The latest film from director Edgar Wright is a documentary on Sparks called The Sparks Brothers. The Scott Pilgrim vs. the World director takes a fun look at how Ron and Russell Mael changed music despite never finding the commercial success of some of the bands they inspired.
What made Sparks an interesting documentary choice is that the band has never stopped creating new albums and their recent releases are just as critically acclaimed as their albums in the 70s and 80s.
“I guess that the aspect of it is why I wanted to make the documentary full-stop cause I was sort of well aware of that even before I met them,” said Wright to ComingSoon. “I met them for the first time like six years ago, but I was already by then, I was sort of in awe of how they were not just survivors, but they were doing it without being like a legacy act. There’s like a lot of bands that have been going for that long, at a certain point [they] just start being like a greatest hits act, and Sparks has never done that. They’re creating new material and they’re doing complete curveball projects. Like, Hey, let’s do an opera about Ingmar Bergman. Let’s do a whole album with Franz Ferdinand, you know? So it was every time they kind of zagged when you think they zigged, I was just like, this is extraordinary, and they’re like in their like fourth or fifth decade by this point.
“So all of those things were sort of why I wanted to tell the story because I felt that in a lot of other documentaries about bands who started in 1971, the bands are not going anymore. Or even if they are, they’re just kind of like a tribute act to this point. You can have a documentary about the golden years where it doesn’t kind of cover like what they’re doing now because it’s maybe less interesting, but with Sparks it’s like a 50-year body of work. It’s wrong to say that there’s like a golden period of sparks, because like you said, all the recent stuff is amazing.”
The Spark Brothers is out now in theaters.