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Annette - What We Know So Far

Sparks, the band whose only core members are brothers Russell and Ron Mael, is having a moment. Their latest album — "A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip" — charted on the Billboard 200, something the band hasn't done since the '80s. Cornetto Trilogy director Edgar Wright made a documentary about their extensive body of work, "The Sparks Brothers." And now, they have a film coming out! "Annette" is third in a long list of would-be Sparks movies, and the first to make it to theaters.

"Annette" is a collaboration between the Mael brothers and French director Leos Carax. It will be the first English-language film in his career. Carax is perhaps best known in America for his 2012 film "Holy Motors." "Annette" is a musical, co-written by the Maels and Carax. The first single from the film, "So May We Start," came out in May of 2021. Here's everything we know about "Annette" so far.

When is Annette coming out?

According to Deadline, "Annette" is debuting at the opening night of the 74th annual Cannes Film Festival on July 6, 2021. After that, it will come to America in limited release in August. After its theatrical run, "Annette" will debut on Amazon Prime on August 20, 2021. Irish and British streaming rights have been acquired by MUBI.

The development process for "Annette" has been long and oft-delayed. As discussed in "The Sparks Brothers," Sparks has had multiple film projects almost get off the ground, only for them to come to nothing. In the late '70s and early '80s, the band worked on a film with legendary French comic director Jacques Tati. It would have been his final M. Hulot film. Unfortunately, Tati was in too poor of health to film the project. In the '90s, the Mael brothers almost made an adaptation of the manga "Mai, the Psychic Girl" with "Edward Scissorhands" director Tim Burton. According to Vulture, Burton lost interest, which soured the group on ever making a movie. Until now.

Who is in the cast of Annette?

"Annette" stars Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard as Henry and Ann. This is Driver's third high-profile movie in which he sings. He plays a sing-shouting folkie in "Inside Llewyn Davis," and breaks out into some Sondheim in "Marriage Story." Cotillard broke in her native France in 1998's "Taxi," which was remade in America with Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah. She is perhaps best known in America for her collaborations with Christopher Nolan in "Inception" and "The Dark Knight Rises."

When news of "Annette" first broke in 2016, per Variety, Rooney Mara and Rihanna were attached to star. Filming was delayed, however, due to Driver's "Star Wars" commitments. Mara was replaced with Michelle Williams (via The Film Stage), then with Cotillard.

"Annette" also stars "The Big Bang Theory" actor Simon Helberg. Both Mael brothers can be spotted in the trailer. Ron Mael has always been a key feature of Sparks' look, with his mute countenance and weird mustache. Ron used to have a bottlebrush mustache, ala Charlie Chaplin (or Adolf Hitler), but now it's a John Waters-style pencil-thin number. In the Sparks documentary, Simon Pegg dramatizes the story of John Lennon calling Ringo Starr after seeing Sparks on British TV and saying, "Turn on the telly. Hitler is playing with [T-Rex frontman] Marc Bolan."

What is the plot of Annette?

Per Deadline, "Annette" is about a celebrity couple: Henry, a provocative stand-up comic, and Ann, a world-famous operatic soprano. In modern-day Los Angeles, Henry and Ann's lives change forever when they have their first child, Annette, "a mysterious girl with an exceptional destiny."

The film's single, "So May We Start" also gives some hints to the movie's plot and themes. First of all, it shows that the trademark Sparks dry wit and humor is intact. "The authors are here and they're a little vain," they sing. "So May We Start" is sung from the perspective of performers who aren't sure if they have a private inner life or not. They can't tell if the stage is "outside" or "within," nor can you, the audience. The song also implies that some people are going to die and or kill in the film and that the movie will vibe in a "minor key."