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The Adrian Tapes

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  • The Adrian Tapes

    I've been enjoying myself transcribing the Adrian Tapes for the guys of Highlander Rewatched. They're a delight to hear. However, they aren't all that easy to transcribe when the language is other than English! The final tape, for example, includes bits from characters speaking Native American languages, and Italian, and I think other. Since the scripts apparently say such as "Duncan - [In Italian]" rather than actually writing the dialogue, I'm at a loss! Can anyone help out?

  • #2
    (martial beat of music, cold winter wind blowing) Mac low voiced: Darius was once one of the great generals. Grayson was his second in command. (sounds of wood cracking) Fifteen hundred years ago, Darius could have led his armies across Europe and ruled for a thousand years. But he turned his armies back. Grayson felt betrayed and never forgave him. Darius, ever since, has tried from Holy Ground to be a peacemaker.

    Mac: (slightly higher pitched voice) I am Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod.

    Darius: I am Darius. (distant cries of pain) You won't need that.

    (later flashback)
    Mac: The hatred's just run too deep here. Maybe it'll be different in the New World.
    Darius: I would not rob you of that hope.
    Mac: Goodbye, Darius.
    Darius: Goodbye, Duncan MacLeod. (birds chirp, a moment passes) PEACE be with you!
    Adrian: In many ways um, Band of Brothers had some amazing aspects in it for me. It was the show that uh, the audience saw Werner Stocker for the first time, who played Darius. He... became a very popular character as you all know. (chuckling as speaks) And I remember the day he actually came on set as if it was yesterday, because... this day TOO for me, was an extraordinary day in many, many different ways. We were up on Mount Seymour in Vancouver. And it started out a sunny but, you know, brisk morning at six o'clock in the morning, uh, on top of this mountain.

    We'd gotten there early so that we could get ready for the battle scene, cuz we were doing the battle scene in 1815 where I first meet Darius, and we had to try on the costumes 'n get ready. But by eight o'clock, clouds had started forming, and I met Werner, and uh, we talked a little bit. But also I met all the German photographers, and the journalists that had accompanied him and uh, suddenly realized he was quite a name in Germany! You know, he'd made a name for himself. And uh, they wanted to see how he was going to uh, do on Highlander. And this was his first time filming, so they were all accompanying him here. And they were all wearing, you know, nice thin clothes, on top of a mountain... which was a very smart idea but... By the time we started rehearsing, the first snow started to fall and fall it did, because it just kept on snowing, and snowing, and snowing. And by the time... we were doing take after take. I noticed the-the poor extras laying on the floor, some of them getting covered by snow in between takes! And you'd fall over them, or not notice where they were, and suddenly this pile of snow would move! You know, they must have been freezing!

    Well! We finished that scene just after lunch. But by this time, there was a foot of snow everywhere. The funny thing was the weather was working WITH us, although it didn't seem like it at the time. It rained one day; snowed the day after; was sunny the next... which normally would give a production company a headache! However, we were lucky because the conditions created different seasonal looks for the past and the present.

    The other scene that we shot on the mountain that day was the training session between MacLeod and Richie. Figuring MacLeod would want a different training method, Bob Anderson came up with the idea of a revolving log that Mac would jump over whilst Richie spun it around. (guitar cue) During rehearsal, Stan decided to reverse the direction of the log, which caught me off-guard and cracked me on the leg! This made him laugh, and my leg ache, BUT I said to him, "We should keep it in!" However, I think he was having a little too much fun doing it.

