“Stop Making Sense,” the Talking Heads concert film breathlessly directed by the late, great Jonathan Demme, is returning to theaters this fall, newly restored for its 40th-ish anniversary (the movie actually came out in 1984 but was filmed in 1983).
While a re-release of “Stop Making Sense,” overseen by A24, is exciting, perhaps even more exciting is the fact that the band will reunite at the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday, September 11 for a chat moderated by Spike Lee. Lee directed the filmed version of David Byrne’s “American Utopia” for HBO.
Byrne will be joined by Jerry Harrison and the still-married Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth on stage. The chat will be live-broadcast for a special Global IMAX Live event that same night; the movie will then be in IMAX theaters exclusively on September 22 and everywhere September 29 “in a pristine new 4K restoration,” according to A24.
In a new interview with People Byrne admitted he could have handled things better when he was in the band. “As a younger person, I was not as pleasant to be around. When I was working on some Talking Heads shows, I was more of a little tyrant,” he told the magazine. “And then I learned to relax, and I also learned that collaborating with people, both sides get more if there’s a good relationship instead of me telling everybody what to do.” Byrne added: “I think [the end] wasn’t handled well. It was kind of ugly.”
That Toronto event is going to be better than five “Real Housewives …” reunions, especially considering that Frantz published a memoir in 2020 that didn’t exactly paint a glowing portrait of Byrne.
“Stop Making Sense” was filmed over four days at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles (December 13–16, 1983). The film was rapturously reviewed (Roger Ebert wrote “the overwhelming impression throughout “Stop Making Sense” is of enormous energy, of life being lived at a joyous high” and it was the National Board of Review’s best non-fiction film for 1984) and became an iconic pop culture artifact (when Kermit the Frog has dressed in Byrne’s boxy suit, you know you’ve hit on something).
In 2021 it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. Over the years a slightly expanded version of the film, which included two songs cut from the theatrical presentation, has been released, along with various home video versions. Tomorrow a new vinyl edition of the soundtrack will be released. Everything’s coming up Talking Heads.