Everyone gets excited about movies for different reasons.
There are plenty of times that something is announced and I look at Twitter or Facebook and see that people are going nuts for it, and I'm left cold by the news. Sometimes it's because a nostalgia button's been pushed, sometimes it's because of the creative elements involved. And there are plenty of times I put up a piece of news here and I'm thrilled about it and there reaction from you guys is a sort of deafening silence.
So when I say that this is the most exciting film news that I've heard so far in 2015, I accept that my own excitement level may be pitched somewhere different than yours. But there's no way I can downplay the dopamine rush I got when I read that Leos Carax is deep into development of a new movie musical that will feature music by Sparks.
Sparks has never been a major hit-making machine, but they've carved out a very strange and very personal path as they've remained artistically active since the early '70s. They worked with Giorgio Moroder for a while, and their work was wildly influential in the electronic pop world.
One of the coolest “almost” moments for Sparks came when Tim Burton struggled to turn “Mai, The Psychic Girl” into a movie for five full years, and Sparks was set to write the songs for what would have been one of the weirdest movie musicals ever. They've done some soundtrack work, contributing individual songs to movies and writing the score for Tsui Hark's Jean-Claude Van Damme bit of lunacy, “Knock Off.”
They've been enjoying a sort of renaissance lately, with an amazing London residency where they performed every one of their albums live over the course of a full month of concerts. In a documentary that was released in 2010, the brothers discussed their work with Jacques Tati on a film called “Confusion” that was in development at the time of Tati's passing.
This is all a long way of saying that as resumes go, Sparks has a pretty good one, and I can see why Leos Carax would reach out to them. Carax, whose most recent film, “Holy Motors,” is one of the most dazzling films of this decade, is a true genius, one of those guys who simply breathes cinema. It is in his veins, and any film he's working on is news that has me excited. But if you saw “Holy Motors,” then you know just how important music is to that film. There's a beautiful musical number performed by Kylie Minogue late in the film, a lament that broke my heart…
… and there's an amazing interlude in the film where Denis Lavant marches through a church playing this amazing, invigorating bit of music.
Sparks is also working with Guy Maddin to adapt their album “The Seduction Of Ingmar Bergman” into a film, but for me, it's the Carax news that has me crazy. I am excited to hear that Carax is working again, and I am excited to think he's pushing further in the same direction he was heading in “Holy Motors.” In talking about the film, Russell Mael of Sparks said, “These won't be done in a Broadway, razzmatazz kind of way. They're both all music, where sometimes the story is being progressed through dialogue that's done in a hyperstylized sung/spoken way. They're both pretty uncompromising, but at the same time we think they're really accessible.”
I'm going to dream of what we might see, and I'll leave you with this scene from “Holy Motors” that features Denis Lavant driving and listening to a song by Sparks. Part of what I love about Carax is how playful he is. Considering Kylie Minogue is an actor in the film, there's something cheeky about the end of that scene of Lavant driving to the party where he's going to pick up his teenage daughter.
This film, whatever it ends up being, cannot get here fast enough.