of it as you can!"
13:25 Gillian: Right. Well the funny thing is, if you saw that location first, you would just write a script specifically designed for that location.
Kyle: *laughing* Right!
13:32 Gillian: Right. The creativity I think, came in SEEING that location, and thinking... "Let's sub this in for what we THOUGHT was gonna be something different."
Keith: I have a question kind of relating to that. What was the genesis of a lot of the episodes? Like, did it all start with a... maybe Talmudic discussion...? Or... did it start with a... action premise, or wh--Exactly how did an episode just like be birthed, I guess?
Kyle: Describe the birth of an episode!
Keith: Right! The birth of an episode.
13:58 Gillian: There IS variation because... If you look at the credits for the show you'll see that there are a LOT of freelancers involved. So that meant that GERMS of ideas sometimes came in from outside people. That people would come in, saying... "Oh, what if we explored the idea of... one of MacLeod's old teachers has gone bad?" or, "What if we explored the idea of... a... colony of female Immortals." These are not necessarily ideas that were done, but you know, people come in the door and they have... pitches to pitch. You know, those germs are great things to build on. As you guys intuited, David was always interested in the moral question, and the character emotional story, first. So it was a question of: What dilemma can we put MacLeod in? What problem can he have that the answer is not simple, because he respects the person who he would normally have to kill. Or because somebody who he hates has now become good. And he wants to take his revenge, but he's not sure it's morally justified. Those kind of--
Kyle: I think we just talked about that episode. *laughter*
15:00 Gillian: Yeah! *laughs* So those kinds of questions were absolutely what drove us, but it sometimes came on TOP of starting out saying, "Oh, let's do an art museum!" AND "What's the moral question?" So sort of what's-our-setting/what's-our-moral-question, and there are just a few exceptions that came from another direction, such as... When, after appearing as Lyman Kurlow in Blackmail, Anthony De Longis just came in and met with David, and talked to him about The Mysterious Circle form of sword work, then an episode was crafted specifically to feature that style of swordplay. And that's something that happened literally once in the whole run of the show was: "Oh! This is gonna make a cool action sequence, so let's craft the show toward that!"
Kyle: Yeah! I mean, he was right! It is a VERY cool action sequence in Duende!
15:50 Gillian: It is a VERY cool action sequence! I'm proud of the entire episode, but that wouldn't normally have been our driving force, and I'm glad it wasn't. Our driving force was the emotion, and the questions facing MacLeod, which could stand in as the questions that face regular people. That's the beauty of ALL my favorite television shows... is that the dilemma the hero faces is a heightened version of the things that regular people have to face, in their lives, too. Whether it's losing an old friend; whether it's having an old friend *laughs* betray you... And it's just that the stakes are that much higher. That it's actually life and death, as opposed to just "Screw you, Charlie."
Kyle: Keith and I go through that every day. It's great. *Keith laughs*
16:35 Gillian: Exactly! And so that... You know, that I think is the core of why it connected! Because... You could probably go two or three years on just: "Hey, this guy's a really good action star! Week after week, let's come up with a new... creative way for him to have to have to fight a new and different bad guy. This guy's got dogs! This guy's got butterfly swords!" You know, you could do that for a while...
Eamon: Hahah! Then Adrian would probably be completely exhausted. *Keith laughs*
17:02 Gillian: Well there's that, and also... There aren't THAT many talented actor-slash-stunt-people. There are some GREAT stunt-people, but only a few of them can act. You know, you'd run the bench, within a couple of years. You know, I think that the emphasis on story, and really caring about the relationships, is what means a show can run for six years, AND people still care about it twenty years later, when the technology is hilariously outdated. *laughter* And some of the haircuts are hilariously outdated. *laughs*
Kyle: We could do an entire episode just on Duncan's wardrobe.
Kyle: Those turtlenecks are TIGHT--
Gillian: *laughs* Duncan?! Oh okay, sure! I thought he was class--I thought he was timeless and classy. I wasn't thinking of--*giggles*
Kyle: I, I've... My mom still agrees! *laughs*
17:52 Gillian: *laughs* That coat never goes out of style, as far as I can tell.
Kyle: No, that was awesome!
Keith: No, no. He's badass in the coat.
Kyle: I don't know how many fans that coat generated, but... *Keith laughs* *Eamon: Yeah.*... it's, it's more than a lot of actors.
Keith: The coat could've had the spinoff!
18:02 Gillian: *laughs* That's right!
Keith: Uh, it's interesting that you mentioned--
18:05 Gillian: Wait, that is a really good idea! Right? Yeah!
Kyle: Trench Coat Begins?
18:09 Gillian: The coat, cuz after all it has, it must have a magic pocket in it for the sword...
Eamon: Yeah, that's true!
18:13 Gillian: Right! So we give--the coat goes hand-to-hand, and people get the coat, and they're like, suddenly they have all this... Web series!
Eamon: What else can you put in the coat?
Kyle: You see that's the mor--
Keith: A question still unanswered!
Kyle: Those are the moral question at the heart of this episode! What else can this coat do? Where did it come from?
Eamon: Somebody could like, hide their homework in the coat, and like, cheat.
18:29 Gillian: The coat turns every Steve Rogers into Captain America.
Eamon and Kyle: There you go!
18:34 Gillian: No matter who you are. Skinny kid.
Eamon: New idea!
18:36 Gillian: You put on that coat, and now you know how to swordfight, and you're cool and badass as they come. Go.
Kyle: You see, maybe that's where Immortality comes from. We just blew this case wide open!
18:44 Gillian: That's right!
Eamon: Well they all have coats.
Keith: It's interesting you mentioned that like, a lot of the episodes... The ideas for the episodes came from outside writers. Freelance writers. How has that writing process changed? Like, now you work on Beauty and the Beast. Story-telling on TV's very different, nowadays, than it used to be. There's season-long arcs that are developed, now on TV. So, does that kind of change how the writing process happens? Does a LOT more happen pre-production, than it used to?
19:08 Gillian: So you ask a VERY intriguing question that could probably be worthy of a podcast of its own, which is "How has the industry as a whole changed since I entered it." I'll give the caveat that also, different shows for different outlets have always been done differently from one another. So that there's a lot of variables at play. Highlander was made for first-run syndication, which is a distribution model that I am not sure even exists anymore, for dramatic shows.
Keith: No... I don't think it does, really!
19:39 Gillian: BUT it was similar to the way cable and streaming shows are now, in that network shows are made for a large mass audience. They do have a larger budget, but they also have a lot more pressure on them to perform. AND they can be canceled at any time. You can be two weeks into production; you can have aired three episodes, or seven episodes, or whatever! And the axe falls and everybody goes home. Whereas, first-run syndication, like the way that cable and streaming shows work now, they buy them a season at a time. And once that order is placed, you are going to make the whole season. If they order thirteen, you're making thirteen. You know, you have less money per episode, you have shorter schedules, you have much smaller writing staff. Cable shows, like first-run--first-run syndication in today, might have a writing staff of three to five people, whereas a network show like Beauty and the Beast might have ten to twelve people in the writing room. And that's because you do have a larger machine that needs to be fed, and you have... demands on you, at that... higher budget level/higher audience level. It's all set up... differently. And so... first-run syndication, when I was doing it, had tiny writing staff; lots of freelancers coming through... especially in the way that we had ours, which is the same freelancers repeatedly. So they're people who knew the show well, but you didn't give them an office or a salary to sit, to be there every day. They just wrote a script, and when they finished that script, if they had time in their schedule, they wrote another one for you. And you didn't have to teach a new person who your characters were every couple of weeks. I did six scripts for Forever Knight that way! Forever Knight also had a staff of exactly two writers, a showrunner, and one staff writer. And everything was written freelance. So... once I wrote one freelance for Forever Knight, and I did a good job, they asked me to write two more that season, and three more the next season. That's the way those shows worked. And you're right, it kind of helps if they're standalone episodes, and... in fact I'll use the--
Kyle: Right. You're not writing a six-episode arc that way.
21:39 Gillian: That's right. Well, I'll use an example, actually. Forever Knight and Highlander make a good example for this, because... even though they were running simultaneously, they have a lot of similarities in terms of having an immortal lead who has flashbacks, and a number of writers and directors worked on both! *laughs, Kyle laughs too* But, Forever Knight was... much less arced. Each episode was really a standalone story over there until it got to the final season, and... and was heading for a finale. And... the individual writers were given more leeway to tell a story that spoke to them. And Highlander, due partly to the fact that Duncan had to move back and forth from one country to another, twice a year, to explain the shooting schedule--
Kyle: *laughs* He always has to chase some Immortal somewhere, halfway through the season.
22:24 Gillian: --is the key... Right. So it became an arc story, at a time when arc stories were not what the broadcasters want. That the buyers wanted standalone episodes, they didn't want people to have to track a long-running story arc, they didn't care about story continuity. That was still in the future for anything but a few Emmy-winning shows. But Highlander... It was surreptitious story-continuity. We had characters did, we had new characters come into the story, and then continue into it, you know, the loss of Darius. The loss of Tessa. The arrival of Joe, and Methos. The fact that he would chase someone to another city, and then when he GOT to the other city, he would still be talking and thinking about things that had happened in previous episodes. It's hard to believe now how uncommon it was, for a character to ever mention again a death from a previous week. And Duncan DID all those things, and I think it was partly due to... our production constraints, and partly due to the way David wanted to tell a story! The way that it feels true, that if someone loses someone dear to them, it's gonna keep coming up, it's not just gonna be put in the rearview mirror the next week! It is one of the times that really taught me that you can make hay out of what seems like problems. That the obstacle of how to rewrite around changing cities every nine or thirteen episodes, turns into an opportunity to tell a richer story, because of it.
