In the making of The Sparks Brothers, director Edgar Wright took on a massive challenge. Sparks, the band at the center of the new documentary, has a history that spans more than 50 years, and not only is that a hell of a lot of time to cover in a standard-length movie, but things only get more intense when you consider the subject’s near-constant output of new music. There was never really a possibility on the table that the film would be able to cover absolutely everything – meaning that there was always going to exist the hardship of making some difficult cuts and leaving some great material on the editing room floor.
As I learned speaking with Edgar Wright earlier this month during the virtual press day for The Sparks Brothers, this definitely did end up being the case in the making of the new movie, but fans will be excited to know that a solid amount of the material will still get to see the light of day.
Prior to the documentary’s arrival in theaters this past weekend, I had the chance to talk with the Wright about the post-production process, and I specifically asked about the hardest cuts he had to make. The tough decisions apparently weren’t bits from interviews or special stories, but instead footage dedicated to songs that he would have enjoyed the opportunity to highlight. He explained,
It's usually like a song that you really like, but there just isn't time for. So there were other songs that we covered, like "Waterproof" from Hello, Young Lovers and "Suburban Homeboy" from Little Beethoven. But you start to just watch it over and over and start to feel where the momentum in the story is taking you, basically.
Formed by brothers Ron and Russell Mael, Sparks first came together in the late 1960s (originally named Halfnelson), and while they have never gained a lot of traction with American audiences, their popularity in Europe has resulted in them being not only being one of the longest running active bands around, but one of the most influential. They have hundreds of songs and 24 albums to date – so it’s pretty easy to cut Edgar Wright some slack when it comes to material that didn’t get the spotlight in the documentary.
Fortunately, though, we live in the age of home media, and the director is taking full advantage of that fact when it comes to the release of The Sparks Brothers. As he explained during our interview, there was some material that was shot in the making of the documentary that he always knew was never going to fit in the final version of the movie – and instead that footage is being given a special edit and will be included as extras on the upcoming Blu-ray release. Said Edgar Wright.
We were just working on the eventual Blu-ray, and there are some really nice things that there wasn't really time to stop the film for, for 15 minutes. But they're like great little vignettes in their own right. So they're not like things where I even think of them as deleted scenes. It's like, 'Well, this is the thing that we shot, which is really sweet, which was never really going to find its place in even a longer cut, but fans are to want to see this.'