Few films have shaped metal lexicon like This Is Spinal Tap. From "none more black" to "this one goes to 11", the film is both a loving tribute and withering putdown of heavy metal, everything from its larger-than-life stage decorations (in concept, at least) to the po-faced attitudes of 70s and 80s metal musicians dialled up to ludicrous proportions.
And as announced earlier this year, heavy metal's most ridiculous movie is getting a sequel. Planned to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the original film, Spinal Tap II will reunite David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean), Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest) and Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer) for the first time since the trio performed an acoustic set at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.
Also returning is director Rob Reiner - who also starred in the original movie as mockumentarian Marty DiBergi. “Nobody told us to do anything [on the first film]. And that’s the thing that I’m worried about this next one. We hired this Marty DiBergi to come back and do this movie – he could cock it up!” he told Total Film, tongue firmly in cheek.
Reiner also admitted that he had been approached numerous times over the years to create a sequel: "We’d always say, ‘No, no'. Then we had an idea, and we said, ‘Well, maybe we could do it...’”
Story-wise, the sequel is built around the concept of Spinal Tap being forced to reunite years after a bitter split to play one last show as part of a contractual obligation following the death of their long-suffering manager, Ian Faith - originally played by actor Tony Hendra, who sadly passed away in March 2021.
As with the similarly belated sequel to Borat, Spinal Tap II will also deal with the fallout of the original movie, the band apparently not being too happy with Marty for his depiction of their disastrous American tour. “This is a chance for [Marty] to redeem himself," as Reiner puts it.
With over seven hours of footage shot for the first film based on a four-page outline, the sequel promises to have an equally ambitious - and freewheeling - approach, with McKean, Guest and Shearer improvising throughout.
Reiner remained tight-lipped on whether a new Spinal Tap movie means new songs, however, telling Total Film: “I don’t know. Marty’s got a hook into that. Well, maybe he doesn’t even know, because he hasn’t started making it yet. You’d have to ask the band!”
Spinal Tap II is expected 19 March 2024. For more film stories and news, visit the Total Film website.