    Someone: And... ACTION! (clap of sound)
    (gasps and noises)
    Stan/Richie: (pants) So what makes this Grayson guy so different from the others?
    Mac: He's fourteen hundred years older than I am. He's one of the few ancient Immortals left! (panting as action) You know, he's been a warlord most of that time. You don't just go up to him with your sword and say, "Phssshhh phssssh phsssh phsh! En garde, fool!" (clonk as log hits his legs) Ooh! (Stan laughs) C'mere! C'mere! (staff is laughing)
    Someone: Cut! (still laughing)

    Adrian: On this show, we also had a new director. A Frenchman named René Manzor whose style I believe was basically to create havoc wherever he went. René was very precise about every single word that was said. (deep breath) Um, he would say something and, and say, "Well, I want it said THIS way." Um. And I'd say, "Okay." And I'd think about it, and I'd say, "Yeah. Okay. How would MacLeod interpret that?" And that's sort of how I did it. But when he got over to Alex... and Stan... well that was another thing. I'd... I'd noticed the way Alex worked, and I'd noticed the way Stan worked. Stan was very... LIBERAL with how he did things. He was very ad libbish. He always ad-libbed stuff 'nd... It was a... a little harder for him to actually give a line reading as such. Um... Stan had to sort of adapt himself to that so his technique wasn't as strong so he didn--wasn't quite sure how to do that. And this was... apparent in the scene where... I was giving him a ticket to go off to Paris...

    Stan/Richie: (wounded tone) Can I just ask you one question? (moving noises) Tess? (She sighs.) Why you goin' to Paris now?
    Tessa: (unhappily, deep breath) I would only distract Duncan. (breathes out) He'll think more clearly if I'm not around.
    Richie: Yeah, well he should be more worried about you being in Paris all alone with all those French dudes.
    Duncan (walks in): That's why you're going with her. To keep her from all those "French dudes". (footsteps)
    Richie: This is for me? (moving noises) (Richie laughs in astonishment) I... I'm going to Paris.
    Duncan: Mmhm.
    Richie: Now?
    Duncan: Mmhm.
    Richie: Like today...?
    Duncan: Like today.
    Richie (laughs, hyperventilating) Stan: Oh, hoh... Sh(BEEP)t! (exasperated noises)
    Adrian: Stay in it! (Stan makes frustrated noise) Stay in it!
    10:40 ***** Someone: ... it good!
    Adrian: Keep going! Keep going!
    Stan: Gimme the ticket again! (walking noises, returns)
    Stan/Richie (unhappily): Yeah well, he should be... more... Well he should be more worried about... you being alone in Paris with all those French dudes.
    Duncan (steps): That's why you're going with her. (papery noises) To protect her from all those... "French dudes".
    (playful amused music)
    Richie: What's this? (moment) It's a ticket to Paris!
    Duncan: Mmhm.
    Richie (laughs in amazement then) Stan: I can't do this right now. I'm sorry.
    11:10 René: You're perfect! You got the ***** You are...
    Stan: René...

    Adrian: In the end. the uh, producers, when they saw the dailies, they told René "Back off the actors," because you can't tell an actor how to read a line, because it then suddenly makes the rest of their performances very stilted. (breathes) The other things that uh, were interesting for me on um, Band of Brothers, were the fights.

    By the time this last show happened in Vancouver, I wanted it to be a little bit more spectacular than normal, because we were transversing from one period to another. But as you... normally happens when we do things like this, we never always had a lot of time to rehearse stuff. The first fight that we did was... the one that was below***** in the boiler room. The special thing about this fight for me was: it only took an hour and a half to two hours to rehearse the entire fight, and it actually was taken in one shot! It was: two cameras, one shot, three angles. So there wasn't stopping for camera cuts in between, or repositioning, just doing one section of it. We did the entire fight, with three guys, for... whatever--however long it took, forty seconds or whatever, for... you know, somewhere in the region of about... five, six times. But by the time you... multiply that with all the energy that's put in that, plus having done it, already, another thirty-forty times (laughs), in rehearsal, y--I ended up being about five or six hours in training, that particular day, so it... was special. And when I saw it, and it worked very well I was really proud of, of that particular fight because I thought it, it flowed very well. So I guess René had a, a good uh, eye for that type of thing, instead of actually chopping it up, which a lot of fights do and you don't see the action.

