Director Spike Lee’s film version of the Broadway hit David Byrne’s American Utopia gets its first full-length HBO trailer today, and the clip starts exactly where the thrilling stage production began: With the former Talking Heads frontman explaining the show’s stark, elegant design.
“What if we could eliminate everything from the stage, except the stuff we care about the most,” says Byrne on the empty (but gorgeously lit) stage. “Without cables and wires, what would be left? Well, it would be us, and you.”
Premiering Oct. 17 on HBO and HBO Max, Lee’s adaptation was recently the Opening Night Presentation for the 2020 Toronto Film Festival. American Utopia was filmed during the theatrical concert’s 2019-20 Broadway run at New York’s Hudson Theatre.
The HBO adaptation arrives at a good time: Byrne recently told NBC’s Seth Meyers that the stage show, with plans for a Fall 2020 Broadway return scotched by COVID, likely won’t hit the New York stage for another year. Read Deadline’s Broadway review here.
The trailer includes snippets of classic Byrne songs “Burning Down the House” and “Everybody’s Coming to My House,” and gives a good look at the performance choreographed to take full advantage of Byrne’s signature idiosyncratic dances and movement.
“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,” said Spike Lee, with Byrne adding, “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. I am absolutely thrilled with the result.”
Coinciding with the debut of the HBO special, Bloomsbury will release the book American Utopia, with words and lyrics by Byrne and art by best-selling author, illustrator and artist Maria Kalman.
Lee directs and produces for his production company 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks. Executive producers are Jeff Skoll, David Linde, Diane Weyermann, Len Blavatnik, David Bither, Charlie Cohen, Kurt Deutsch, Bill Pohlad, Christa Zofcin Workman, Jon Kamen, Dave Sirulnick, Meredith Bennett, Kristin Caskey, Mike Isaacson, Patrick Catullo; Byrne and Lee are producers, and Participant, River Road Entertainment, Warner Music Entertainment and Radical Media are executive producing and financing the project, with Participant as lead.
David Byrne’s American Utopia debuts Saturday, Oct. 17, 8 ET/PT on HBO and streaming on HBO Max.
Check out the new trailer above, and see the newly released poster below.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.