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Sean Connery in Argentina: a bumpy shoot, SIDE agents, party nights and a forgettable movie

2020-10-31T16:20:43.921Z

He traveled in 1990 to shoot Highlander 2, with Christopher Lambert. He met Carlos Menem, played golf and went to the field, but the film was terrible.



Gaspar zimerman

10/31/2020 12:14 PM

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Updated 10/31/2020 12:15 PM

Among human beings there are immortals, who over the centuries have faced each other in sword duels that end when one of the two is beheaded.

The winner receives the powers of the loser and continues in the quest to be the last immortal, the recipient of the final Prize.

From this premise,

Highlander

was a film revered by an entire generation.

Over time, it became a classic from the '80s.

While its release in 1986 was not quite the box office that might be thought, it was well enough received and the home video did perform well, with producers Peter Davis and William Panzer planning a sequel three years later.

A chance meeting of the duo with Argentine Alejandro Sessa at the Milan International Film Market decided the setting in which it was going to be filmed.

“We had the intention of coming to Argentina to make a film, but it was not defined.

When we saw all those magnificent places we realized that it was the ideal place to set

Highlander II

.

It will be the most expensive film ever made in this country, ”Davis declared when announcing his plans, adding Sessa as the local co-producer.

Scene from Highlander 2, with Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery

In appearance, everything closed.

Added to the Argentine geography, which provided impressive natural scenery, was the exchange rate favorable to foreigners.

The strength of the dollar against the austral made everything so cheap that the producers

calculated that the film would cost them half of what it would have cost them in the United States

.

And the battered film industry was eager to transform itself into fertile ground for co-productions.

This is how in May 1989 the

Highlander II

machinery

was put into operation.

The budget would be no less than 31 million dollars

, a figure that made Davis' promise come true and doubled the budget of the first part.

Three of those millions would be taken by Sean Connery, who would come to the country for two weeks to repeat his role as Ramírez, one of the good immortals.

Christopher Lambert

would charge a million and a half to play once again the hero of the story, MacLeod.

The ship was also boarded by Australian Russell Mulcahy, director of the first and also of another cult film,

Razorback: The Destroyer

.

The first problem was the script.

Highlander

it ended with MacLeod turned mortal after having defeated all the other immortals who had crossed his path and having won the Prize.

And Ramírez had died at the hands of the evil Kurgan.

How to make one immortal again and the other resurrected?

Scene from Highlander 2, with Christopher Lambert and Virginia Madsen.

The decision of Brian Clemens, the main screenwriter who replaced the creator of everything, Gregory Widen, was to explain the origin of the immortals.

They were aliens from the planet Zeist: 500 years before the Highlander events, they had been expelled to Earth after trying to rebel against the tyrant Katana.

We return to the present: it is the year 2024 and MacLeod is aging in solitude after having created, in 1999, a shield to protect the Earth from the destruction of the ozone layer.

But Katana fears that he will try to return to the planet to overthrow him, and so he sends two hitmen to assassinate him.

Elder MacLeod beheads one of them, receives his power, and thus becomes young and immortal again.

Immediately, he summons Ramírez and revives him.

It was clearly unsustainable nonsense, even contradicted by events from the first movie

.

“I hated the script.

We all did.

Sean, Chris, I ...

we were all about the money

.

It seemed written by a 13-year-old boy.

But I'd never played a barbarian swordsman, and he was my first great villain.

I decided that if I was going to act in this stupid movie, I was going to have fun going as far as possible in acting, and I think I did it, ”Michael Ironside would recall years later, who played the evil Katana.

So the base was missing.

And everything continued to get complicated: as recounted in the documentary

Highlander 2: Seduced by Argentina

(2004),

“take it with soda” was one of the first phrases in Spanish that the technicians

of the different departments

learned

(set design, wardrobe, makeup and others). ) arrived for filming.

They found that there was a lot of kindness and predisposition here, but the preparation was light years from Hollywood.

Scene from Highlander 2, with Michael Ironside as the villain.

The country's economy as well.

They were times of hyperinflation, and for three weeks pre-production had to stop for "economic and financial reasons,"

as explained in a press release.

Anyway, through thick and thin in January 1990 activities were resumed, which among other challenges included the construction of a futuristic city in Puerto Madero, which was then a semi-abandoned port area.

Other settings were the Abasto market, which had not yet become a shopping mall;

the Colón Theater, whose façade appears with a horrible neon sign that reads "Opera";

the Palacio de Aguas Corrientes on Córdoba Avenue;

the subway line E, where a massacre at the hands of Katana takes place, aboard a train that goes at a very high speed, which the long-suffering users would already like.

The Valley of the Moon, in San Juan, was the ideal place to film the action that took place on the planet Zeist.

The Baires studios were also used, in Don Torcuato: this is how

the final duel begins in the same setting as one of the scenes from

Las Puertitas del Señor López

.

Another Buenos Aires detail in the film are the black and yellow taxis.

