Between the alcohol and the low budget, the set of Highlander was probably one of the most dangerous places for an actor to be. Image: Fox
The Guardian has a fun set of interviews with director Russell Mulcahy and star Christopher Lambert about the making of Highlander. Mulcahy talked about a shattered sword nearly hitting Sean Connery, strapping car batteries to actors so they’d spark during sword fights and using fishing wire to make walls crumble. But the thing that sounds the most dangerous on set was actually the contents of Connery’s flask:
We shot fast — in Scotland, London and New York. The budget was just $13m so it was guerrilla-style film-making. When we were in Glen Coe, the producer had to run down the mountain with a pocket of change to call the studio from a phone box. On the plane up, Sean brought out a bottle of homemade scotch a friend had given him. “C’mon, laddie,” he said, “have a nip of this.” It blew my brains out.
And, wow, was Connery not alone. Lambert’s best quote is about the Scottish extras they had:
It was my first time in Scotland. Insurance people completely forbid drinking on set, but try that up there and you’ll get shot. I’m not saying Scottish people drink all the time, but if they drink, they drink. It’s not a sip of wine, it’s a quarter of a bottle of scotch. There were 1,000 extras for the battle scenes and they went at it for real. After each shot, the cries went up: “Doctor!” “Nurse!”
Honestly, given everything Mulcahy talked about, drinking sounds like a necessity for getting through the shoot.