Keith: I mean, a lot of those transition episodes are some of the best episodes. *Gillian: Absolutely!* They tend to be iconic. You tend to haul out the big guns for those episodes.
23:55 Gillian: That's right, and I think more attention was lavished on them as we were planning the season! We had to think of those ideas early on, and steer toward them, and there could be some episodes in between, that were what people now call a filler, where it's just a standalone story, it's not about the bigger picture... It may be a very enjoyable standalone story; some are, some aren't! But... setting those, sort of flags, in the sand and saying, "This is the course that we have to follow," meant that you weren't just pulling it out of your rear every week. "Oh, what should happen next?" You had already made a season-long plan, every single season, which most shows do now, but at the time, most shows did NOT. And I think, doing that, while also using primarily freelance writers, due to the way the logistics worked, meant doing a lot of in-house... revision and a lot of micro-managing of writers. You know, those freelance writers were given... They might come in with the kernel of an idea like, "Hey, what about a killer dog?" But they were given a lot of direction about "This is where we're going this season, this is what you need to fill in. You know, these are the parts of the story that you are gonna need to carry." And... then a lot of revision when the scripts came in to make sure that they fit in to that flowing stream. And yes, that kind of show... is... currently more staff-written. You have a room full of people who all know what's going on, you don't have to explain it to them, you don't have to fix it because they didn't understand your plan, you just put everyone on staff, and you use very few, if any, freelance writers. You just divide the scripts up among the people who are there full time. That is much more common these days. But it also is... the difference between low budgets and high budgets. If you can't afford to pay everyone to sit there for the ten-month run of production, then you find a way to use freelancers and guide them toward where you're going.
Eamon: That's interesting. You mentioned freelancers coming in, and you having to kind of explain what's going on and what Highlander's about. Like, doing this podcast I tend to have to explain what Highlander is about to people... *Gillian: Mmhm?* Kind of tricky for people that don't know what it's about! I'm just wondering like; did you ever have like a freelance writer for an episode that like, DIDN'T get it? Like, didn't get what was going on?
26:13 Gillian: An episode does not come to mind where it was just like, "These guys don't even understand what immortality is or any of that," *Kyle laughs* because there were... Well, we did have a bible. We did have a writer's guide that we sent out to anyone that was coming onto the show, uh, whether it was a writer or a director, so that the basic rules of Immortality and how our mythology works were laid out. Also, you could watch previous material. Even in the first season people could watch the movie. And that told them "What is this show? What is its heart? What is its visual style?" And then once the show had been running, people could watch old episodes of the show! *Eamon: Right.* And anyone who IS a person of quality, is going to do that. You're not gonna have a freelancer come in and say: "I've never watched your show and I have no idea what's going on," *Eamon laughs* "now explain it to me." They're gonna do their research coming in. They may actually have their own... Just like viewers, I'm sure you've had this happen, you know viewers have different interpretations of the episodes. And they have different opinions on what is the most important thing about the show, or what makes the show the thing that they love. And so of course you could have people come in who might have a slightly different spin on what you were doing; but that was fine. I don't think we ever had anyone come who just didn't understand how it was supposed to work.
Kyle: You mentioned there's a writer's bible. Did it have a Ten Commandments? What were the Gillian Horvath Ten Commandments for a Highlander episode? *Gillian is laughing: Um...* Or, or a lesser number if, *laughing* continues to *****27:35
Eamon: Ten is too many.
27:36 Gillian: Yeah, it, well... It had a couple of pages up front that were very poetically written description of the show. The kind of thing that you would tell someone if they asked you about this show you like, and you'd explain "Oh, here's how it works." The bulk of it was synopsis of the existing episodes, so that people could read through it, and see what had come before, what had already been done so you don't try and do it again. But also what the characters had been through, because our characters actually referenced, and behaved like, they had actually been through these things. I'm surprised you guys haven't found it online somewhere! We've definitely auctioned it off in charity auctions, you know, once or twice over the years, so I'm sort of surprised to hear it hasn't made it into the current parlance. Now I'm gonna tell you...
Kyle: Hyuh! Well you've just given us homework which... I've always been bad at doing, but...
28:23 Gillian: Yeah exactly! Exact--Because it was--
Keith: Yeah, that's a good mission for our listeners out there. S--If-if you have it, send it our way, please!
28:34 Gillian: *laughs* Exactly! I mean I--Now I remember so well that at the time, we had SUCH an active fandom, and it was... early days of the Internet, I... Ugh! I sound so old when I say that, but really it's just the day before yesterday! You know the fandom was in AOL chat groups, and usenet tv discussion groups. I gotta say it was really flattering--especially in retrospect--that the fans found each other and gathered together, when it was harder to do that. When you couldn't just plug a search-term in and find a place where everyone was discussing their favorite show. People had to make an effort to find the other people who cared.
29:12 Gillian: And they had created their OWN research materials. They created their own episode guides, there were people who had crowd-sourced--a word that didn't exist--a history of Duncan based on the flashbacks. The flashbacks in the first season didn't have onscreen dates on them, so people had used context clues, and clues from the costuming, to figure out what year the flashback was s'posed to be, and created a timeline of Duncan's history.
Kyle: We're always trying to figure that out and... it exists and like, it's a great reference source!
29:45 Gillian: Exactly! So HERE'S... I... Here's a story, which I'm not sure has been out there before, which is that--
Kyle: Ooh! Exclusive! We're, we're very excited!
29:55 Gillian: So at the beginning of the second season, ADRIAN said to David, "Can we start making a timeline of where I've been, so that we can--" You know, the first season, each flashback was a standalone. And, twenty-two of them started to fill in his history, and he said, "We need to track my comings and goings, so we don't contradict ourselves and have me in two places at once." I... 100% reasonable request. *Eamon: Sure.* Because... there were no dates on the flashbacks, either onscreen, or in the scripts from the first season, we turned to the Internet. We found the fan timeline, and we started from there.
Kyle: That makes sense!
Eamon: Good job, fans!
Kyle: Yeah! Way to go!
30:35 Gillian: Exactly. Exactly.
Kyle: Cuz we're always trying to do the math, especially when he's in the past, like: "How long would it take him to get to China?" like... *Keith: Right!*
Gillian: Alright, in-and--
Kyle: "We know he was here then, he's gotta ride a horse... How many months is that?"
30:47 Gillian: That's right! There were, if I recall correctly, there were a couple of things that we were stuck with from the first season that we did not love. *Eamon laughs* Because I think it had been established that he went to the New World at a certain point, and there was a flashback that was definitely European, and then we saw him in America again, and we were like, "Oh my God, did he really go to America twice in fifty years? Who would have done that at the time? That's crazy!" *laughing*
Kyle: --Who loves boats! And eating salted pork!
31:11 Gillian: It was eight months, you know. Yeah, it's an eight-month sailing voyage to get to America! If we'd been planning this from Week One, we probably would've had him go ONCE, and come back! But we were stuck with it because it'd been established onscreen, and so we tried to then create reasons for it, like a terrible tragedy in America that drove him to leave. You know, you try and put story to what you have been left with. And from then on, starting from the beginning of the second season, every flashback was dated. I THINK they were all dated onscreen, but if they weren't, they were absolutely dated inscript. And we--
Kyle: Yeah, there definitely is a resurgence of title cards at some point.
31:48 Gillian: Yes. *laughs* That's right! Like why confuse people? It's not supposed to be a puzzle. You're supposed to be able to follow the story! *laughter* And we updated that timeline EVERY week. Every time an episode happened. When the books started coming out, we put the flashbacks from the books onto that timeline... They were not sacrosanct. If we had to contradict the books we WOULD. But if we could avoid it, we preferred it.
Eamon: Did you have like a map with different colored pushpins of all the places Duncan had been?
32:18 Gillian: Oh you... you sweet, sweet newbie! *laughter* You could buy that map from the Highlander Store!
Eamon: Oh! I think we have that map!
Keith: We, we do actually have that map. A fan sent us to it--
Gillian: Excellent! Excellent!
Kyle: A very generous fan sent us a box of loot, and that was included!
Gillian: That's right!
Eamon: And it has like, screenshots of Duncan in various locales, I think.
Keith: Yeah! It's cool!
Kyle: Which, wink-wink-nudge-nudge, fans, if you have more stuff we will gladly take it! *laughter*
Eamon: Somebody actually sent us a YouTube compilation of EVERY Duncan... *Keith: Flashback.* flashback from the whole series.
Kyle: With title cards! That they made.
Keith: And they put it IN ORDER! It's like, four hours long!
32:52 Gillian: I saw someone talking about that online the other day! Someone had put that together, and it really made me smile, because our editors put that together for US one year!
Kyle: Oh, that's funny!
33:05 Gillian: There was some... episode we were working on... that we asked for that, and professional editors put it together, so it took days, and cost money! Um...
33:16 Gillian: Yay fans, doing these things out of the goodness of their hearts! It wasn't at the end of the season, this was like... maybe at the end of Season Three or something so... It wasn't something that was complete, but it was SO interesting to watch. It was a new perspective on Duncan, I thought. And when I saw that someone had put it together for the WHOLE season, I was tempted to watch it myself. *laughter* Wouldn't that be interesting?
Eamon: Well we--
Keith: It's pretty--It's pretty good! It's like--
Eamon: --we could send you a link!
Keith: Yeah! We'll send you a link, yeah!
33:42 Gillian: Did they used the flashbacks from the movies, too?
Keith: Oh, I don't remember... I think it's just the TV show.