    The second fight was the sword fight. And that was an event in itself. As I said, it snowed up on the mountain before, and um... now it rained. And it rained for twelve hours, from the minute we got there to the minute we left. It was also shot at a sulfur pit. (amused) And, as you probably know, sulfur doesn't smell too good. So... On top of that, it didn't make the conditions that we were shooting in very pleasant to... work with. And, the way they shot it was that they shot the beginning: the first meeting of Grayson and MacLeod, the very first few blows; and the end, the Quickening. The reason they did that was because the Quickening cost a lot of money. If they never got the Quickening shot correctly, then they would have lost a lot of money. Whereas the fight they could cut down if they overran the Quickening, and therefore have a shorter fight but with a spectacular end.

    So what that meant was that we started the day off with the beginning of the fight, and the end of the fight! And the problem with that was o--obviously is that, you don't know what happens in the middle. I figured that basically we were gonna get cut up a lot, because it was supposed to be a very physical fight, so, when we got to the part of shooting the Quickening, it started off with rolling down the sulfur hill. And I was supposed to have my hair disheveled, and cut 'n bled 'n, in a terrible state, so we had to figure this out, so in the meantime, while it was raining, we were trying to rehearse the fight, and the Makeup and Wardrobe were also trying to (breathes) do THEIR jobs so... Can you imagine trying to do a swordfight, underneath umbrellas, and having a, a, a makeup woman in your face and, and the wardrobe woman below your arm, while you're trying to do a swordfight up above! It was quite amusing. Anyway, by the time we got around to lunchtime--which was, again, another famous René Manzor Five-Hours-Into-Shooting--we'd done the Quickening.

    Now we had the ENTIRE fight to shoot in about another four or five hours. Which consisted of, as we'd choreographed it, a whole bunch of numbers going UP this metal scaffolding, to the top of the uh, sulfur machinery; stunts falling down; going up a conveyor belt; jumping off the conveyor belt, and rolling down a hill, to where we ended the Quickening. Well, as you know, i-we, cut some of that stuff because we didn't have enough time to actually do it. The stunt guys were only able to do one of the stunts. And as the time went on, René was trying to... design these shots... that... were unnecessary a couple of times, *****again causes a few... times of... it's taking a long time to do a shot, which wasn't really necessary. And at the end, we were really, really losing time to be able to connect the fight to where we had rolled down to do the Quickening. So James and myself said, "We'll do the run up the conveyor belt," which was quite dangerous cuz it was a fifteen foot drop either side, on a small platform. (amused) The interesting point about this particular part of the fight was: He decided to do two closeups. I said, "It's very important to do two closeups here, because it looks like this is where Grayson gets MacLeod." So we did the closeups on top, and then we did the run up, the top of the uh, conveyor belt, and he had three cameras going--two to three cameras going, *****on the line. And I looked at James and I said to him, "Listen. I'm gonna jump off at the end of it, and I'm gonna--then gonna roll down the hill. Just follow me." He said, "You're nuts." And I said, "Well, it's the only way we're gonna get this. We have ONE shot to do this in, and... we either roll down or they don't connect the two pieces of the fight."
    So the cameras rolled, and he came at me: I'm laying on my back on the conveyor belt, and he disarms me. And as he disarmed me, the, the sword went flying, and I didn't know where it went! But I knew it went close to where the people were filming the, the fight! At the end I jumped off, and I rolled down the hill, (amused) and he started coming down with me.

    So, actually René got the shots connected. When I looked back up again, the sword had flown out... And when you look in television movies, it flies out and lands, and, sways in the dirt. Well, it'd done exactly that! Three feet from the front of the camera! I would never have believed that a sword would go flying out of somebody's hand, go twenty to thirty feet in the air, spiral several times, and land with the point down and sway as it does in the movies! (breathes) Well trust me, I believe it now.

    I guess the one thing, when looking back on this particular show, is that I realize that through a mixture of Mother Nature's errors; the stress factor; eased by a sense of practical jokes and a lot of hard work... we developed what I think was probably one of the first true Highlander episodes in its feel, its camera moves, and its story content.


