Director Edgar Wright has been a fan of the band Sparks since his childhood. He just wished more people knew about the group, led by brothers Ronald and Russell Mael. So one night in the fall of 2017, while Wright attended a Sparks show with filmmaker Phil Lord, he had an epiphany.
“I said to Phil, ‘There’s only one thing stopping this band from being as big as they should be and it’s like they’re the most influential band that don’t have a documentary about them,’” Wright recalls in a new interview with Gold Derby. “So I said to Phil, ‘Somebody should make a documentary about the band,’ and Phil said, ‘You should make that movie,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, I will.’”
Four years later, that conversation has become a reality. Set to debut at the Sundance Film Festival this year is “The Sparks Brothers,” Wright’s tribute to the band and a crash-course in the group’s history for novices unfamiliar with the group.
“In the past, we had kind of hesitated and been a little bit leary about doing a documentary because we always feel what we’re doing musically and what you don’t know about the band, maybe that’s one of its strengths,” Russell says. “If too much is unveiled maybe we’re giving away something that’s important to Sparks. But in Edgar’s hands, we had no hesitations.”
Sparks has been around for decades and as Wright shows in the film, the band has influenced dozens of groups and counts everyone from Paul McCartney to Jason Schwartzman and Mike Myers as fans. But “The Sparks Brothers” should bring the band new devotees thanks to Wright’s distinctive style and reputation.
“I was playing people YouTube clips of Sparks and it’s that thing at a certain point where you’re just playing clips of things and think, ‘Oh wouldn’t it be great if all these clips were in one place?’” Wright says. Thanks to him, they finally are.
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