33:48 Gillian: Just the TV series. I respect that. *laughs*
Keith: Yeah. But it, it all makes sense! Like, it's kind of remarkable! *Eamon: Yeah!* It's like, cuz you always second-guess. It's like, "Does this really work?" and it's like, you see it all next to each other it's like, "Yeah, this all checks out." This is great!
33:59 Gillian: You can give the initial credit for that to Adrian Paul, because he was the person to SAY: "Let's start tracking this." And then going forwards from there, I think... I and the rest of the writing team. You now, Donna, who was primarily responsible for keeping up that document, and David Abramowitz, who never got curmudgeonly and contradicted it, because you could have many writers who'd be like, "I don't care what the frickin' timeline says! I want to do what I feel like doing!" and they're the boss, so you would do that. But everyone made the choice: "Let's make sure this would make sense if you watched it in order." I think that's something we can be proud of, thinking back, that it makes us look like we knew what we were doing the whole time. *laughter*
Kyle: You--You staved off a legion of angry nerds.
Eamon: Yeah! Hah!
34:39 Gillian: *laughs* That's right! It's almost like we KNEW that the future was coming, in which people would have home video. Because this is another historic change that happened while Highlander was on the air. When that show started, you didn't have to answer for your mistakes, because who the heck was paying that much attention? *laughter* *Keith: Right.* But fans were in fact recording the show, and if you... decided you wanted to fudge the origin of Duncan's katana to get a really cool story out of it, they were gonna point back to the episode where you said a different thing than you were now saying, and you were gonna have to go "We're sorry, we thought...Hnh!" *Eamon laughs*
Kyle: "Tell me this, Ken Gord!" Yeah. Yeah! *laughter*
35:17 Gillian: It's like, "What are you--! You can't--!" You know. We'll just fall back on: You have to put a flaw in the carpet out of respect for God. Man is not perfect, *laughter* every carpet has its flaws, and... the pleasure of spotting them we leave to the close viewer.
Eamon: You mentioned a--
35:32 Gillian: But partway through our run, the show started coming out on home video boxes that people could buy!
Eamon: Oh! With like the, the image on the side, if you got all the tapes?
Keith: Yeah! They were cool. They were HUGE!
35:43 Gillian: It--It was, yeah! They're--Exactly. The Highlander Store started having those box sets of the thirteen episo--You know: thirteen tapes, you know, with the twenty-two episodes and some bonus stuff on them, and it would have a picture on the whole side that was like a Highlander poster, and it came with like a necklace, and a pair of socks, and what were all this other--you know, a Highlander hat...
Eamon: I have a pair of socks--
36:03 Gillian: It was like a whole fan-kit! Because it was the birth of home video! Before that, the only TV shows that were available to buy on home video were Star Trek and I Love Lucy, through Columbia House.
Eamon: Well you're in good company.
36:15 Gillian: And... You know, Highlander just started... We had these fans who loved the show enough, AND we had something that other shows didn't have, which was we had longer versions. The show was four minutes longer in Europe than it was in the United States--*Eamon then Keith: Right!*--So we had these obsessive fans who loved the show to pieces, and we could offer them this package: the video tapes and the hat and the necklace and everything, that had MORE scenes that you had NEVER seen. And I think that REALLY made a difference. Cuz who's gonna spend--video tapes cost a lot more than DVD sets cost now; they cost like $200--Who's gonna pay $200 for your Highlander package, unless it has scenes you have never seen before? It was an exciting time! For the fans, too! They were so excited to get new footage; we were so excited to provide it... but it also meant people could analyze the show so closely; they could binge-watch it, and judge whether it worked as well, or better, if you were watching one episode at a time versus if you watched a whole season in a weekend. It was an exciting time!
Eamon: Very exciting. I think I read that you oversaw, like, the novelizations and, and maybe some ancillary Highlander products. Is that true?
37:25 Gillian: Yeah, that's right. Bill Panzer left that with me and Donna Lettow, because we were the ones who were kind of obsessed with keeping this continuity; we were the ones who were keeping the timeline and would speak up if there was some contradiction to something we'd established. So when we were doing the books, yes. Bill said to US, "Will you talk to these authors, bring them up to speed, send them the bible, and then read their manuscripts." We wanted continuity in the... in the novels, that was at the level of episodes. The novels were not allowed to stray from our canon any further than an episode would have been. Which, we didn't realize, is a different practice than I think most shows do. I think in general, the novels are given more leeway, to tell stories that the authors want to tell, and not so carefully vetted, because the makers of the show don't feel like they have to respect the novels. So I think of some novel programs--and I don't say this as a criticism, in fact I sort of wish we'd done it this way--In some cases the novel program is just a separate beast, and you'd give 'em the facts, and they'd write the books, and the books stand or fall on their own... two feet. And if the books wind up contradicting the show or being contradicted BY the show, then that falls upon the books, and for the fans to decide if they are willing to enjoy and forgive those contradictions or not. Whereas... we were kind of in a micro-managing mode where we said, "We can't have anything in the books that we wouldn't put on screen." And so the books DID get tied a little closely to the show. You know, 'twas the choice we made at the time, and I look back and I say, "We could've been--" *laughs* We could've been... LESS on top of the authors. *Eamon laughs* We could have just LET the authors do their thing, and, and let the viewers and readers decide whether they thought it was... in keeping, or in character. Of course, one of the authors WAS Donna Lettow, so that was obviously gonna be 100% in canon! *laughter*
Keith: Yeah, right! So, as-as someone that's like, lived and breathed the Highlander mythology, and speaking about continuity, and what exactly that mythology means... We're now twenty-five years later, after the show had aired; THIRTY years later after the original movie... If Gillian Horvath is in charge of the reboot, which they've been actively talking about, it's being publicized, they have a director, it's very exciting for a lot of the fans... What is the Gillian Horvath reboot look like? What story would you tell?
39:49 Gillian: It's an interesting question, because we HAD six seasons of the previous show. Much as we would've loved to work on that show for the rest of our lives--it was such a fun show to make--I don't think a lot of stories were left untold in that genre. And so, to ME, if I were to go back to it having already done the previous show; like a NEW writer might say "Well, it's been... *whimper*, almost twenty years. I can bring in a new, tough MacLeod and just give him the same moral dilemmas we've seen before! It's a new guy, it's a new generation of viewers."
Kyle: And you can count on people to... follow the continuity and... do all that.
40:22 Gillian: Ah... right. And it's... you know, it is, it's fresh eyes, and that's a totally valid approach. If I was literally creating the show this week, I think I would focus on a GROUP of Immortals, as opposed to having "the loner" hero, who've been hiding from the world and the Game. I'd like to question the premise. That's what I would do. Is the characters themselves would say, "Do we really have to do this? Is this bred in us that we have to fight to the last one? Or is there another option? Does it have to be Darwinian, or can we find a way to coexist?" And so they've been on the run from... The Game. And it's people who put each other before they put this ancient mythology of righteous murder. And now... *Kyle laughs*... but now they've been found! That would be my take on it.
Eamon: That would be awesome, and like, how the Game bleeds into like, the lives they've set up. I think that's really cool.
41:18 Gillian: Yeah! I mean, if you... if you just... You look at a show like Legion, right? Where it's people just trying to live regular lives, but other people going: "You're special, and I wanna use that special for my own purposes, so... you're not allowed to just lead regular life. You're gonna be pursued, because other people wanna use you." That would be the germ I would start from if I was making the show today. But, um, I'm interested to see what they do. I mean, a reboot--also a reboot as a TV series and a reboot as a feature are just such... different parameters. So...
Kyle: Yeah. They're wildly different beasts. *Gillian: Exactly.* And I think certainly in a TV format, the idea of having a GROUP of main characters, as opposed to... just THE Duncan MacLeod... as a pretty rich premise.
42:05 Gillian: And one of the things Highlander gives you that is VERY TV friendly, is that you can have people who have a vast life experience, but who look young and cute. *Eamon chuckles* You know.
Kyle: Rrrright! They don't have to be old, haggard...
42:20 Gillian: Exactly! *Eamon laughs* Years of wisdom, experience, and sorrow, inside a package that is thirty or less, is almost--
Kyle: You can still call 'em a beefcake. Hubba Hubba!
42:32 Gillian: Yeah! That is just TV's meant and potatoes. So I actually think a show like that... I think that show's a good idea!
♫Princes of the Universe!♫
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♫Princes of the Universe!♫
44:02 Gillian: You guys had mentioned to me that you're right around the time of the Methos episodes, as your walk-through our entire--
Keith: Yeah! Or Re-watch!
44:10 Gillian: --as you walk through my entire childhood, *laughs* in TV form.
Keith: Right! *Eamon laughs*
Now, people tell the story frequently about how those first dailies, how it was--it was Bill Panzer who said... "This old wise guy should be young," and that moment onscreen, where Duncan says, "I don't know why I always thought you'd be..." And Methos says, "Deeper, wiser, bearded?" *Eamon chuckles* That... speaks to what was going on behind the screen. That... we WERE thinking "deeper, wiser, bearded," and then... Panzer said, "Why would he be?" You know, yes. Darius was an older actor playing this mentor, but why would the mentor look older than Duncan? Let's flip the script! His new mentor is gonna look like a kid. Uh, like a grad student.
Kyle: Yeah, like especially if you're a Bronze Age person--*Eamon: Yeah! *chuckles** Like the odds of you dying under--under thirty-five is...
44:59 Gillian: Yeah, exactly! I mean, also the--
Keith: Very high.
