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6/9/2021 • 3 min read
When you think of a music documentary, a pretty standard template probably comes to mind. Some performance footage, and many interviews with the band and some well-known talking heads. Maybe a few dishy stories about that one part of the band’s past you’ve always wanted to know.
THE SPARKS BROTHERS, a new documentary about the best band you’ve never heard of, a little bit different. That’s because in part the art-pop band Sparks — real names Ron and Russell Mael — has never exactly had mainstream success. But the quirky and unusually catchy songs by Sparks have influenced legions of other bands you do know and love. This isn't a celebration of everyone's favorite band, but an opportunity to discover a new favorite.
That gives THE SPARKS BROTHERS a lot of room to play when it comes to telling the band’s story. The playfulness of this documentary, which is readily apparent from the trailer you can see below, is one of many reasons we cannot wait to see THE SPARKS BROTHERS unspool on the screen before us.
You might be thinking "I have no idea who this band is — why do I want to watch the movie?" If that's the case, just check out the trailer above. THE SPARKS BROTHERS comes from filmmaker Edgar Wright, whose films SHAUN OF THE DEAD, HOT FUZZ, and BABY DRIVER have captivated audiences who want the excitement of a genre movie combined with the imaginative energy of someone who absolutely devours cinema. His high-octane and yet always precise filmmaking style — not to mention an infectious sense of humor — is as much on display in this documentary trailer as in any of his made-up features.
This is one of two new movies from Wright this year. In addition to THE SPARKS BROTHERS, Wright’s stylish horror thriller LAST NIGHT IN SOHO is set for an October release. When a COVID-19 delay caused LSAT NIGHT IN SOHO to shut down for a few months in 2020, the filmmaker turned to editing the Sparks documentary full-time. And so the two movies are coming out within just a couple of months of one another.
In addition to Ron and Russell Mael, who clearly appear throughout the movie to tell the ban's story, there is a long list of interviewees who also talk about their experience with Sparks. The guest list runs about 80 names long, and Flea, Beck, Jane Wiedlin, Jack Antonoff, Jason Schwartzman, Neil Gaiman, Todd Rundgren, and Giorgio Moroder are just a few of the people Wright spoke to for the movie.
It's also not a stretch to say that Edgar Wright himself is part of the cast. His affable presence and kinetic filmmaking style are as intrinsic to the movie as any other part of it. In fact, he's a big part of the reason the brothers signed on.
Russell Mael told Entertainment Weekly, "We'd always been hesitant about doing the documentary about the band because we feel that maybe our music sort of says it all. But when Edgar brought us the idea of doing this, we said yes in a minute. We were completely aware of all of his films. There was the thought too that the sensibility that we knew of Edgar through his work seemed to be in parallel with what Sparks' sensibility is musically. Our only hope was that we would get the Edgar stamp, if you know what because we wanted it to be Edgar's take on the band. We were really happy that it turned out that way in the end."
All images courtesy of Focus Features.
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