My favorite kinds of books to read these days are books about the making of a movie, and this one hit all the right notes for me. Released in November of last year, author Jonathan Melville takes us on a journey through the entire process of making that landmark cult classic, from the initial concept, through it's many rewrites, to hiring legendary music video director Russell Mulcahy, to the casting of a then unknown Christopher Lambert. There is so much to devour here and it's a lot to take in. In a good way.
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 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 production company, Cannon Films.
Author Jonathan Melville looks back at the creation of Highlander with the help of more than 60 cast and crew, including stars Christopher Lambert and Clancy Brown, as they talk candidly about 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 insights from Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor on the film’s iconic music, exclusive screenwriter commentary on unmade scripts, never-before-seen photos from private collections, and a glimpse into the promotional campaign that never was, if there can be only one book on Highlander then this is it!
As big as this film is to this day, I'm a bit surprised they haven't yet made a full-length documentary on the subject, but as we just passed the film's 35th Anniversary this past March, what better way than to dig into this incredibly insightful book that delivers a plethora of valuable information regarding all things Highlander. And you're sure to learn a number of facts that you weren't aware of before. I know I sure as hell did. Like that fact that Lambert didn't speak a word of English (according to the book) when cast in his career-defining role as Connor MacLeod, or that Clancy Brown was only 25 years old when he was cast as The Kurgan, based on his previous performance as Viktor in the Frankenstein film The Bride the previous year. Also interesting to learn is that Clancy Brown has very strong feelings about his experience making this film, and because of those feelings, has been hesitant to revisit or even discuss the film, even avoiding conventions. A great book all around and a highly entertaining read.
You can order A Kind of Magic: Making the Original Highlander from Amazon for under $15 HERE.