Hollywood producer Peter S. Davis, the former half of Davis-Panzer Productions, and one of the minds that turned the 1986 fantasy film Highlander into a multimedia franchise has passed away. The Hollywood Reporter brings word that Davis passed away on Sunday in his sleep while in his home in Calabasas, California. Davis remained committed ot the Highlander series which spawned six feature films, two television series (with Highlander: The Series running for six seasons and nearly 120 episodes), an animated show, and even an upcoming reboot with John Wick's Chad Stahelski directing (which Davis was still working on getting made).
"In one of our last conversations, I asked him if he was going to retire after the Highlander reboot gets made at Lionsgate," Davis' son Joshua Davis revealed to THR. "I was trying to get him to think about slowing down, getting a hobby perhaps, but he just looked at me and said, 'Josh, after we make this movie, we're going to make five more.'"
Though the Highlander series is what put Davis on the map his credits aren't exclusive to that franchise. In the decade before the first film's release he was producing features like 1976's The Death Collector, Stunts, 1979's Steel, St. Helens, O'Hara's Wife, and The Jupiter Menace.
To that end however, Highlander, and the appearance by Sean Connery as Juan Sánchez-Villalobos Ramírez in the first film remained one of the highlights of his career and something he previously spoke about publicly.
"Everyone told me there was no chance in the world I'd get Sean Connery,"a quote from Davis reads as posted on the official Highlander Facebook page. "I talked to his agents at the time, and they said, 'Davis, just make an offer...you know he's a very well-paid actor. Make an offer.' I offered $300,000 for one week's work. They told me I was far off the mark. But then, I upped the ante from $500,000 to $700,000. Still nothing. So finally, his agents said, 'Peter, we like nice round numbers.' So we offered a million. That got the script to Sean."
"We immediately heard back that he enjoyed the piece if he got to make certain changes to broaden the role. We finally settled on the million for the week's work. David Tringham, who was 1st Assistant Director on the film - from the old school of filmmaking - told us shooting Sean would be near impossible in a week. But they made it work. David, director Russell Mulcahy, and production designer Alan Cameron built the (interior) sets back to back to back so Sean could be moved from one scene to the next. Russell shot the sh-t out of it, and managed to get true value out of our million dollars."
May he rest in peace.