45:03 Gillian: *laughs* Peter Wingfield... At the time... I think he's actually like two years older than me, but when he showed up onscreen, it was like, "*gasp* Holy COW! Is our mentor character younger than ME?" *Keith chuckles.* And I was barely thirty! Like I was just, you know, I had--*laughs*--like, I'm the kid! I'm the kid in the office, and now we've got our new old wise man, and he's younger than me. And it turns out Peter's maybe one or two years older than me, but yeah! My contemporary as the baby writer in the office just beginning her career, and this is the guy who's gonna tell Duncan MacLeod what it's all about. That was GREAT! The other... onscreen reference to what was going on in our offices, is the next year, The Messenger episode, with the fake Methos played by Ron Perlman? That guy is playing into the stereotype of who, if we had CAST that way... if we had cast EVEN such a talented actor as Ron Perlman, in the role of the fake Methos, I don't think we would've gotten the Methos that we got, because it was... to type. *lowers voice* "This guy sounds old and wise, and he IS old and wise." It's like, "Yeah, this guy sounds like a kid with a beer, but he knows more than he'll tell you on the surface." So people know, I think, about Bill Panzer being the one to have that idea, and... Bill and Ken found Peter, you know, and brought him over to Paris for that episode. And he got cast very fast. So THERE'S a person who has no idea what the fuck the show was about--*Rewatchers laugh*--when he showed up on set. I don't think anyone had sent HIM a bible! *laughter* But, when the dailies showed up for his first scenes, which were the scenes under the overpass, where they have their swordfight where he offers his head, that was the first stuff we shot. And David and Bill saw those dailies and said, "Okay, this guy's sticking around." *Eamon chuckles* And I was partway through crafting the premise for the two episodes that became Finalé One and Two, in which Methos was supposed to die. *laughs*
Kyle: And you're like, "Alright!" Like, record-scratch. *chuckles*
Gillian: A--uh, I mean--
Keith: Well okay, can you tell us a little bit about the premise of that original script? Like, how was Methos going to die? In those episodes.
47:00 Gillian: So, I mean, I... Look... *laughs* LOVE Methos, I helped, ehah--I helped to birth the guy, and I love Peter Wingfield... But I will tell you honestly at the time, I FOUGHT for this story! I was like, "NO! This is such a good story! You can't throw this story out!" David and Bill are like, "No. We are throwing your story out--" *Rewatchers are laughing* "--because this guy is staying." So... Because the idea was that Methos' Quickening is so strong, that it takes over Kalas' body. Sort of."
Eamon: Does that make Kalas a--a good guy?
47:31 Gillian: Not reliably though. Not that Methos is such a good guy either, but--*laughs*
Eamon: Right. That's interesting.
47:36 Gillian: --we didn't know that yet. Basically, in Finalé One and Two, the role of Methos would be played by David Robb, who played Kalas--
47:44 Gillian: --because he would kill Methos early in the show. He shows up, at Duncan's barge. It's METHOS, but he's trapped in Kalas' body. He's like, "It's me, it's me! Don't kill me, I'm in here." BUT, he can't hold onto it. He can't... If, if he could just take control of the body, we would've been recasting, which would have been a terrible mistake. But that wasn't the goal. It was to put... Because this was always our goal: to put Duncan into impossible dilemmas, where there was no simple right answer, and he was gonna have to do a hard thing. This was his dilemma. This person who he cared about, was... fighting for control... of his most dangerous villain, and that in order to protect the world from Kalas, he would have to kill that body, meaning killing what remained of Methos.
Kyle: I mean, that IS interesting! *Keith: Yeah!* Like, that is a FUN plot.
48:35 Gillian: Yes! I mean, that's a strong story, and it, you know, would've left you with a season finalé going like, "Who's gonna be in Adrian Paul's body next year?" Right! You know.
Kyle: RIGHT! *laughter* Is it... is it all of a sudden uh, "The Methos/Kalas/Mac hybrid hero".
48:45 Gillian: Right. And--Well, and especially Mac cuz, you know, especially and it was befo--you know that could've been a version of the Dark Quickening, which we did later, but also... You know, given what we now know about what a trickster-god Methos is, the idea that HE would've actually been running this long con in order to get Duncan's body... *Rewatchers laugh gleefully*
Kyle: He just...! He just sees Adrian Paul, he's like, "Yeah, I wanna be in that."
Eamon: Yeah, yeah. That's MINE!
49:13 Gillian: You know, he's just like, "Oh, nooo! I'm trapped in Kalas' body! You must take my hea--Ah HAH!" *laughs*
Kyle: Yeah, right! And here I am!
49:20 Gillian: Then it's--Then it put--It puts that scene in the underpass in a whole new light! Where he was like, "Ah! You know, I can't defeat him, but maybe you can! Take my head! Ah HAH!" *Kyle laughs* "It's not gonna go the way you think!"
Kyle: I'm digging this!
Keith: So, after crafting all these stories for Highlander: The Series, you worked on Highlander: Endgame. Can you tell us--
Gillian: I did. I--
Keith: Can you tell us about how THAT story came to light? Especially because we're, we're talking about this Methos episode where, uh... the very first episode where Methos shows up, he offers himself to Duncan, you know because we're playing this power-level game--*Gillian: Right.*--where, you know, "If you take my head, you'll be powerful enough to kill Kalas," and that's an idea that's very present in Highlander: Endgame. Can you talk about like, the ideas you contributed; what your original idea maybe for that movie might have been, how the final product turned out. Can you just tell us, in general about Highlander: Endgame?
50:05 Gillian: I was brought in by Bill Panzer. And so... my role, as a writer, was to help him realize his vision. Bill was never a writer, but he was always a... a guy with a lot of ideas. But phrasing them and putting them on paper, that was not his thing. But he was... plugged into these characters, of course, with his great history with the show. So, basically wha--what had been happening before Bill called me, was that he had been developing various ideas with Miramax. And at the time that he called me, there was some outline for the next Highlander movie that he... didn't care for. And that's not something I ever read, so I don't know... what the story was THERE. But he didn't like the direction that Miramax wanted to go. And his thought was: "If I wanna talk them into telling a story that I like, I've gotta offer them an alternative. I can't just tell them on the phone, I don't like this, or I, I wanna do something else." So he called me and he said, "Help me write an outline for the story I'D like to see, so that I can take it to Miramax and, and say to them let's do this instead!" One of my skills, which I'm sure is why he CALLED me, was... writing... sort of peppy outlines that were fun to read, that were not just dry bones, but that people would read those outlines and go "Ooh! I'm looking forward to reading this storyline!" So, you know, he wanted me to come in and write WITH him, in order to create that document. And that's basically... what I did on the show, and then when... when Joel Soisson was brought on to the... you know, work, they went for his story. Though it was not... exactly what finally got made, but it was... Uh... It was very similar, and was not, you know... The basic premises were what Bill wanted to present to Miramax, and then when Joel Soisson came on to write the script, Bill and I sat down with him and for a few meetings to talk about the soirée and also... the history of the series. Joel had watched the episodes, but for him to talk to someone who'd worked on the series was helpful to him. So that was... I was really there to be a partner with Bill. And the main thing I remember from that time was tfff... trying to... Because continuity was always MY bugbear, I was bugged by the wedding.
Keith: Oh, yeah!
52:12 Gillian: But I... I mean--
52:13 *****Kyle: *****used a bugbear, but... * all laugh*
52:14 Gillian: Because people other than myself were determined to HAVE the wedding, it felt like a matter of trying to figure out a way that the wedding could exist, without contradicting continuity. Like how can we have our cake and eat it, too, was the challenge there. I'm sssshoohoo. Then it was Joel's project, and I also... I know that a certain amount of what was changed... wound up happening on location, while they were filming--
52:40 Gillian: --there was rewriting happening. Uh... And in editing there was rewriting happening. Honestly... And this is ffu... strange to say... I probably only saw the m-finished movie, twice... And, so... I couldn't sit here and tell you what's different from the movie than from what Bill and I wrote up... cuz I don't remember exactly what wound up happening. *Rewatchers laugh* *Gillian laughs* Right? I mean I remember working with Bill, I remember... the plot points that he and I were working on together, and I would have to rewatch the final movie to tell you... Uh, "Ohhh. Here's what they changed." And whether I thought it was a good change or a bad. *snickers* *deep voice* "I'm sorry. I have no recollection of that." *Rewatchers laugh*
Eamon: Well we'll probably be rewatching that movie in about a year! So, yeah--
Keith: Right! *laughter*
53:24 Gillian: Oh, that's right! Yeah! Well, uh... You know, check back in with me, and maybe I will be ready to have a Rewatch party of it, and... and give you thoughts at that time.
Kyle: I mean if you're open to that, we are VERY into that idea!
Keith: Yeah! We totally are!
Kyle: If that's something you'd be into, because I imagine, we'll do--
Gillian: I like that idea.
Kyle: I mean at the pace we're going, I'm guessing, three episodes... on Endgame?
Eamon: Uh, six.
Keith: I'll say se--I'll say six as well. I think--I'm betting six on that. *Gillian laughs*
Kyle: I don't know. How many did we do on Highlander Two? Four?
Kyle: Okay. Yeah. Highlander: Endgame is a much more coherent movie than--*laughter*--than Highlander Two! So I'm--I'm decreasing the number to three.
54:00 Gillian: Right. Yeah, it definitely started out with a storyline. I think, when the--when the time comes I--I could probably even did out some, some documents to, uh--*Eamon: Oooh!*--to remind myself of some things that happened. I mean, there were a few different cuts, too. Did they ever release, like, the producer's cut versus the release cut of that movie?
Eamon: They did!
Eamon: They did have a few cuts of it! I have a VHS tape of--I don't remember what the cut's called, like, I think it has a silly name. But it's like--
Kyle: THE IMMORTAL CUT!
Keith: Yeah, right.
Eamon: Yeah. Something like that.
54:29 Gillian: Oh yeah. There was a Renegade Cut of Highlander Two, I remember THAT.
