CREATIVE SPARKS
Total Film|September 2021
ANNETTE I The American pop duo meet French auteur Leos Carax for a movie musical like no other…
Leos Carax

Some collaborations were meant to be. When Russell and Ron Mael – the sibling duo behind American band Sparks – met French filmmaker Leos Carax at Cannes in 2013, they immediately clicked. Carax had used their song ‘How Are You Getting Home?’ in his 2012 odyssey Holy Motors. “He was a fan of Sparks since he was a real young guy in Paris; stealing Sparks albums because he had no money, putting them under his overcoat, walking out of the record shops,” smiles Russell. “We said, ‘That’s our kind of guy.’”

It just so happened the Maels had already written Annette. Originally intended as a concept album, it tells the story of an abrasive stand-up comic, who falls for an angelic opera singer. Intending to tour the songs, Russell was set to play the comedian, Ron would play a conductor who loves the singer from afar, and an as-yet-uncast female singer would be the love interest. But after meeting Carax, the Maels sent him the idea. Within weeks, he’d committed to direct – a film that would take eight years to make.

Carax says the brothers gave him three gifts with this fully formed musical. “There was the music,” he says. “There was the fact that I didn’t imagine it – they did – which is very liberating.” And then there was the fact it was in English, “which was my first language,” he notes (his mother is American). “I always wanted to make a film in English. I love English, obviously. I only read in English. I don’t read in French. I’ve been listening to, obviously, American-English singers.”

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM TOTAL FILMView All

Michael Winterbottom On Why The UK Isn't Making More Indie Films

Michael Winterbottom is one of Britain’s most prolific film directors, but in his new book he lifts the lid on why it’s so hard to get films made in the UK. Having used the first covid lockdown to interview a who’s who of the country’s auteurs, winterbottom tells total film why the industry often fails to nurture its most promising talent.

8 mins read
Total Film
October 2021

ANDREW GARFIELD

He has worked with titans like Fincher and Scorsese, and played Spider-Man. Yet nothing in Andrew Garfield’s remarkable career so far can prepare us for the range of talent displayed in three upcoming movies: Mainstream, tick, tick…BOOM! and The Eyes Of Tammy Faye…

10+ mins read
Total Film
October 2021

ROMEO + JULIET

Back in October 1996, Baz Luhrmann presented his latest film to journalists – an audacious, modern take on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. Filmed in Mexico during extreme weather (and with crew kidnappings!), it starred 22-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio and a teenage Claire Danes as the titular star-crossed lovers, and had yet to be seen, let alone embraced, by audiences. As it celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, Total Film looks back to the eve of its premiere (just as DiCaprio began work on Titanic) when the trio discussed language, love and lots of water...

7 mins read
Total Film
October 2021

GANGSTER'S PARADIGM

With prequel movie The Many Saints Of Newark about to hit cinemas, Total Film pays respect to modern TV classic THE SOPRANOS, and how a hit show changed the mob genre, long-form storytelling and audience expectations forever.

8 mins read
Total Film
October 2021

THE BITE STUFF

DRACULA has been terrifying readers ever since Bram Stoker first created the ultimate vampire. As Bela Lugosi’s screen turn as the bloodsucker celebrates its 90th birthday, Total Film examines the appeal of one of horror’s most enduring icons.

8 mins read
Total Film
October 2021

Riding High

THE HARDER THEY FALL. Jeymes Samuel spotlights the forgotten faces of the American West…

4 mins read
Total Film
October 2021

DOUBLE JEOPARDY

Two young women with big dreams discover that London can be the stuff of nightmares in Edgar Wright’s disturbing, dazzling Last Night In Soho. Total Film cowers on set as Wright terrorises Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy in the horror event of the year.

10+ mins read
Total Film
October 2021

FINE PRINT

SET AROUND A FICTIONAL MAGAZINE, WES ANDERSON’S COMIC ANTHOLOGY THE FRENCH DISPATCH IS A TRIBUTE TO BOTH A BYGONE ERA AND THE WRITTEN WORD. TOTAL FILM LISTENS UP AS THE CAST AND CREW GIVE THE LOW-DOWN ON THE DIRECTOR’S MOST AMBITIOUS MOVIE YET.

10+ mins read
Total Film
October 2021

MAJORS' LEAGUE

AFTER CONSISTENTLY IMPRESSING IN POWERHOUSE DRAMAS, JONATHAN MAJORS IS GEARING UP FOR WORLD DOMINATION IN THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE AND CREED III. AHEAD OF THE RELEASE OF REVISIONIST WESTERN THE HARDER THEY FALL, TOTAL FILM MEETS THE EFFORTLESS CHARISMATIC MEGASTAR-IN-WAITING.

8 mins read
Total Film
October 2021

10 IMMORTAL HEROES 7,000 YEARS ONE OSCAR WINNING DIRECTOR MARVEL'S BOLDEST MOVIE YET

THE NEXT MOVIE IN MARVEL’S PHASE 4, ETERNALS IS SET TO BE MARVEL’S BIGGEST S W I N G Y E T . COMBINING MILLENNIA-SPANNING SWEEP WITH INDIE SENSIBILITIES AND ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING ENSEMBLES YET ASSEMBLED FOR A SUPERHERO FILM, CHLOÉ ZHAO’S SUPER-FAMILY EPIC COULD CHANGE THE COMIC-BOOK MOVIE LANDSCAPE FOREVER.

10+ mins read
Total Film
October 2021
RELATED STORIES

WARREN BEATTY TURNS THE CORNER!

HOLLYWOOD legend Warren Beatty looked more codger than Casanova during a rare public appearance late last month, sparking fears the “Shampoo” stud may be circling the drain, sources dished.

1 min read
National Enquirer
October 18, 2021

MEG RYAN I WANT A REGULAR GUY!

Not Her Type The actress has turned down rocker John Mellencamp's offer to rekindle their romance.

1 min read
Star
October 11, 2021

Don't Give Up on Small-Cap Stocks

STREET SMART

5 mins read
Kiplinger's Personal Finance
November 2021

MATT LAUER: READY TO WED?

THE DISGRACED FORMER TODAY COHOST HAS BEEN LAYING LOW. NOW HE’S READY FOR A REBOOT.

2 mins read
Star
September 20, 2021

Adele & Rich - READY TO WED!

Rumor has it the Grammy winneris getting hitched again.

1 min read
Star
August 23, 2021

Where to Invest Now

AFTER A POWERFUL START, STOCKS WILL GRIND HIGHER IN THE SECOND HALF OF 2021. BUT WATCH OUT FOR CURVEBALLS.

10+ mins read
Kiplinger's Personal Finance
July 2021

School's Out

Why Black parents aren’t joining the rush to send their kids back to class

8 mins read
Mother Jones
May/June 2021

Finance – The Dogestock Generation

Get-rich-quick trading is partly about entertainment, but it’s having a very real impact on markets

5 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 17, 2021

THE HAMPTONS' BIGGEST LOSER

This used to be his playground! Matt Lauer was a fixture in the tony Hamptons area of New York’s Long Island, summering with then-wife Annette at their $44.8 million waterfront estate.

1 min read
Star
May 17, 2021

CRAZY LUCK NEW BAG RECORDS

Russell Gordon grew up in Ypsilanti, Michigan west of Detroit, Michigan. Russell was the oldest of 6 children raised by his single mother.

4 mins read
The Boss Mann
April 2021