Entertainment behind the scenes
Spinal Tap visits real Stonehenge, gives film joke new life
After years of adulation over the hilarity of their genre-spawning rockumentary This is Spinal Tap, screenwriter Christopher Guest and the other actors of the much-loved spoof band Spinal Tap decided it was time to pay a visit to the prehistoric monument behind one of the hit movie’s funniest scenes – Stonehenge.
News of the visit comes courtesy of Canadian indie rock outfit Metric, who, like Spinal Tap, were fresh off a performance at Britain’s Glastonbury music festival when they made a pit stop to check out the landmark.
Upon arriving at the monument, Metric frontwoman Emily Haines and her bandmates were disappointed to find the entrance closed. But as she recounts on her band’s blog, their sightseeing detour was about to get a lot more exciting.
“We were staring at the stones through the fence and halfheartedly watching various generic families wander toward their cars when Joules said the words we will remember forever: ‘Um, guys, that’s . . . Spinal Tap!”
The irony drenched Rob Reiner-directed “This is Spinal Tap,” which apes a documentary film style, follows a fictionalized heavy metal band as it blunders its way through one career misstep after another. Most notably, in one scene the band unveils a stage prop modeled on Stonehenge during a concert, only to find out at that moment their set designer had made the model a mere 18 inches tall.
At the real Stonehenge, Haines and her bandmates approached the actors and managed to catch up with their favorite, Harry Shearer, as he and the others were on their way to a nearby parking lot. Shearer even posed for a picture with the group, which you can see on the blog.
“The best part is, it was Spinal Tap’s first trip to Stonehenge as well,” Haines enthuses. “According to Shearer, they were just making their way back to London when they spotted the source of their most memorable joke in the distance and decided, ‘this would be the time to see the full-scale version.’”
Since its original release in 1984, “This is Spinal Tap” has developed a sizeable cult following and influenced other filmmakers looking to document the ups and downs of life in a rock band.
Watch the Stonehenge scene from the film below.