On the last day of 2013’s Dragon Con, I attended one of the panels that I was most anxious to sit in on and report from, that being Adrian Paul talking about his role as Duncan McCloud from Highlander. I must say that everyone’s favorite immortal did not disappoint the crowd as he was funny, engaging and really did his best to accommodate the questions, attention and devotion of his many fans who packed the ballroom he was spoke in.
What was quite fun, was the moderator’s suggestion that the attending fans sing Queen’s theme song to Highlander in order to show Mr. Paul just how much the show is loved. Needless to say, the entire audience (including myself) immediately broke out into an acapella version of ‘Princes of the Universe” with Adrian Paul coming out shortly after the gathered fans had finished. It seemed apparent that the Highlander star enjoyed the warm welcome as he greeted the panel attendees with a big warm smile saying, “Wow, I think you guys know the theme song better than I do.” to which the crowd responded with a cheerful laugh.
Mr. Paul then thanked everyone for coming and pointed out that it had been a long time since the show had been on the air, while also acknowledging the support of both Netflix and the SyFy Channel for continuing to run the show. He was shortly thereafter asked about two of Paul’s fellow cast mates, Peter Wingfield and Jim Byrnes and what they were doing today.
Paul started with Peter Wingfield, the actor who played Methos in the series and indicated that he had gone on to finish medical school and now practices medicine, to which the crowd gasped in a collective and memorable awe.
“Peter’s background was that he was originally in medical school and just as he was about to take his finals, he told his parents,” and with impeccable timing, the immortal television star then said, ‘I want to be an actor.’” To which the crowd erupted with laughter as Paul finished off the thought with a devilish grin saying, “That went down really well.” Paul went on to add that as time went by, the industry changed and so Wingfield ultimately went back and finished off medical school and has now been practicing medicine for close to twenty years somewhere in the Northeastern United States.
Paul then spoke about Jim Byrnes, who played MacLeod’s personal Watcher, Joe Dawson, and the first thing he did was smile and pretend as if he were playing a guitar saying, “Jim Byrnes is still playing that great blues guitar.”
Next a female fan asked a rather fun and playful question that only Duncan MacLeod could answer, “If Duncan MacLeod met a mystical being who could bring back one of the following people,” she then named three fan favorite characters from the show, “Ritchie, Joe or Connor, who would Duncan choose?”
Paul immediately looked down with a smile on his face as if thinking the question over thoroughly and after putting his hands in his pocket and pacing around in a small circle for a quick moment he said, “That’s a tough question!” to which the crowd responded with a fun and hardy laugh. “Oh Gosh, I mean, they’re all very different entities for him. One was like his little brother, another one was like his father and the other one was his brother.”
He then looks directly at the fan and with a seemingly heartfelt gush of sincerity said, “Which one would you bring back?” as if to say, there is no real easy way to choose. He then continued on and said, “I don’t know, I don’t know, I mean there can be only one.” as he smirked and smiled while holding his arms out toward the laughing, clapping and accepting crowd.
The same fan then said, “I had the good fortune of getting a hug from you at the Highlander convention in Colorado almost twenty years ago and you haven barely aged a day since then,” to which Paul smiled sheepishly as the crowd again clapped in agreement. The fan then asked one final question, “So what is your secret to near immortality?” as the crowd laughed and cheered.
Paul then said, “My kids are the secret I think.” as the crowd responded positively to this answer before he went on, “You know I have a charity for kids, The Peace Fund, and we try to help kids anywhere in the world and I do the peace sign a lot,” as he held out the universal peace sign with his hands.
The Highlander star then said, “And my daughter, she’s three and a half; and she was a flower girl at a friend’s wedding. And so she’s in her flower girl outfit and my wife sends me some pictures of her and in all of the pictures she’s standing there like this . . .,” with that Adrian Paul lifted his hand high in the air with a peace sign and a broad smile on his face the crowd roared with approval.
Paul finished the story saying, “I asked my wife, ‘who taught her that?’ and she replied ‘Monkey see, monkey do!’” as the crowd continued laughing. “So I think that’s one of the reasons I keep young, but also I eat relatively healthy, I drink a lot of water and I drink it all day long.
All in all Adrian Paul had a very warm, engaging and inspiring presence that made all in attendance on that last day of Dragon Con really believe and feel as if Duncan McCloud of the Clan McCloud was as honorable and noble as he was on screen in part because of Adrian Paul’s genuineness and personal input into the portrayal of his immortal alter ego.
To find out more about Adrian Paul’s charity, The Peace Fund, follow this link or paste it into your web browser. http://www.thepeacefund.org/about.html