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HIGHLANDER WORLDWIDE WORKSHOP: DAVID ABRAMOWITZ
By Abbie Bernstein
March 02, 2005
HIGHLANDER's creative consultant/showrunner David Abramowitz
© HLWW 2004
HIGHLANDER creative consultant/showrunner David Abramowitz gets his second Q&A off to a bracing start by acknowledging that the series had a political philosophy: "I've always been a relatively liberal Democrat and that's the political bent of HIGHLANDER."
Someone asks whether there was a point where any of the episodes became a soapbox. Abramowitz replies that the speed of production usually made this a moot issue: "There isn't time to think, 'I'm crossing the line.' "
Many of HIGHLANDER's characters had different moral outlooks from one another. Was this intentional? "Yes. I needed everyone to have different opinions, or there's no conflict. Which is why Methos was so great, because he could say anything and did. Duncan MacLeod you knew if he did something bad, he'd feel terrible about it. He felt terrible about everything. Amanda definitely had her own perspective: 'Me, mine, pretty!' "
One of the main questions on the show, Abramowitz notes, was: " 'Who judges me?' Duncan MacLeod judges everybody. Methos' attitude is, 'So what?' "
As to the series' spiritual bent, Abramowitz says, "What happens [in the creative staff discussions] is that it comes out of necessity. They were open to whatever worked. 'What if we do a show about an Immortal who's a nihilist?' Aha."
Sixth season was originally envisioned as something quite different from what aired. Ahriman, the demon that tricked Duncan into killing his protégé Richie (played by Stan Kirsch) at the end of Season Five, is vanquished two episodes into Season Six. In fact, Ahriman was initially conceived as a much longer-lasting villain in a storyline set further in the future (MacLeod, of course, wouldn't have aged, being Immortal). "We were going to push the show in a whole different direction," Abramowitz reveals. "Ahriman actually won and it would be a whole different world, but they didn't have the money for it."
The addition of Roger Daltrey as recurring Immortal Hugh Fitzcairn, Mac's pal from the old days, came about due to the illness and untimely death of actor Warner Stocker, who played Duncan's mentor Darius in Season One. "Darius was the voice of God on the show," Abramowitz explains, "and then God died." When he first learned Stocker would not be available for the last episode of Season One, Abramowitz says, "I went into my office at midnight and wrote for 26 hours straight. You always have friends in high school [Fitz] is like a toothache. If you have it long enough, when it's gone, you miss it. 'You're a pain in the ass, but you're my pain in the ass.' "
How did MacLeod and Methos affect each other's beliefs? "For Methos," Abramowitz opines, "Duncan MacLeod was the best of what a human being could possibly be. He made Methos believe in heroes, I think. It's very easy for an Immortal to become cynical, which would be very painful for Duncan. Methos is someone who would always be truthful. Methos was the bad boy in high school that the nice guy jock would think, 'I wish I could say that [what he's saying].' They represented parts of themselves that they wouldn't allow themselves to be."
Abramowitz says the creative staff actively sought out story situations with no easy answers for MacLeod or the audience: "If there was a question that we couldn't find the answer for or wanted to discuss, we did. Darkness is as much a part of life as light is, and that's what we wanted to get across."
To be continued...