The documentary reunites Springsteen with Thom Zimny, his longtime filmmaking partner. Zimny takes solo credit on the new film after sharing directorial reins with the musician on their previous joint effort, “Western Stars,” a rendering of a concert performance of the album of the same name that debuted with a theatrical run last year. Their most celebrated teaming remains “Springsteen on Broadway,” a filming of Springsteen’s legit one-man show that went to Netflix in 2018.
The new film captures Springsteen at work with the E Street Band in a tight time frame as they recorded “Letter to You.” It’s being described as the first time the singer has worked with his veteran band in a mostly “live in the studio” way since 1984’s “Born in the USA,” although the E Streeters have showed up on a number of Springsteen’s 21st century albums. While press materials describe the new movie as “verité,” it looks to have at least as much performance footage as observed behind-the-scenes moments, as the film is said to include “final-take performances of 10 originals from the new record.”
Familiar names show up in the film credits as well as band lineup, with Jon Landau producing alongside Zimny and Barbara Carr listed as co-producer. Springsteen takes an executive producer credit.
Zimny has taken on ambitious music-movie assignments outside the Springsteen fold in recent years, like last year’s “The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash” and the HBO doc “Elvis Presley: The Searcher” in 2018. The former editor’s filmography as a director leans heavy on shorts and making-of documentaries with Springsteen, however, dating back to a “Born to Run” doc in 2005.