Multi-hyphenate creative Spike Lee has locked down his next project: directing a film version of the Broadway show David Byrne’s American Utopia featuring Talking Heads frontman David Byrne. Lee is currently finishing up working on his upcoming feature film Da 5 Bloods and adds David Byrne’s American Utopia to his pre-production project plate in addition to Prince of Cats, a new take on the play Romeo & Juliet focused on supporting character Tybalt.
Per a press release about this big announcement, we know Lee will be directing a filmed version of the Broadway show David Byrne’s American Utopia. The show stars Byrne and 11 other musicians from across the globe coming together to perform music from the Talking Heads’ frontman’s 2018 album American Utopia as well as songs from the Talking Heads’ catalog and Byrne’s solo work. The show opened back in October 2019 and is set to run through February 16 at the Hudson Theater in New York City.
Byrne offered up a comment for the press release expressing his excitement for Lee helming a filmed adaptation (so to speak) of his Broadway show:
“Pinch me. This couldn’t have worked out better for this project. Spike Lee directing and Participant producing — two socially engaged teams, well, three if you count us in the band, coming together in what I feel will be something moving, important, and unlike anything anyone has seen before.”
Participant Media is one of the lead financiers of the project and will serve as executive producer while River Road Entertainment and Warner Music Group will also co-finance the project. Additionally, the press release cites a hefty number of producers of all sorts: “RadicalMedia, as well as David Byrne’s Todomundo and Lee’s Forty Acres and a Mule Filmworks production companies. Byrne, Lee and Participant’s Jeff Skoll, David Linde, and Diane Weyermann will executive produce; along with Warner Music Group’s David Bither, Charlie Cohen, and Kurt Deutsch; Bill Pohlad of River Road; and RadicalMedia’s Jon Kamen, Dave Sirulnick and Meredith Bennett. Kristin Caskey, Mike Isaacson and Patrick Catullo, who lead produced the Broadway production, will also serve as executive producers.”
Participant CEO David Linde also shared a statement on Lee directing David Byrne’s American Utopia, remarking,
“American Utopia is a true celebration from a great artist and a beautiful reminder to our nation that we are all born barefoot and wearing the same suit. We are incredibly excited to work with Mr. Byrne and the incomparable Spike Lee, along with RadicalMedia, River Road and Warner Music Group in bringing this one-of-a-kind event out of the theater to audiences around the world.”
Currently, Lee’s filmed version of David Byrne‘s American Utopia is due out some time on 2020.