Keith and Eamon: Right, yeah.
Eamon: It's something along those lines.
54:33 Gillian: But yeah. Cuz I do... I DO remember screening a version with Bill that is NOT the same as what was in the theaters. So...
Keith: And there's a whole version with the trailer... That like, there's a whole, like, weird trailer that's out there that has like, magic powers in it? *Eamon: Oh!* That apparently was filmed ONLY to be the trailer. Like none of those plots exist in the movie, like, yeah! *Kyle: Uh...*
54:54 Gillian: Aaah! Okay! So, now that you tell that... Now that you say that, I vaguely remember that happening at the time. But I was--
Keith: Right! Like, I remember he uses like magic powers to like s--
Kyle: Donnie Yen!
Keith: Yeah, he splits in half... He like, there... He, there's like some glowing orb! There's all this stuff that apparently was like--
Eamon: Is that like the Trump Orb?
Keith: Yeah, the Trump Orb.
Kyle: Yeah, the Trump Or--There's a glowing Trump Orb! *giggles*
55:11 Gillian: To get the people in the theater. Ah. What a time. I mean here, here's the--
Kyle: What a time to be alive! Hahah! *Gillian laughs* I just wanna see Immortals interacting in the age of Trump. But anyway! *laughter*
55:23 Gillian: The big--OH, NO! No! Timeless, timeless!
Keith: The Game IS over! That's--
55:27 Gillian: The big--*Kyle laughs at Keith's words* The big difference between... *laughs* The big difference between feature writing and television writing IS whether you're involved past the writing stage. As an outline writer on... a feature, the only reason that I ever got to meet the writer of the script, or ever got to see an early cut of the show, was because of my ongoing friendship with Bill Panzer. Otherwise, as the outline writer of the feature, once you turn in your outline and they pay you for it, you are done being involved. *Eamon: Mmhm.* And the next thing you know, is you are buying your own ticket to see it in the theater. *laughter* Unless they happen to invite you to the premiere. Those are... that's like... You do not have input on the marketing, you do not--Normally you don't get to see interim cuts. You're just not part of the process. Nothing personal, it's just the way features are designed, whereas, with a television show: If you are part of the team on a television show, then you are AWARE of everything, even if you're not involved with--I mean I was the baby writer on that show, so it's not like I... got to make marketing choices, oh except for the books, which Bill asked me to look after. But, I would KNOW what was going on. This stuff would come through our office, and we would be fully informed. So that is this HUGE difference working on features and in television. And I definitely prefer television. I like being part of the team! I like feeling like we're all in this together; and we're pushing this rock up the hill as a group, and now we're bonded for life, because we did this hard thing together. And feature writer-writing is more like: Here! Take, you know... I, I brought you a big bag of flour and a big box of eggs, now you go make pasta. And I'll... I'll go home and make more flour and eggs. *Laughter*
Eamon: Were you invited to the Endgame premiere?
57:09 Gillian: I wasn't invited to the Endgame premiere, which I look back now and I realize--what an oversight!
Eamon: What's up with that?!
Kyle: Yeah I--I'm salty on your behalf!
Keith: Yeah! *Kyle laughs*
51:17 Gillian: Yeah! You know at the time it didn't even surprise me. I was just like, "Wow, of course." Because I... just wrote this document, you know. At that point it had been almost two years. Like, I'm not involved with the day-to-day production. People don't remember I exist. It's alright! I made my OWN premiere! *All laugh*
57:33 Kyle: Oh, ***** what was that?
57:33 Gillian: I went to it on opening weekend with a bunch of friends and fans. I said what theater I was going to, and I went with a bunch of friends who had worked on Highlander; like sword guys that I know, and other writers, and I told the fans where we were going, and a bunch of fans came, and we had a wonderful time, so... I actually have no complaints about that experience.
Keith: *laughing* That's good!
Kyle: So... There's almost like a bookend in effect with... the Highlander TV show, of the first episode The Gathering, and then Endgame, where kind of worlds collide between the TV show, and the movie. In the writers' room, what was your perception of, kind of, how these things should be connected, and how you had to handle them, in--in real time, as you had to deal with it.
58:15 Gillian: You mean keeping CONNOR'S universe in mind?
Kyle: Yeah, which--I mean, you know, spoiler alert, but he... allegedly wins in the first, eheh, *Keith: Well, we--* first movie! You know, we're always kind of wondering how...
Gillian: *laughing* Oh my gosh! I--
Kyle: ... how we need to view them together, when there are certain explicit moments when these--*Keith: Right.*--you know, universes collide...!
Gillian: Yeah. I t--
58:33 Keith: Right! We joked on our very podcast, when we watched The Gathering, I think Kyle had the theory: Does this show take place before the movie? And does Duncan die? *Kyle: Right!* Because Connor wins The Game!
Kyle: Yeah! Like, is that what you're supposed to think when you see the first episode?
58:47 Gillian: Right. And then you see Endgame and you're like, "I guess not." Um...
Kyle: Yeah! Nope! Just kidding!
58:52 Gillian: Yeah. So, no. I mean you're right, about the fact that that would have been one way to design the show. And it would've been kind of cool! To have the entire show carry the shadow over it, of the idea that everything Duncan is doing is ultimately futile, and when we reach the end of Season Six, he... and Amanda, and Methos and everyone, are gonna wind up dead, because Connor has to eventually win. If you weren't stuck with production constraints, you'd like, get 'em killed by the Kurgan or something. *Keith: Right!* That would all have a beautiful uh, you know, symmetry!
59:27 Gillian: Um... No. We never looked at it as predating the movie, and there is, for one thing: By the time we were making the series, even though it was BASED on the first movie, the second movie existed. So the notion of the first movie as some kind of sacrosanct item had already been violated.
Eamon: Mm. *chuckles* *Keith laughs* That a good word for it!
Kyle: Did you--YES! YES! Hahah!
59:50 Gillian: So we already knew Connor I guess hadn't won after all. *laughs* So it was definitely meant to be taking place AFTER the movie. The ORIGINAL original pilot script was a series about Connor MacLeod. And then it would've ALL had to take place before the movie ended the story. But once Connor was going to guest-star to pass the baton, and it became Duncan, then... You are now already in a sort of half-a-step away alternate universe. Because in the movie, there's no way Duncan existed. If you watch that movie, there's NO hint that he had this cousin, right? *laughs*
Kyle: He has this Immortal buddy.
Eamon: Yeah! *laughs*
1:00:29 Gillian: Yeah! *giggles* Right! It's clearly not a thing. So, it's already kind of like: Wow! This is an alternate version of the Highlander story, which was already, you know, all the iterations of Highlander ALL are slightly altered from each other, I think.
Kyle: How does the cartoon fit in? *Keith laughs*
1:00:41 Gillian: When we uh, when the third--uh, when the third--movie came out, we took the trailer around to conventions... You know, we had this shpiel that we made where we were like, "Look, guys, we get it. Nobody liked the second movie. The third movie is a sequel to the first movie." *Eamon: Yeah...* Let's just go, "This third movie is a sequel to the first movie," and the fans, god bless 'em, were like, "THANK YOU! We buy it!"
Kyle: But what about Zeist, though? So is Duncan from Zeist? *snickering*
1:01:06 Gillian: Yeah. Right. Exactly. That just... We leave that. That is... that's just a bit that Star Wars Holiday Special. Right? *laughter* Let's not talk about it!
1:01:14 Keith: *****: The Christmas movie!
Kyle: Yeah, hah! Is Highlander Two the Scratchy of... *chuckling* Or is it Itchy? *Keith: Itchy?* It is Itchy, yes! *Gillian is laughing* Chewbacca's... grandfather?
1:01:24 Gillian: Right, yeah, exactly. Itchy, Lumpy, and Malla.
*Rewatchers utter happy noises* *Gillian laughs*
Keith: You get BIG bonus points for knowing their names, by the way!
Kyle: Yes! More bonus points than we have here!
1:01:35 Gillian: *laughs with delight* So we were definitely... We did not consider Duncan a doomed character, and we were not steering into that. I don't know what footage exists of the convention at which Bill Panzer told the story of being asked to make a sequel to the original movie. Because he initially was like, "What are you talking about?" The movie was a big cult hit, and so the studio came to them and said, "We think we should make another movie!" And he said, "Game's over, everybody's dead." *Eamon snort-laughs*
Kyle: Yeah. Why not make a prequel? Make a prequel to that movie?
1:02:04 Gillian: Well, I mean I guess nobody... had that idea at the time. *Keith: Right.* So they kept saying, you know, "It's a big hit! People love the character! We can get Christophe back! Come on, let's make another movie!" And he's like, "Story's over. Everybody's dead." And, you know, this went on for a while. "Story's OVER. EVERYBODY'S DEAD." Finally he was like, "Okay, fine. I'll think of something." *Keith laughs* Now, that didn't work out great. But I just love this image of Bill standing there going, "Story's. over. Everybody's. dead." *laughter* And you have the same problem when you go to start the TV series. *Keith: Right.* And you have to ignore it. If you stand by Story's-Over-Everybody's-Dead, you cannot tell a story. Another onscreen moment that was really more about us than about the characters, is in... is it Chivalry or Timeless, that has the flashbacks to the Shakespearean stuff? It's Chivalry.
Keith: Chivalry. Yes, it is.
1:02:51 Gillian: But it's the Shake... Shakespearean flashbacks, right? *Keith: Yeah.* Heh.
Keith: Oh no wait! Hold on! Um no, it's, it's--
1:02:55 Gillian: There could be no play! Right?
Keith: No it's Timeless! It's Timeless! Where Duncan dresses up as a woman?
