Book Film

Back to the Eighties

It’s May 2020 – I’m not sure of the day, probably a Tuesday – and the world is still in lockdown. Normality has gone out of the window, but there are still projects to be worked on.

The last few months have found me completing the first year of my MA Screenwriting course while putting the finishing touches to my new book, which now has a title and a stunning new cover.

A Kind of Magic: Making the Original Highlander is, as the title suggests, a look back at the making of the 1986 film that spawned a franchise. It’s now with the publisher/editor and here’s the blurb:

“The story of an immortal Scottish warrior battling evil down through the centuries, Highlander fused a high concept idea with the kinetic energy of a pop promo pioneer and Queen’s explosive soundtrack to become a cult classic.

When two budget-conscious American producers took a chance on a college student’s script, they set in motion a chain of events involving an imploding British film studio, an experimental music video director still finding his filmmaking feet, a former James Bond with a spiralling salary, and the unexpected arrival of low-budget indie film company, Cannon Films.

Author Jonathan Melville looks back at the creation of Highlander with the help of more than 60 new cast and crew interviews, including stars Christopher Lambert and Clancy Brown, revisiting the gruelling shoot that took them from the back alleys of London, to the far reaches of the Scottish Highlands and onto the mean streets of 1980s New York City.

With exclusive writer commentary on unmade scripts, a fresh look at contemporary production material, never-before-seen photos from private collections, previously unpublished storyboards and artwork, a glimpse into the promotional campaign that never was, and a look at the ever-expanding franchise, A Kind of Magic is the book no Highlander fan can be without.”

That copy will change slightly to add a mention of the fact that I recently secured interviews with Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor, which adds a new dimension to the chapter on the film’s music.

Oh, and here’s that cover from my good friend, Ben Morris:

I’m hopeful that the book will be out in September 2020, but the lockdown here and elsewhere around the world is causing publishers, printers and bookshops huge problems so it’s a bit of a waiting game.

It can be pre-ordered from and (and other iterations of that website), but if you prefer to shop locally then there should be more details about that in the coming months.

I’m also working on some shorter book projects that should see the light of day later in 2020, as long as I can find the time…