Spike Lee-Directed Filmed Version of ‘David Byrne’s American Utopia’ to Premiere on HBO

By J. Kim Murphy

Popular on Variety

HBO will air the filmed version of the Broadway show “David Byrne’s American Utopia,” directed by Spike Lee, later this year.

The announcement was made on Tuesday by HBO’s executive VP of programming Nina Rosenstein.

“‘David Byrne’s American Utopia’ is a uniquely transformative experience and a perfect example of how entertainment can bring us together during these challenging times,” said Rosenstein. “Spike’s brilliant direction adds a level of intimacy to this powerful performance, and we’re so thrilled to share this groundbreaking show with our audience.”

In 2019, Byrne collaborated with 11 other musicians to perform a modified version of his 2018 album “America Utopia,” along with several songs from his previous band, Talking Heads. The production ran at the Hudson Theater, opening on Oct. 20, 2019 and closing on Feb. 16, 2020.

The film also features work from choreographer Annie-B Parson, director of photography Ellen Kuras, production consultant Alex Timbers and editor Adam Gough. Participant, River Road Entertainment and Warner Music Entertainment are executive producing and financing “David Byrne’s American Utopia,” with Participant as lead. The film is produced by David Byrne’s Todomundo and Lee’s Forty Acres and a Mule Filmworks production companies and executive produced by RadicalMedia.

“Spike and I have crossed paths many times over the years, obviously I’m a huge fan and now finally here was an opportunity for us to work together,” said Byrne. “I am absolutely thrilled with the result. The Broadway show was a wonderful challenge as well as an opportunity — it was a joy to perform and, well, best to let the quotes speak for themselves. Thrilled that this show and the subjects it addresses will now reach a wider audience.”

“It is my honor and privilege that my art brother, Mr. David Byrne, asked me to join him in concert, to invite me into his magnificent world of ‘American Utopia,’” Spike Lee stated. “And dat’s da ‘once in a lifetime’ truth, Ruth. Ya-dig? Sho-nuff. Peace and love. Be safe.”