1:03:00 Gillian: Yes.
Keith: Yes. I think it IS Timeless.
1:03:02 Gillian: Yeah yeah! Duncan dressing up as a woman! *Keith: Yes.* Exactly. Right! That was the Timeless flashback because that... *Keith: Right.*... that guy then comes on to--
Keith: With the piano player!
1:03:07 Gillian: --yeah to be Claudia's uh, Claudia's teacher... *Keith: Right.* Svengali. Right. So in those Timeless flashbacks, he says "There'd be no play!" You know. You have to have some poetic license, or you can't have a play--*Eamon: Yeah.*--is basically it. We put that up on screen and we kept quoting it to each other, you know, when we'd be writing episodes. "Why don't these characters have a conversation on Holy Ground in Act 1?" "Then there'd be no play!" *laughter*
Keith: So, I--I have a question for you! I mean, you, you've written for a lot of shows over the years, and a lot of times these shows deal with... kind of larger-than-life heroes, and larger-than-life villains. What is it about, like, the superhero genre--if we'll say it that way--that like, draws you to it? Or... that you think is important?
1:03:48 Gillian: I think it comes back to them being stand-ins for us and our human problems. You take our little troubles, and it gives them credibility cuz it puts them on a larger stage. I mean, I often use the example of Buffy, where her mom would say to her: "Ugh. You know, it's not the end of the world if you can't go to The Bronze with your friends!" Except it WAS the end of the world.
Kyle: *chuckling* Right.
1:04:09 Gillian: And when you're IN high school, it FEELS like the end of the world if you can't go to The Bronze with your friends. You know, "My mom doesn't get it! It's really important!" And it's the same with any heightened character, be they an Immortal, or you will believe a man can fly, that it's the little things that make our life difficult. "Ugh, I forgot to call my mother!" or "My girlfriend thinks I don't have enough time for her because I'm so busy with my WORK, which is so important to me!" Well if that WORK is murdering a mass-murderer, you know, that work--*laughter*--that work is, you know, taking out the next Hitler, it's gonna be like, "My girlfriend needs to calm the hell down!" *Eamon laughs with Gillian* Um, and of course there's some fantasy fulfillment in it too, as in... We all have people in our lives we would love to be like, "Alright, that's it! Your head gets cut off!" *Eamon laughing: Yeah!* "You've crossed the line, and now I'm gonna show my true colors, and you're gonna stop thinking that I'm a mild-mannered graduate student, and you're gonna recognize that I am actually... more powerful than even you can imagine." And... It all plays into our... ways of interacting with the REAL world. We have these avatars for ourselves, who have bigger problems, so it's almost a relief. "Well, at least I don't have to deal with what HE has to deal with!"
Eamon: Mm! Doctor Octopus! *Kyle laughs*
1:05:26 Gillian: "At least I don't have aliens coming down every week to try and destroy my place of business!" But also that... they can handle those larger problems. When it comes right down to it; When push comes to shove; When it looks the darkest, these hero characters are like "Nope! Not on my watch! Th--You shall not pass!" *Eamon and Keith chuckle* "Not happening!"
Keith: Who's your hero? Real life or otherwise? *Gillian laughs* I'm putting you on the spot, I know! *chuckles*
Eamon: Yeah, that's a tough question.
1:05:57 Gillian: Yeah. That's a... What an intriguing question! Uh, well, here! I'm gonna... I'll turn it around on you, and I'm gonna tell you a story that has been... on my mind. Remember I said that Donna and I used to take that Highlander Three trailer around to conventions? *Keith: Yeah.* And we used to--we used to do kind of a dog-and-pony show as we called it. We went to conventions; we brought footage; we brought footage from the show that hadn't aired, before the video tapes came out, we had those minutes that hadn't aired in the U.S. So we brought cool behind-the-scenes footage, and we did Q & A about Highlander, and we went to a bunch of conventions doing it! We went to San Diego Comic-Con... And this was back before San Diego Comic-Con was the SIZE that it is now. You could still go to San Diego Comic-Con after deciding to go, just a couple of months in advance... *Keith: Right!* You could still--
Eamon: See comic books there?
1:06:43 Gillian: --e-mail San Diego Comic-Con and say, "Hey, we work on Highlander, and we have some footage to bring. Do you have some space for us in your schedule?" and they would say, "Yes!" That was another time! And so we went... We took our dog-and-pony show to San Diego Comic-Con and after giving our panel, we went to the Pro green room, to have our lunch. And it was pretty crowded in there, and all the tables had people at them, but we saw a table that only had one guy at it. A big round table for like, six or eight people. So we went over and said, "So... do you mind if we share this table?" and he said, "That's fine, of course." And we sat down to have our lunch, and we noticed the guy's nametag... And it was... comic books legend Len Wein.
Eamon: Whaaat?! Recently passed! Very sadly.
1:07:30 Gillian: *wobbly voice* Who was... exactly. This is... this is the Len Wein who passed away this week.
Eamon: Oh my goodness.
1:07:34 Gillian: This is the guy who created Wolverine and Swamp Thing. We were both comic books readers--You know, we read the X-Men: God Loves, Man--*Eamon: Yeah!*--Man Kills, when we were high school students ourselves--
Eamon: Famously wrote the... the Giant-Size X-Men #1
1:07:45 Gillian: --and so we knew his name from the masthead, as editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics. *Eamon: Wow...* And... So we're sort of nudging each other like, "Hey that's Len Wein! Like, how can we talk to him?!" And then, HE said, "Uh, can I ask you a question?" He said, "I saw your panel, and I HAVE to know: Joe Dawson's not DEAD, is he?!" *Eamon and Kyle laugh in delight*
Eamon: Oh, man! That's amazing!
1:08:06 Gillian: And we were flabbergasted! Like, this guy who was writing stories we loved as KIDS is watching our show! Judgement Day had aired, and Joe Dawson gets shot, and it was the summer cliffhanger: Was Joe gonna live or not? *Eamon: Wow!* And here's this legendary figure asking us, "Is Joe Dawson okay?" *happy* We were like, "Oh! Yeah!"
Eamon: That's amazing.
1:08:30 And we're like, "Oh yeah, he's gonna be fine. No, don't worry." *Eamon laughs* We didn't even try to be like, "That would be a spoiler!" We're like, "No, no. Joe's fine. We would never write Jim out of the show." And in fact, when you get around to Judgement Day/One Minute To Midnight, I'll tell you a little more about THAT story. You'll have to get back with me for, for the rest of that story.
Keith: Well maybe, maybe we'll save that for the uh, the convention coming up!
Kyle: Oh, yeah!
1:08:47 Gillian: There you go! Be happy to--be happy to tell that story at the convention, *Keith: So--* and then, Hmm! There y--Yeah, come to the convention if you want the inside scoop! *Keith: Right!* Part of the reason this uh, story's been on my mind is because I realized that I actually have Highlander to thank for the fact that I had... I... wound up being friends with Len Wein for almost... for more than twenty years.
1:09:07 Gillian: That is how we met. We met because he watched Highlander. And, you know, we all lived in L.A. and we became close friends! You know, you asked about heroes... and here's the thing... about Len Wein. AFTER breaking into the business as just a kid, and therefore having the opportunity to do two lifetimes worth of quality work over a short lifetime, he was THE most accessible guy you will ever meet. EVERYBODY has a story like mine: where they were standing there going, "Do you realize that's Len Wein?" and Len was like, "Oh hey, how're you doing?" There were people at his memorial service on Thursday, who told stories about meeting him at a convention once, and then meeting him at a convention a year later, and he knew their name--*Eamon: Wow.*--and wanted--and asked them about what they'd been talking about a year earlier: "How's your art career going? What's happening with you?" And he brought people together. He just had this easy way of just meeting people and making them feel like THEY were the special one even though HE was a living legend, and if... When you were at parties at his house, you knew that everyone else you met there was gonna be just like... they like, pre-vetted to be like, smart, funny, high-quality people, with big hearts. And, I owe ALL of that to the fact that I was working on Highlander, and that's what brought us together. So that's a hero to me, and that's what I'm trying to emulate.
Keith: That's amazing. Thank you for sharing that story with us.
Eamon: Yeah. That's... absolutely amazing and I... I mean, for our listeners, Len Wein is an amazing writer, and... like for all the things we're interested in, he's one of--if not THE the best. Like, he's really contributed to all this stuff that we all love, so, you know, definitely, pay some respects and look him up. That... That's an amazing story. Thank you.
1:10:52 Gillian: And it shows the power of fandom and conventions too. Which is that when you go to those places where geeks gather, even if you aren't fans of the exact same property, you are gonna find people there who... are people that you get along with. People that you will respect and wanna spend more time with. I mean, I've spent a lot of time at conventions over the years; meeting the fans, and meeting other pros, and they worked on shows that you don't WATCH, even it's still like, yeah, but we have a LOT in common, and... it's like: These are my people. So... NOW you can talk about the convention. *laughter*
Keith: So yeah! So, coming up! It's hard to believe it's been twenty-five years since the original airing of The Gathering. We're-we're having a--an AMAZING convention in Los Angeles which is gonna be what? October... 20th to 22nd?
1:11:37 Gillian: It IS the 20th to the 22nd--*Keith: Oh yeah!*--that is to say Friday, Saturday, Sunday. But people are arriving on the 19th because the classes that are being taught start first thing Friday morning. *Keith: Right!* So I would think the evening of the 19th at the hotel, there's gonna be an unofficial convention-like gathering in the lobby of the people who've already showed up. *Kyle: Yeah!* And then--
Kyle: We'll be there drinking beer!
