“The Sparks Brothers,” Edgar Wright’s debut documentary film about the influential yet below-the-radar pop band Sparks, has set a release date for this summer.
Focus Features is releasing “The Sparks Brothers” domestically on June 18, 2021, following its world premiere at Sundance and its screening at SXSW this week. The film still sits with a perfect 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Sparks is comprised of brothers Russell and Ron Mael, who have released more than 20 albums over the last five decades. They’ve proven to be highly influential, dabbling in experimental ’70s pop and later synth and dance music that inspired artists across genres on the backs of albums like “Kimono My House,” “No. 1 in Heaven” and “Propaganda.”
Wright’s “The Sparks Brothers” dubs Sparks as “your favorite band’s favorite band,” arguing that the duo is criminally overlooked. To build that case, he speaks not only with the enigmas that are the Maelstrom, but he also assembles a cavalcade of celebrity fans, including Flea, Beck, Jack Antonoff, Jason Schwartzman, Neil Gaiman and more. The documentary takes viewers through five decades of the Sparks’ career and lives.
At Sundance, Wright told TheWrap that he made “The Sparks Brothers” because he believed making a movie about them would be easier than trying to convey his fandom to people who had somehow never heard of the band.
“So the thing is, as a fan — especially as a Sparks fan — you end up becoming an evangelist for the band. There was a certain point where I figured it might be easier for me to make a documentary than to sort of be trying to explain to people over dinner who Sparks were and what albums they should listen to,” Wright said.
In his review of the film, TheWrap’s Steve Pond called it idiosyncratic and playful in the same way the band has become something of an enigma across so many decades.
“Confusing an audience that embraces that confusion has been their m.o. all along, so why should a movie about them be any different,” Pond wrote. “It’s excessive and exhausting and elusive, and entirely in keeping with the curious career of the Mael brothers.”
“The Sparks Brothers” is the second Edgar Wright film that Focus Features will release this year, with the director’s “Last Night in Soho” due to arrive Oct. 22 after first being delayed due to the pandemic.
Wright also produced the documentary with his producing partner Nira Park though their company Complete Fiction Pictures, along with producers George Hencken and Complete Fiction’s Laura Richardson. The film was financed by MRC Non-Fiction and will be distributed domestically by Focus Features.