    • #3
      (low dramatic music, breath whooshing) Richie, low voiced challenging: I am Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. (shifting position, changes voice to lighter pitch) And I am Connor MacLeod. Same clan; different vintage. (makes whish whish noises)

      (sweet music)
      Adrian: That may have seemed like a line to you in the show, but in actual fact it was an idea Stan had, because he'd seen myself as Duncan and Christopher Lambert as Connor doing those two lines, and he thought they were quite funny to do. But the poignant thing about that particular moment that he had, in the scene where he did those lines was: I was watching him, and it was the first time that MacLeod watched Richie, and realized that--for myself and for the audience--that this was the first time Richie had a sword in his hand. And it was an indication of what things were to come when he was gonna become an Immortal.

      Ad libbing was something that Stan and I did from the very beginning. Actually, after the very first show there was um... one of the producers came up and said, (French? accent)"Well you know, we love the ad libs, but (loses accent) can you stick to the script?!" Well... No. I don't think so. If you'd liked them in the first place, why tell us to stick to the script? I think uh, there were some great lines in Highlander in the first year, where um, we... didn't stick to the script and th-and they were left in because they were very natural.

      In the very first show, in The Gathering, where um, Connor knocks uh, MacLeod out... That scene was actually made up by um, Chris Lambert and Bill Panzer and myself. Cuz we needed a little bit more comradery between the guys. But while we were doing the scene: Chris sort of turned 'round during the scene and said, "You know, I was thinking..." And suddenly I have this idea of him thinking, and it made me laugh. And he looked at me and he went, "Why are you laughing? Cuz I'm thinking?" And I said, "Yeah." And it was just something very natural that happened and they kept it in and it was very... you know, it was very much... part of the characters.

      Connor: You know I've been thinking... (moment) Why are you smiling? Cuz I've been thinking?
      Duncan: Mmhm!
      Connor: (staccato laugh) Well anyway. As long as I can remember knowing you--

      Adrian: Now ad libs come in many forms. The most common obviously is the spoken word. But an ad lib can also come in the form of an action. The one that really caught me unawares was in Sea Witch, when I was working with Steven Mott, who played Alexi Voshin. We were doing the flashback scene where the characters met for the first time in a long while. Now unbeknownst to me, Steven had talked with Tom Wright, the director, and had said to him that, "When Russian men greet each other, they kiss on the lips." (exciting music) Tom thought that this was a great idea, and wanted to capture my reaction on film, so he didn't tell me. Well the first take Steven couldn't summon up enough courage to do it, but Tom insisted he should on the second take! The look you see on my face was priceless! Even when we got to the closeups it was still very easy for me to have a look of astonishment, which gave the scene a little comedy. (amused)

      (smacking sound of kiss) Niva: Ah, you are old friends!
      Duncan: (slightly high pitched) Let's say we know each other for ages!

      Adrian: It was never written that these two men kissed each other, it just came out of an impulse that Steven had; an impulse that was an ad lib. Now there were other times in the show that there were certain lines, or situations, that caused me as an actor to reflect on what my character needed; or who he was.

      In the episodes See No Evil, at the end of the show, Tessa's saying goodbye to her friend, and Mac comes in and tried to console her.

      Duncan: You okay?
      Tessa: (sniffles sadly) Sure. (distressed breath in) I just keep seeing him in front of me as I--
      Duncan: (haltingly) You did... what you had to.
      Tessa: (near sobs) I thought... I thought ridding the world of evil would feel (inhaled sob) better than this.
      Duncan: (steps in closer, note of understanding) I know. (as she breathes in his arms, tone is more agreeing) I know.

      Adrian: Suddenly I found a part of MacLeod--I found part of his character--when I said that particular line. And that sort of made me reflect as a character and think: "Okay. I understand what he's going through now. He's actually having to have the dilemma of... ridding evil, but it doesn't feel good killing." It's... hard to kill someone whose path and ideals have changed along the way, and who originally was a friend. I'd never thought of it before. The line in Family Tree where Mac sees his father, after he's banished from the clan, there's a... another moment that we ad-libbed as such, was when I said "Where do I come from?" Originally it was scripted that I say the line just once. But the feeling of abandonment from my father... made me repeat the line.

