Get those lighters out and get ready to shake those big bottoms, because Spinal Tap is coming back out for an encore. On Thursday, Director Rob Reiner confirmed to Deadline that the beloved 1984 cult classic This Is Spinal Tap will return for a sequel on May 19th, 2024 to mark the film’s 40th anniversary.
On tap for Spinal Tap II are Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, Michael McKean, and Reiner himself who will all reprise their respective roles as Nigel Tufnel, Derek Smalls, David St. Hubbins, and director Marty DiBergi, as well as write the script. In anticipation of the sequel, Cannes Film Festival announced that it will screen the original as part of the Cinema de la Plage sidebar on Wednesday, May 18th. The sequel will serve as a re-launch for the film division of Reiner’s company, Castle Rock Entertainment.
“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?” Reiner, who made his directorial debut with This Is Spinal Tap, told Deadline. “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.”
Spinal Tap has toured sporadically through the years, though not recently. Derek Smalls has made some memorable appearances over the past few years, including a guest sit-in with Snarky Puppy at a Jazz Fest late night in 2016, as well as hosting a surprise solo show during Snarky Puppy’s GroundUp festival the following year.
“They’ve played Albert Hall, played Wembley Stadium, all over the country and in Europe,” Reiner said. “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 band’s now-iconic stage antics, backstage drama, and saucy licks have inspired generations of new musicians who Reiner said may make guest appearances in the new film.
“Hopefully there will be some guest artists,” Reiner said. “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 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&Ms. 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 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.”
As far as the plot goes, Spinal Tap II will see the band members confronting director Marty DiBergi over what they deemed an unflattering depiction of them.
“I’m back playing Marty DiBergi,” he said. “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.”
This time around, audiences will likely be more prepared for Reiner’s groundbreaking mockumentary style of tongue-in-cheek filmmaking, more so than when the film debuted in 1984.
“You have no idea what’s going to happen and the first time we screened in Dallas, they didn’t know what the hell it was,” Reiner said. “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? I said, it’s satire and I would explain, but it took awhile for people to catch up to it. Now, it’s in the National Film Registry.”