1:12:03 Gillian: Yeah. There y--Exactly. You know, the bar is usually a good place to go at these conventions; you never know who you're gonna run into; what friend for life you're gonna make; and then.... Friday morning, they start these CLASSES where... And we talked about Anthony De Longis, who brought the Duende idea to David Abramowitz, and he's gonna be there teaching sword-fighting. And F Braun McAsh who was the Sword Master on the show for... I think four out of six seasons, is going to be teaching Combat Classes as well...! Adrian Paul is teaching HIS sword fighting class, Elizabeth Gracen teaches a fan-kata class which, I have actually taken. *Eamon: Ooh!* Unbelievably beautiful. So it's like: Friday alone is like, worth the plane ticket as far as I'm concerned! *Keith: Right!* *laughing* I mean, I live here, so it's easy for ME to get down there. *laughter* But I have taken sword classes from everyone on that list except Adrian, and I'm gonna... can't wait for HIS class, now!
Keith: Totally! Do you have any uh, favorite convention stories, uh, in the past, that you would like to share with us? Favorite Highlander convention stories? Any crazy stories that have happened out there?
1:13:08 Gillian: *laughs* Two stories about the very first Gathering. And this is--
Kyle: The very first! Oh, my!
Gillian: The very first... Yeah, the very first Gathering conVENtion, not the actual Gathering--story's over, everybody's dead!--*Eamon: Yeah, Hahahahahah.* I came out of convention culture before I became a writer, so I had gone to Worldcon in Baltimore when I was a kid... That's actually how I met Donna--my fellow Highlander alum--is that we were both at that Worldcon. Uh, wearing t-shirts for the same band. And, uh, actually, both attending talks about the X-Men! *Eamon: What--* So... it--it all--it all comes full circle! You know, it all comes full circle. We met over Styx and the X-Men and then it led to more things. And--
Eamon: What band was it, if you don't mind my asking?
Gillian: What's that?
Eamon: What band was it?
Gillian: Uh, it was Styx.
Eamon: Oh, nice! *laughs*
1:13:56 Gillian: Yeah, cuz, you know... Speaking of uh, science fiction bands...!
Eamon: Yeah! Hahah!
1:14:00 Gillian: So I came out of this convention culture, it's where Donna and I had met, and when Highlander fans proposed doing a convention for Highlander, Donna and I were the ones who understood what that kind of meant! Like it wasn't a thing that Bill and David had ever seen or experienced. So we could not manage to convince David Abramowitz to come to that first Gathering. "You really wanna see this. It's really kind of an amazing situation!" And he's like, "Oh, there's so much work to do, can't be away." And so he didn't come to the first one! *Eamon: Oh!* And I remember calling him, from the hotel, and saying... "It's amazing here. You are really missing something. The love for the show is like ankle-deep in the hallways, and you can just scoop it up and pour it over your head." *Rewatchers laugh* And, he came to the next one! And he's come to dozens since. I mean, once he came to one, he was like, "This is amazing." What a thing to experience! To really have people care that much about your work that you usually just drop into the void, and all you know is whether it got good ratings and got renewed. And to be able to talk directly to people who were so touched by your work, and to be able to just feel that GREAT pool of love! If--Anyone should do it if they ever have the chance. It's a wonderful feeling, and hey yeah, we talked David into it. The other thing I remember about that first Gathering is that... It was scheduled for... I'd say October... in Denver, where the first few were held. That's where the head of the fanclub at the time was based. That had already been scheduled, and David came out into sort of our bullpen area that was between all the offices and conference rooms. There was this front area that had the water cooler, and the desk of the coordinator in it, and it was where people would come to have a group discussion. And he came out into that area, and he said he was trying to figure out when to bring Peter Wingfield to Vancouver to do... a couple of episodes for Season Four on the Vancouver-side. Like where he was gonna be... He was gonna be in the Paris episodes of course, but bringing him from England to Vancouver was an expensive proposition, so we could only bring him for a couple of episodes, and he was deciding between episodes 10 and 11, or episodes 11 and 12. And what did we think? And I know that both of us threw these sidelong glances at the production calendar, to figure out which of those episodes would be filming during the convention, and we're like: "Ten and Eleven sounds right. We don't want it to be too close to when Duncan goes to Paris. Yeah, let's go for ten and eleven! That seems right from a story point of view!" We said NOTHING about the convention to David, because he didn't yet understand about conventions. *Rewatchers laugh* But it meant that Peter was in Vancouver, filming Chivalry, and the whole cast was gonna be getting on an airplane and going to Denver for the convention, and we thought: "If we get him as close as Vancouver, and everyone's going to the con, they won't leave him behind! Someone's gonna figure out he's in town; someone's gonna buy him a plane ticket; he'll be at the con."
Keith: That's great!
1:17:03 Gillian: Which is what happened! *laughs*
Kyle: There you go!
1:17:05 Gillian: He was a surprise guest! He wasn't even listed! The fact is, when the con had been planned, his episodes hadn't aired yet! They didn't air until May. That con had been, you know, they'd been planning that con for probably a year. They didn't even know that he existed, while we were sitting in our office going, "Heeheehee! He'll be at the convention!" *Kyle laughs*
Kyle: That's quite the scheme!
1:17:24 Gillian: I just wanted to mention something to you, if you guys--*Keith: Sure!*--I don't know if other people have said this to you, but I think the reason that you're having good fortune having so many people guest on your podcast, and the reason that this convention that's coming up, has so many people coming in--to it, I mean, a 25th Reunion Convention that has, basically the whole core cast, is pretty impressive.
Keith: It's awesome!
1:17:46 Gillian: I think the reason for it is that people REALLY are attached to the show. Like I have always considered myself an alumna of Highlander. Like, you know, the same way as my high school and my college will always be part of who I am. I was there for four years and plus, and so it is... part of my education, and it will always be where I'm from. And I know I'm not alone in feeling that way! That even if people have moved on to all sorts of other things, that it isn't just some job I used to have once. It is like, well that's my fraternity, and I'll always be a member.
Kyle: I think a lot of the people we've interviewed kind of feel that way. They have a... a real warm place in their heart for this period in time, and I know CERTAINLY the fans do.
Keith: Yeah! And we-we never really said how WE got into the show. I mean, we all grew up on it. So, this is something that's part-and-parcel with our childhood.
1:18:39 Gillian: Yeah, I didn't ask you guys like, what made you start the podcast? Because you're... You're too young to have been there when we made the show originally, right?
Keith: Let's see... I kinda I guess, started... Spearheaded starting the podcast. And then I asked Kyle and Eamon to join me. But I had started watching it like, maybe in like Fourth Grade? Like 1994, or five?
Kyle: Wu--When you were too young to see a show about people getting their heads cut off, and like...
Keith: Yeah, exactly. My mom was really into it, uh, and then she--
Kyle: Because of Mister Adrian Paul, hubba hubba!
Keith: Right. Yeah, Adrian Paul was the big draw for her, I think. Uh, but she also really loved the stories and all that sort of stuff. And she's into sci-fi and fantasy. I started watching with HER, and then got independently into it. Um, and then I think Kyle got into it, and Eamon got into it because of his grandmother, maybe?
Eamon: Yeah. My grandmother watched it, and when I would come home from school, waiting for my mom to come home, my grandmother would have it on, and I'd watch it with her, and... It always stuck with me... The-the episode I remember the most is The Lamb. Like the ending of The Lamb is burned into my brain.
Gillian: Mmhm. Oh, man!
Kyle: Cuz you were roughly kid-Immortal's age?
Eamon: Yeah! And just, him on the school bus, like, watching Duncan driving away, we--we just go to that season, and... I remember, like, wa--rewatching that ending again, and I just had all these flashbacks to watching the show with my grandmother. And I was just like, WOW! This is nuts!
Kyle: I'm like, the baby of this crew. I feel like most of my memories come from watching it back when it was on Spike TV, before they had any shows of their own.
Gillian: Oh yeah yeah!
Kyle: Yeah. I used to watch--
1:20:07 Gillian: I remember when Spike picked it up. That was very exciting!
Keith and Kyle: Yeah!
Kyle: I used to watch like reruns of that, and *mixing with Keith* Star Trek: The N--The Next Generation. And I would watch all of those!
Keith: This show does hold a dear place in all our hearts, I think, um... for good reason!
Gillian: That's great! No, I'm--I'm glad you guys told me that! Now do you guys... do you guys tell those stories in the first episode of the podcast?
Eamon: Oh, yeah.
Keith: Yeah, yeah. That's how we kind of launched things off. And the reason we started this podcast was: It's been a long time since I had personally watched this show, like start to finish, and so... *Gillian: Mmhm.* Almost two years ago I was like, "Hey! Like, this would be fun to watch!" And, I put in the DVDs, and I watched the whole first season and at the end of it, I was like, "This was a really fun journey! We should do this... with more people." And so I called up Kyle, I called up Eamon, and we were like... "Let's make a podcast out of rewatching the whole thing!" And so, we started right at the beginning, and... You know, so it's been... It's been a long time since I've seen... especially the later seasons. Um... *Gillian: Mmhm.* Probably the last rewatch I did of this was like, I dunno, eight or nine years ago, maybe? So... It's in some ways it's fun and new, and... It's a cool show because, like, it asks these Talmudic questions. When you're in fourth grade, at like, ten years old, those questions are not necessarily the things you think are neat about the show...
Kyle: You just think like, "Oh cool! Sword! Trench coat!" Hooah!
Keith: Yeah! Trench coats are cool! Swords are cool! That's like the fun thing about it! But like, as you get older, you know, those Talmudic questions are the things that I think are the most interesting about the show, and the things that change from watch to watch. It's like, you know... Ten years ago when I watched the show, I had certain opinions about certain things. And now that I'm watching it again, I have a different perspective on life, so... It's a great show, I think, to revisit over and over again. Cuz those questions are things that need to be revisited over and over again.