      (steps crunching) Duncan: (small voice) Where do I come from? (as noise of horses moving, shouts) WHERE DO I COME FROM?
      Rider: Heeyah!
      Duncan: WHERE DO I COME FROM?! (grief in tone) WHERE DO I COME FROM?
      9:45 Director?: Go to the right! Adrian, go to the right!
      Duncan: Where do I come from?!
      Director: Keep running! Let him go now!

      Adrian: As I chased him up the dirt path, another ad-lib happened. Which is a line that has now been immortalized through the series.

      Duncan: (despairing) I AM DUNCAN MACLEOD, OF THE CLAN MACLEOD!

      Adrian: That was something that came out of a feeling; and I think sometimes feelings give you more of an insight into who a character is, and why he exists. I think the biggest culprit though of ad libbing was Stan. (amused) He can go through a show quite often and ad lib entire scenes. (laughing speaking) He's quite infamous for doing that. But his way of acting works well for him when he's being natural. I remember in Nowhere to Run the ad libbing we did inside the chateau was necessary, because the script hadn't taken into account the location we would be shooting in.

      Duncan: Boil as much oil as you can. (moment) Allan, this one needs strengthening. (hammering noises) (someone speaks) Are you finished yet? (confirming noise) Okay, I need your help in the back room to barricade it. (time passes, more hammering) Start over there. (moment) Richie?
      Richie: Yeah. I'm here.
      Duncan: Need a hand. (moment) That back window. (noises, speaking as working) Pile as many boxes up against it--(doing so heaving)--as you can!

      Adrian: Here we used a mixture of scripted lines, and lines that were necessary to coincide with our actions. This was a great example of a collaboration of script and ad libs working well with each other. (amused) Something that always makes me smile when I see the episode, was in The Hunters, in the scene where Roger Daltry's character, Fitzcairn, was being led away to be executed. An action here caused an ad lib from Roger that made me laugh, because I knew it wasn't scripted. They'd given the job of unchaining him to two extras. And they were having a difficult time unlocking his chains.

      (noises of approaching footsteps) Fitz: Ah! You've come to play some more, hm? (noises of unchaining attempt) Oh! It's about time you big fellows came to your senses! I'm sure we can come to some amicable arrangement. Take me to your master! (chain jangling noises) If you can get the lock off. (laughs) (as they succeed and pull him) And DON'T be so... aggressive! (laughs)

      Adrian: (amused) This was just the way Roger was. And he built his character around these little ad libs. The writers obviously loved it, because... in a later script, they developed his character around them. Another instance that set up Mac's character, and the character of the Highlander, was the idea of playing Chess. This wasn't scripted in the first place, and... this came out of an idea I had for the character between... Xavier, and MacLeod, in For Tomorrow We Die. I saw that the battle between them, was like a Chess game. And I figured that: every move that Xavier made, Mac had a counter; and every move that Mac made, Xavier had a counter. So they were... Throughout the show, if you watch... each scene, after each scene there's a Chess move. So that their whole... game, if you like, was a Chess game. And after that, it suddenly became instilled in the whole thing. Chess became a, a very important part of MacLeod's character. It even turned up with MacLeod playing with Darius, playing Chess. Even Tessa and Richie playing Chess in The Eye of the Beholder. And in a little behind-the-scenes story here: in... actuality, if you look closely in uh... Avenging Angel: The Chess set that's on the table on Elaine's apartment, is my personal Chess set that they needed to borrow, because there's--they thought it would look good in the scene. But, again: This was one of the best examples of using an idea that we created, to create other poignant moments. The writers were able to take Chess, and use it later in The Hunters, where Mac was going back to Darius's rectory after he'd been killed, and use it as a remembrance of their comradery; their, the relationship that they shared, and the times that they spent as warriors on the battlefield--if you like--of Chess.

      As I've mentioned, ad libs usually are thought of as words, and as actions. But ad libs can also happen when somebody has an idea of how to shoot something, to create a certain effect. In The Beast Below when Ursa was attacking MacLeod in the final fight, and his scythe was sliding down the roof, Bob Anderson came up with a great idea. He thought it would be a great shot to see the scythe honing down on MacLeod. Well, since the cameraman wasn't quite sure what he wanted, Bob did it himself. (laughing) And since he did it himself, and we were rushed for time, if you look very closely you'll see two white shoes at the edge of frame. Those are Bob's. And nobody else's.

