Castle Rock Entertainment has greenlit Spinal Tap II, a sequel to the 1984 rock mockumentary, This Is Spinal Tap, to be its first project after it relaunched its film division last October. Rob Reiner, who made his feature film directorial debut on the iconic original music comedy, is set to return to the series to helm the follow-up, Deadline is reporting.
Reiner will also reprise his role of documentarian Marty DiBergi from the cult classic original movie in the upcoming sequel. The cast for Spinal Tap II will also include the other three main characters from its predecessor, including Michael McKean as the titular band’s lead singer and rhythm guitarist; Harry Shearer as Derek Smalls, the bassist; and Christopher Guest as Nigel Tufnel, the lead guitarist.
The characters are part of Spinal Tap, England’s loudest heavy metal band. The first comedy followed the fictional band members during their American tour.
The news of the Spinal Tap II‘s development comes after the Cannes Film Festival announced the original feature will screen on the beach as part of the Cinema de la Plage sidebar on Wednesday, May 18.
After This Is Spinal Tap was released to critical acclaim in 1984, it was deemed culturally, historically and aesthetically significant by the Library of Congress in 2002. It was also selected for preservation by the National Film Registry.
Castle Rock Entertainment will fully finance Spinal Tap II. CAA Media Finance will handle the upcoming follow-up’s worldwide sales at the Cannes Market next week.
Guest, McKean, Reiner and Shearer will create the story for the new film together. Frank Marshall will produce and Matthew George, Jonathan Fuhrman and Hernan Narea will executive produce the sequel, on behalf of Castle Rock.
During an interview with Deadline, Reiner revealed his ambition for Spinal Tap II: “The plan is to do a sequel that comes out on the 40th anniversary of the original film and I can tell you hardly a day goes by without someone saying, why don’t you do another one? For so many years, we said, ‘nah.’
“It wasn’t until we came up with the right idea how to do this. 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,” the filmmaker added.
Guest, McKean and Shearer wrote the music and lyrics, and Reiner assisted in developing some of the songs, for the original comedy, including Smell the Glove, Hell Hole, Big Bottom and Lick My Love Pump. In the past, the trio has toured as the band, though not recently.
“They’ve played Albert Hall, Wembley Stadium, all over the country and in Europe,” Reiner also said during the interview. “They haven’t spent any time together recently, and that became the premise.
“The idea was that Ian Faith, who was their manager, 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,” the director also revealed. “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.”
“Hopefully there will be some guest artists,” Reiner also stated. “The thing I’ve heard from so many bands and we’re talking about possibly doing a couple books, but one will be Tap Moments that real bands have had. Like in the movie, they get stoned and can’t find the stage, that happened to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
“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,” the filmmaker continued. “We’ve had a lot of bands share their experiences and so hopefully we’ll include some of that in the film.”
In addition to helming and co-writing Spinal Tap II, Reiner will also reprise his role as the helmer who filmed the band in the first feature. “I’m back playing Marty DiBergi. The band was upset with the first film [Marty created]. 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..drop everything to document this final concert.”
The follow-up will be released March, 19 2024, in honor of the original comedy’s 40th anniversary; This Is Spinal Tap debuted on March 2, 1984.