11:00am PT by Rick Porter
HBO, Spike Lee Team for 'David Byrne's American Utopia' Film
Spike Lee is returning to HBO for his next project.
The premium cable outlet will present a filmed version of the acclaimed Broadway show David Byrne's American Utopia, which Lee, who currently has Da 5 Bloods on Netflix, directed during the show's run at the Hudson Theater. It's set to premiere later this year, with a specific date to be announced.
"David Byrne's American Utopia is a uniquely transformative experience and a perfect example of how entertainment can bring us together during these challenging times,” said HBO Programming executive vp Nina Rosenstein. "Spike’s brilliant direction adds a level of intimacy to this powerful performance, and we’re so thrilled to share this groundbreaking show with our audience."
American Utopia features Byrne and 11 musical artists from around the world performing songs from the 2018 album of the same title, as well as songs from Byrne's Talking Heads and solo catalog. The show ran from October 2019 to February 2020, earning rave reviews: The Hollywood Reporter called it "pure bliss."
"Spike and I have crossed paths many times over the years, obviously I’m a huge fan and now finally here was an opportunity for us to work together," said Byrne. "I am absolutely thrilled with the result. The Broadway show was a wonderful challenge as well as an opportunity — it was a joy to perform and, well, best to let the quotes speak for themselves. Thrilled that this show and the subjects it addresses will now reach a wider audience."
Added Lee, "It is my honor and privilege that my art brother, Mr. David Byrne, asked me to join him in concert, to invite me into his magnificent world of American Utopia. And dat's da 'once in a lifetime' truth, Ruth. Ya-dig? Sho-nuff. Peace and love. Be safe."
Participant, River Road Entertainment and Warner Music Entertainment are executive producing and financing the project, with Participant as lead. Byrne's Todomundo and Lee's Forty Acres and a Mule Filmworks produce, and RadicalMedia executive produces. Byrne and Lee serve as producers. Participant’s Jeff Skoll, David Linde and Diane Weyermann executive produce along with Warner Music Group's Len Blavatnik, David Bither, Charlie Cohen and Kurt Deutsch; Bill Pohlad and Christa Zofcin Workman 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, also serve as EPs.
"We are thrilled to partner with HBO in bringing David Byrne's American Utopia to audiences everywhere,” said Linde, CEO of Participant. "The creativity and artistry of David Byrne and Spike Lee, together, with the urgency and relevance of this celebratory film, have resulted in an event that is truly of and for our times."