      Now I think the most fun I had in the first year with somebody who was spontaneous and off the wall, if you like, was in Freefall with Joan Jett! Joan was uh... relatively new to the process of acting, I think, but uh, she was very strong-minded. But I liked her immensely because she was very gung ho in everything that she wanted to do. She was determined, from the moment she got on set, to do a good job. But sometimes I think, when you... become concerned with doing that, you can get a little tense with moments. And... the first day on set was no exception. She came on set I remember, and she did a scene; and most times, when an actor forgets a line, you... look at the script supervisor, and you say to them, you know, uh, "What line was it? I forgot oh dear, I have to remember to do that again better." Well, Joan came in, and, when the shot was cut--she forgot her line, the shot was cut--she started cussing and swearing at how crass and idiotic she'd been for having forgotten the line, and scared everybody to death! She was quite forceful in the way she said it. I can't exactly repeat what she said, but... The best moment however, came when she uh, was with us in the scene with Tessa, after Richie had left the room. I was doing a closeup with Joan, and Joan... you know, as I said before, would ask for lines and in theater usually when you ask for a line, you say, "Line," off-camera. Well I was ON-camera, and Joan was standing BY the camera, giving me the lines in the scene. You know, like uh, "What's your name?" "Well I'm Felicia Martins from Philadelphia." Well at this particular point, I said my line... She looked at me blankly, and then said: (nasally) "LIIINE!" And everybody just cracked up laughing and I'm trying to keep a straight face while I'm on camera, as well as trying to do a take in a short period of time. And I think I managed just about, but, you know, it was quite an event to work with her, because she was so gung ho, in doing everything.

      The last sort of uh... point I'd like to make about ad libs, is that sometimes an ad lib can actually bring in an emotion or a feeling that has never been felt, or has not been felt by the actor, or has not been felt by the writers before. In uh, Eye of the Beholder: MacLeod was in the Quickening. He'd just taken uh, Piton's head; his friend for many, many years who he'd partied with; who he'd spent much time with, and who'd obviously changed his ways over the years. And... I didn't know what was gonna happen in that scene. I had no idea what the feeling was gonna be afterwards, but I just sort of focused in on what it was I was losing. And then suddenly I found myself on my knees, by this post, hitting my head against this post, which... said it all without having to have a huge emotion. And uh, it just um... was right for what that feeling was. From that point on you h--I started finding out what MacLeod was about; who he was... as well as being a warrior. As well as defining himself as being the... the righter of all, all evil. He had vulnerable spots, where he didn't know quite what he was gonna be... doing at one moment or another.

      So what I'm trying to say is that sometimes an emotion or a thought that's ad libbed can actually create for you a character, as you're doing him, and you suddenly realize... where he is, who he is, and what he wants out of life. Sometimes an ad lib can have as profound an effect as a written line can, because it comes, as I said, from an emotion. In the final scene of Saving Grace, I needed to say something to Grace that would show to her that... what we had in the past, we will have in the future, and we will always have. And I was trying to find a line to say to her, to say goodbye--I couldn't just say goodBYE to her. And although the line had already been written once, and we'd said it in the past, I thought it was appropriate to say it in the present.

      Grace: Goodbye.
      Duncan: You can stick around. The investigation's over.
      Grace: I couldn't. I'm beginning to understand how Sendaro felt. About loving someone he couldn't have.
      Duncan: Grace, I...
      Grace: I know. Goodbye, Duncan.
      Duncan: Goodbye. (sound of cab door) May the winds be with you.

      Adrian: What I tried to convey to you on this tape, is that Highlander has been, and hopefully will continue to be, a creative endeavor. The ad libs are part of that process, and I hope you've had as much fun watching them, as we did doing them. Until the next time. May the winds be with you.
      (Bonny Portmore music)