On Saturday, May 5, 1990, the country was moved by the news that Sir Sean Connery,

the mythical James Bond, had landed in Ezeiza

on a Pan Am flight. He had a rough arrival, because the airport was closed by fog and He had to lose three hours with a detour to Montevideo, but then he would make up for that setback with all kinds of pleasures.

Scene from Highlander 2, with Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery

During the two weeks that his stay in the country lasted, the Scotsman had SIDE agents as personal custody.

He interviewed Carlos Menem

;

he played golf three times with Roberto De Vicenzo, whom he had the luxury of beating;

visited the Perito Moreno glacier;

went to see a River-Estudiantes de La Plata.

And, as narrated in the book

Babilonia gaucha

, by Diego Curubeto, he 

did not lack female company

in his luxurious suite at the Alvear Palace Hotel.

Not just him.

The entire team arrived from the United States and Europe for the filming were delighted with the nightlife of Buenos Aires.

Many, including Lambert, used to go to bed at dawn after touring the Buenos Aires nightclubs, taking advantage of the fact that much of the filming took place after sunset.

Even the director, Russell Mulcahy, missed a couple of morning scenes and had to be replaced by his assistant.

Meanwhile, on set, not everything went according to plan.

Remarkable special effects were achieved for a time when CGI (computer generated image) did not exist, with actors flying thanks to a sophisticated cable system.

And the pharaonic construction of a futuristic city was completed, but the costs were very high, both financial and human.

There were a couple of fractured ones among the team members.

Christopher Lambert himself lost part of a finger

while Michael Ironside broke a tooth during a fight in which they decided to use real swords because of the poor quality of the props;

the two were used to doing much of the stunts, without using stuntmen.

But the worst accident was suffered by

an Argentine coach who died

after falling from a great height.

The dvd cover of Highlander 2, with Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery.

To add one more line to the tiger,

the production came into conflict with the Argentine Association of Actors

headed by Horacio Denner and Carlos Carella, which did not consider

Highlander 2 to

be a legitimate co-production and demanded employer, pension and social work contributions from workers foreigners who participated in the filming.

To all this, hyperinflation was wreaking havoc on the film's budget.

Davis and Panzer recall in amazement how they went to the exchange houses and the figures on the price indicators ran like clocks with a second hand.

They still evoke the “Freddo dollar”: they named it that way because the ice cream maker at the Quintana and Ayacucho branch, near the Alvear hotel, kept them up to date on the price variation every day.

There was no dollar to support the waste and other monetary mismanagement that occurred during filming

.

The financiers behind

Highlander 2 were

beginning to worry and pressure the producers and the director: filming had to be finished as soon as possible, because luxury spending and uncontrolled price increases were eating away at the funds.

This is how they changed the story and ahead of schedule, when a key chase still had to be filmed, the

insurance company ended filming

.

He removed all interference from the producers, director and original editors, and took over editing.

If the original script was already complicated, after that major surgery what hit theaters was directly a jerk.

Scene from the first "Highlander", with Sean Connery and Christopher Lambert.

Critics trashed it and many of them, including the prestigious Roger Ebert,

called it the worst film of 1991

.

Here it was not well received either: “It seemed like a mess to me.

I don't understand what they wanted to do.

And, although I appear in the credits as Kid I, the scene that I filmed, with a very high production cost, did not remain in the final version, ”complained

Michel Peyronel

, former Riff drummer, one of the local talents who participated in the filming in a supporting role, along with Max Berliner, Edward Nutkiewicz or Julio Breshnev, among others.

Peyronel was part of a gang of bad boys that kicked an oxygen machine.

Lambert arrived in a Porsche and Peyronel would face him to ask for a coin.

As Lambert did not answer him, Peyronel insulted him, took out sevillana and they fought.

“I had to repeat it 80 thousand times and

I ended up with a bump on the back

of my

neck

from hitting the wet cobblestones so much.

Lambert was cool, we talked in French about how to do the scene.

They even made up my teeth to make them look more rotten.

That scene alone was more expensive than

Someone is Watching You

”, he said in reference to his previous cinematographic experience.

Still, Argentina was one of the few countries in which it had some success.

Lambert returned for the avant premiere, which was also attended by local celebrities such as Víctor Bo, Julia Zenko and Marcelo Tinelli.

The premiere was on Thursday, June 20, 1991, and after its first week on the bill, it had been seen by more than 50,000 people, more than double that of

The Silence of the Innocents

, released two weeks earlier.

Furious with the result, Russell Mulcahy is said to have gotten up from the screening after the first fifteen minutes, and tried to appear in the credits as Alan Smithee, the pseudonym filmmakers use when they don't want to appear, but was prevented under threat. to sue him.

In 1995 he released his own video and dvd cut, known as

Highlander 2: Renegade Version

, for which the sequence that had not been completed five years earlier was filmed.

In 2004, Panzer and Davis did some tinkering - including the last scene, so there are three different endings - they added digital effects and released the Special Edition on DVD and Blu-ray.

All as long as

Highlander 2

did not go down in history as one of the worst movies of all time.

But it was too late.

WD

Source: clarin

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