Spinal Tap is getting ready to rock theaters again!
Michael McKean, Harry Shearer and Christopher Guest will be reuniting as their heavy metal alter-egos, the band Spinal Tap, for a new mockmuentary that will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 1984 original comedy classic This Is Spinal Tap. Rob Reiner, who directed This Is Spinal Tap, will again be both behind the camera and in front of the camera reprising his role of documentary director Marty DiBergi.
The original film, now listed on the National Film Registry, charted a disastrous American tour by a British heavy metal band as longtime rivalries and resentments boiled over amidst a string of other catastrophes.
The news of this sequel comes just days following the announcement of the death of Ric Parnell, the drummer who played the part of Spinal Tap drummer Mick Shrimpton. True to the band’s history of having drummer’s die in mysterious circumstances, at the end of the film Mick spontaneously combusts on stage. Parnell would also tour with McKean, Shearer and Guest as Tap, posing as his film character’s twin brother Rick.
In an interview with Deadline, Reiner spelled out the premise of the film –
[Spinal Tap]’ve played Albert Hall, played Wembley Stadium, all over the country and in Europe. 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, 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.
The plot does sound similar to Guest’s own 2003 musical mockumentary film A Mighty Wind which told the story of three 1960s folk acts reuniting for a concert. And of course, that film’s folk trio, The Folksmen, were also portrayed by McKean, Shearer and Guest. (And at some actual Spinal Tap concert dates over the years, the three would often serve as their own opening act by having the Folksmen open the show.)
Reiner also explains how his character fits into the story –
The band was upset with the first film. They thought I did a hatchet job and this is a chance to redeem myself. I am such a big fan and I felt bad they didn’t like what they saw in the first film. When I heard they might get back together, I was a visiting adjunct teacher’s helper at the Ed Wood School of Cinematic Arts. I drop everything to document this final concert.
The idea that the band was unhappy with DiBergi’s work has been a long-running joke, especially emphasized in the in-character DVD commentary track with McKean, Guest and Shearer.
Spinal Tap II is set for a March, 19 2024 release.