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News August 20, 2019

Bruce Springsteen ‘Western Stars’ doco set for Australian cinemas

Senior Journalist, B2B
Bruce Springsteen ‘Western Stars’ doco set for Australian cinemas

Bruce Springsteen’s documentary around his Western Stars, country-pop orchestral album from June is due to be screened in Australian cinemas in spring.

It will be part of a global roll-out after the world premiere at September’s Toronto International Film Festival.

Warner Bros picked up distribution, it announced on the weekend.

The Boss, who makes his co-directional debut in the film perform the album’s 13 songs “from start to finish and a few other things” in a 100-year old barn on his property, with a full band and orchestra.

There’ll also be archival footage, and Springsteen narrates, does the original score and executive produces

The Boss first dropped the announcement of the doco in July on SiriusXM’s E Street Radio program, explaining he was working on a number of projects and wouldn’t be going n the road behind the album.

One is to go into the studios with the E-Street Band.

“I knew we weren’t going to tour, so I was looking for a way to get some of the music live to (the) audience, so we figured this was the best way to do it,” he told E Street hosts Dave Marsh and Jim Rotolo.

During the apparently-impromptu 10-minute chat, the star said he had been apprehensive about the response to the Western Stars album – which came after five years and which he reckoned was “a little to the left.”

But he was “excited by the response to the record” and noted it was because he had an open-minded audience.

“We’ve worked hard over the years and we’ve built an audience that really follows me where I need to go.

“And that is something that is so deeply appreciated, by me (and) it’s something that I’m really proud of.

“They’re not stuck in a rut, they don’t only want to hear a specific group of songs. “

Springsteen said he knew that if he kept up the quality of his output, his fans would support “where I want to go.

“That’s the greatest gift an audience can give an artist, and that is, room to be who he is, create what he feels, and know that you have open ears.”


The Western Stars film is co-directed by his long-time visual collaborator Thom Zimny.

He directed the stage and Netflix versions of the award-winning Springsteen On Broadway, and shot the two videos from the current album, for the title track and ‘Tucson Train’.

He also helmed Bruce Springsteen: Hunter of Invisible Game (2014), and picked up a Grammy for Wings on Wheels: The Making of Born to Run (2005).

Zimny noted that in the 20 years he’s worked with Springsteen and his manager Jon Landau, he learned one big lesson: “Come fully prepared, but be ready for changes.”

Warner Bros faced strong competition from Netflix and Amazon for the distribution rights to Western Stars.

But Warner’s New Line studio had clout: it has the rights to Blinded By The Light, a drama about a Pakistani British teenager who finds solace in Springsteen’s music.

It even features an old, unused song that he wrote for a Harry Potter film.

Studio chairman Toby Emmerich said of the upcoming film, “Bruce lives in the super rarified air of artists who have blazed new and important trails deep into their careers.

“With Western Stars, Bruce is pivoting yet again, taking us with him on an emotional and introspective cinematic journey, looking back and looking ahead.

“As one of his many fans for over 40 years, I couldn’t be happier to be a rider on this train with Bruce and Thom.”


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