The Wrap is reporting exclusively that Ryan Reynolds has dropped out of Summit Entertainment’s long-in-development reboot of Highlander with producers Neal Moritz and Peter Davis, following the departure of 28 Week Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo last November.
Although Summit was reportedly going to move forward to find a replacement for Fresnadillo, who developed the reboot for well over a year before departing, the lack of a director may have forced Reynolds’ hand in departing the project himself. Reynolds was meant to play Connor MacLeod, “an immortal Scottish swordsman forced to confront the Kurgan, a brutal barbarian who lusts for the fabled ‘Prize.'”
Many writers have worked on the reboot including Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, Noah Oppenheim and even “The Twilight Saga” screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, while four-time “Fast and Furious” helmer Justin Lin was originally attached to direct the project before Fresnadillo came on board.
The original Highlander movie, released way back in 1986 and starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery, became a cult hit that led to a successful home video release, although the attempted 1991 sequel Highlander II: The Quickening was a box office bomb. Highlander was then turned into a television series in the years that followed and the original movie continued to find an audience during multiple DVD releases in the early 21st century, seemingly making it a viable property for a reboot.
Even without the movie, Reynolds has a full plate this year as he provides his voice in DreamWorks Animation‘s Turbo and is paired with Jeff Bridges in R.I.P.D., both releasing in mid-July. He stars in Tarsem Singh’s Selfless, which has just been dated by FilmDistrict for Sept. 26, 2014. He also finished working on two thrillers, Atom Egoyan’s Queen of the Night and Marjane (Persepolis) Satrapi’s The Voices.