This Is Spinal Tap, the beloved 1984 mockumentary about a fictional British rock band, is finally getting a sequel. Spinal Tap II will hit theaters on March 19, 2024, just a few weeks after the original film celebrates its 40th anniversary.
The new movie will again be directed by Rob Reiner, who will reprise his role as filmmaker Marty DiBergi. Also returning are Michael McKean as singer David St. Hubbins, Harry Shearer as bassist Derek Smalls and Christopher Guest as guitarist Nigel Tufnel. (Ric Parnell, who played drummer Mick Shrimpton, recently died at age 70.)
Even though a sequel of sorts – variously known as A Spinal Tap Reunion: The 25th Anniversary London Sell-Out and The Return of Spinal Tap – was released as a TV movie in 1992, Spinal Tap II promises to be closer in spirit to the original classic. Reiner recently told Deadline he’s been consistently asked over the decades when he planned to make a sequel.
“For so many years, we said, ‘Nah.’ It wasn’t until we came up with the right idea how to do this,” he said. “You don’t want to just do it to do it. You want to honor the first one and push it a little further with the story.”
Reiner briefly explained the premise of the new film, in which the band is still upset with the first movie DiBergi made. They reconnect with him as they play their final concert as a group.
“They’ve played Albert Hall, played Wembley Stadium, all over the country and in Europe,” said Reiner. “They haven’t spent any time together recently, and that became the premise. The idea was that Ian Faith, who was their manager, he passed away. In reality, [actor] Tony Hendra passed away. Ian’s widow inherited a contract that said Spinal Tap owed them one more concert. She was basically going to sue them if they didn’t. All these years and a lot of bad blood we’ll get into, and they’re thrown back together and forced to deal with each other and play this concert.”
Reiner said he hopes to include “guest artists” in the new movie but will also include true moments that have happened to real-life rock bands – just like in the original.
“Like in the movie, they get stoned and can’t find the stage, that happened to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers,” Reiner explained. “When Nigel is frustrated by the little bread in the catering that won’t hold the cold cuts, that last one was taken from a Rolling Stone article about a tour Van Halen had when, in their rider, they didn’t want brown M&M’s. We had an original keyboard player, Jonathan Sinclair, who, when he was with the band Uriah Heep, visited us and said they’d been book[ed] into a military base, and we put that in, too. When I met with Sting years ago, he said, ‘I’ve seen that movie 50 times, and every time I watch it I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Because it’s so much what happens.’ With all of that, we’ve had a lot of bands share their experiences, and so hopefully we’ll include some of that in the film.”
Reiner also recalled how This Is Spinal Tap initially confused some viewers, even though it has become a classic in the four decades since its release. “People came up to me and said, I don’t understand why would you make a movie about a band no one has heard of and is so bad. Why would you do it?” Reiner recalled. “I said, it’s satire and I would explain, but it took a while for people to catch up to it. Now it’s in the National Film Registry.”
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