1:21:44 Gillian: That is really...
Kyle: You mean we don't often solve human morality in a forty-five minute TV show? *chuckles*
1:21:51 Gillian: Right. No, that is really cool to hear, because... That is what David wanted to be doing. But it had to be done under.. time pressure. Budget pressure. Notes from people who didn't necessarily care about the show being anything but visually interesting. *Keith: Right.* And so, the fact that we succeeded, you know, th--David, of course, as our guiding light succeeded, but we all helped him to make that happen. The fact that we made the show that we were trying to make, and that people... well that people coming back to it say, "Ugh, is this show gonna hold up? OH! There's more there than I remember!" I mean, that's unbelievably flattering and touching, and I'm so glad to learn of it.
Eamon: I mean, I think it's a testament, like... We talk about a plot of an episode, and kind of come to a consensus, and then a fan e-mails us and says: "I think you guys are wrong about your conclusions on that episode!" *Gillian: Mmhm.* That's... That's an amazing thing. These are sometimes fans who have been bigger fans than us, maybe, over the years, *Keith: Right!* *Gillian: Mmhm.* and have like, an opinion to share. I just think that, that's great.
1:22:50 Gillian: Hah, so they're like, "Oh, we already had this conversation twenty years ago! Let me tell you--" *Laughter*
Kyle: Yeah, yeah!
Eamon: "And you're WRONG!"
Kyle: "And you're wrong!"
Keith: The thing the internet's good for! Telling someone else they're *with Kyle* wrong! *laughter*
Gillian: Yeah! Hahah. But, honestly, nothing could be more flattering, as someone who worked on it, than the idea that people consider it worth spending their time on. There's a LOT of things you could spend your time and care and thought on, and the fact that you guys making the podcast, but also these people responding... Like, "I care too much about Highlander to just let that lie!" *laughter*
Eamon: Yeah! Like... LENGTHY e-mails!
Keith: VERY lengthy, yeah! Some of them are very long! *Gillian laughs*
Kyle: We get some semi-regular essays from people. *laughter*
Keith: So, Gillian! To close out, uh we, we ask this question of all our guests. We'd like to know: Would you wanna be immortal? And if you were, what would you wanna do with your life?
1:23:41 Gillian: I would 100% yes, want to be immortal. I think the world is so cool, and I would love to see more and more of it. Even as a mortal you have the pain of losing people you love, and that, as an Immortal, you would have more of that, but you know you can survive it. And in fact it can make you who you are, because... when you lose people you think, "I'm gonna make sure to honor who they were, and who I am." I would be willing to take that, in order to see what happens next. And in order to have... more time to try different options. In our short lives, if you decide to be a doctor, that's usually it. Okay, now that is who I am. I'm a doctor. I'm a TV writer. I... lived in Los Angeles. Or I lived in Chicago. Or I lived in Rio de Janeiro. And... you usually just have the one path, and hopefully it's a good one. And the ability to spend an entire lifetime doing a lifetime's worth of things, and then to reinvent yourself and say... You know... I've always been interested in law. I think I'll be a lawyer this time. Or...
Kyle: Hey! That's a good job!
1:24:55 Gillian: ... maybe I could be... a kindergarten teacher, and make a difference with little kids. You just get to try again, and try other things... I would love all of that. As long as no one was trying to cut my HEAD off! *laughter*
Keith: Oh right, yeah!
Kyle: That's the drag--*Eamon: Yeah.*--at the middle of this whole thing.
Gillian: That is the drag. Being a network show, where they can just cancel you any second.
Rewatchers: Yeah! *Gillian laughs*
Kyle: So where can people find you if they wanna be up to date on a... what you're doing, follow your projects, wha--wwwhat's coming down the pipe? What can they look for?
1:25:22 Gillian: Uh, great! I have a... I have a moribund blog called Athena TV that I will revive next time I have a project to work on that I can... take people along on the... sort of year-in-the-life adventure of. Other than that, I'm a... I'm an active user on Twitter, under my own name, @GillianHorvath, let people know what's up and what I'm interested in and, you know, cute puppies also get posted, cuz--
Kyle: Naturally! It's the internet! *Gillian laughs*
1:25:44 Gillian: So happy to, happy to see people there. Beauty and the Beast has sadly come to end, and so... I do not have a next project that I can currently speak of publicly... But I hope, uh, I hope to have some news on that front soon that I would be excited to share.
Keith: Great! Awesome! Yeah, whenever you have that next project, let us know and we'll definitely share it with all your fans!
1:26:08 Gillian: Oh, thank you! That is very appreciated!
Keith: Well thank you so much, Gillian, for coming on the show. We really appreciate your time! We appreciate, especially, your contributions to the Highlander Universe. Uh, it's given us certainly hours and hours of things to talk about, which has been great. And we can't wait to see YOU and... basically the whole cast of Highlander and the crew, at the Highlander 25th Anniversary Convention in Los Angeles this October! And if you haven't bought your tickets for that already, it's highlanderworldwide.com and get your tickets for the convention! We're gonna be there, Gillian's gonna be there... Everybody else is gonna be there! It's gonna be great!
Kyle: You can buy us and Gillian a beer! It'll be great!
Keith: Right! We'll ALL drink the beers that you buy for us! *Gillian laughs*
1:26:44 Gillian: Hopefully the bar at the hotel has moved into the modern world and you can buy me a hard cider.
Kyle: There we go.
Keith: We can definitely do a hard cider.
Kyle: I'm, I'm confident they will have one. *Keith laughs*
1:26:52 Gillian: Yes! That sounds great! I WILL see you there! YOU, and all of you! *Kyle laughs*
Keith: Awesome! Well, thank you so much Gillian for stopping by our show, and uh... we can't wait to see you in October! See you!
Gillian: Alright! I'll see you guys in a few weeks!
Keith: Alright! Bye!
Kyle: Sounds good! Take care!
Eamon: See you Gillian! Bye-bye!
♫Princes of the Universe!♫
1:27:12 Keith: Well, guys! It was really great to talk to Gillian! What'd you guys think?
Kyle: She is VERY generous with her time! *Eamon: Yeah!* She had some really good stories about the behind-the-scenes of Highlander!
Eamon: Just a fascinating and fun conversation! Just had a lot of nice tidbits, and it was really interesting!
Kyle: And crucially... CRUCIALLY, we learned that when you go to buy her a beer, in L.A., with us, you're gonna buy all four of us a beer! She's getting a cider, we're getting beer.
Eamon: Yes. Keith: Right.
Kyle: This is critical. Unless one of us has a wild hair for a cider, but well, let's not get into those permutations before they arise.
Keith: I mean you can buy us ANY form of alcohol. I think. That's definitely possible.
1:27:48 Eamon: That's right. *****
Kyle: That's right. But Gillian gets a cider.
Keith: Yes. *with Eamon* Gillian gets a cider.
Keith: Make it happen. You're the fans, you know how to... you know. *Eamon: Yeah.* Gotta take care of your people! *Kyle: Yeah!* Buy Gillian a fucking cider! *Kyle laughs*
Eamon: Get her a cider! Maybe a hard lemonade. I dunno. She didn't mention that, but, I'm just throwing it out there.
Keith: Yeah. Cider, I hardly know her! Guys--
Kyle: Oh! He's got gold! But... check out this interview, and check out... before that--
Keith: They already did! They've listened to all of it!
Kyle: I know! And check her out at Highlander WorldWide, this October! We're gonna be there, she's gonna be there! Adrian Paul! Elizabeth Gracen! The hits keep on coming! *Eamon: Oooh!*
Keith: AND, if you wanna help out Highlander Rewatched, you gotta contribute to the Highlander Rewatched GoFundMe. That's right! We are trying to raise funds for our trip to Los Angeles, to bring you more and more content from this convention! So! Go to www.gofundme.com/highlander-rewatched-gathering and contribute what you can--*Kyle: Yeah!*--because we bring you free content every single week!
Kyle: I mean, if you think what we do is worth fifty cents, one U.S. dollar, we would LOVE to have it. *Eamon: Yeah!* And the more you give, the more sweet, sweet content we can bring you!
Keith: That's right! We do this every week for free, and we hope you appreciate it, and we love bringing you more and more content, and we wanna bring YOU... the best we can, from Los Angeles!
Keith: That's right!
Kyle: Is that the, is that The City of Angels?
Eamon: It is! My favorite Nicolas Cage movie! *laughter*
Keith: That's right! Support Eamon's favorite Nicolas Cage movie!
Eamon: Nick Cage movie! That's right!
Keith: City of Angels.
Kyle: And your Rewatchers!
Keith: And your Rewatchers. But yes. Thank you everybody for listening, and again, thank you Gillian Horvath, for coming on our show! *Eamon: Yes.* Thanks everybody for listening! We'll see ya next week! I've been your Rewatcher, Keith!
Kyle: I've ALSO been your Rewatcher, Kyle!
Eamon: I've been your Rewatcher, Eamon?
Kyle: Thank you Keith for making this plural!
Keith: Let's go 'round the Horn again! Um... How do we normally say it? Uh, we've been your Rewatchers! This is Keith!
This is Kyle!
This is Eamon!
Keith: Switchin' up the formats! See ya, bye!
Eamon and Kyle: Byyyyyyyeeee!
1:30:08 Kyle: Yeah. We *****need a way into that. I'm sure we'll all be... vigorously googling it--*Keith laughs* *Gillian makes a noise*--sometime over the next uh, week or so. You know.
Keith: Seriously googling. Kyle, you can do that at home. *Eamon laughs*