The trailer for the brand new documentary about the Bee Gees – How Can You Mend A Broken Heart – has landed and it’s a doozie. It should be too because irrespective of the subject matter, the people behind the doco have one of the most eye-popping resumes in the industry with production credits on everything from Back To The Future to Raiders Of The Lost Ark, from The Color Purple to The Sixth Sense, and from Jurassic World to the Bourne franchise. And that’s just for the doco’s director Frank Marshall.
Producer Nigel Sinclair of White Horse Pictures has an equally impressive backstory, having overseen multi-award-winning documentaries like Martin Scorcese’s No Direction Home (Bob Dylan) , Ron Howard’s Eight Days A Week (the Beatles) and acclaimed films like The Quiet American, Rush, The Ides Of March among countless others.
So yes, they know what they’re doing. But the subject matter – Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb – is not merely “irrespective”. Indeed, the subject matter couldn’t be more deserving of the best in the business honouring them with a film that not only does the remarkable legacy of the Bee Gees justice, but extends it even further. And that’s what Frank and Nigel have done, alongside their team, including producers Jeanne Elfant Festa and Mark Monroe and supervising producer Aly Parker.
This is where I come in. It was a pinch-me kind of moment to be sitting in an office in Beverly Hills back in February 2018 with people whose films have won both Oscars and Grammys and discussing the subtleties, intricacies and mysterious magic of the brothers Gibb. I’d been enlisted by White Horse Pictures (at the suggestion of Barry Gibb’s manager Dick Ashby) to be an advisor on a then yet-to-be announced documentary about my biggest musical heroes, the Bee Gees.
Are you kidding me!? This was dream come true stuff right there and meeting Nigel, Jeanne and Aly – and in the entertainment epicentre of the globe no-less, was, it’s fair to say, extremely exciting. I remember Nigel dropping me off at a Beverly Hills hotel with a rooftop bar with views across LA after our meeting was over and thinking, “Yes! I could be very happy doing business in LA!” Especially of a Gibb-related nature.
The whole experience has been such a privilege and I can’t wait to see the final cut. As Justin Timberlake says in the doco’s first teaser trailer, “there’s nothing else to say about the Bee Gees except that they’re f**kin’ awesome”. Justin is both so wonderfully and succinctly right, as well as – far less importantly – a tiny bit wrong. As in, they’re awesomeness is so overwhelmingly awesome that yes, they’re “f**kin’ awesome!” But there’s also so much else to say.
As such, the doco is a glorious deep dive into how three brothers born on the Isle Of Man became among the absolute elite of popular songwriters of all time. With 21 different songs to hit US or UK #1, five decades of international top-10 hits, over 220-million album sales, and inductions into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, there’s little the brothers Gibb didn’t achieve.
Despite that, they suffered enormous personal loss and experienced a backlash that’s still unprecedented in popular music history, the driving sociological factors of which are brilliantly scrutinised in the doco. But ultimately, the story of the Bee Gees is one of never, ever giving up. Their talent and their drive was such that time and time again they managed to come back even stronger than before.
Alongside Justin Timberlake, How Can You Mend A Broken Heart features other major names like Eric Clapton, Mark Ronson, Nick Jonas, Chris Martin, Noel Gallagher and Lulu all lining up to give their analysis and express their fan-ship of the Gibbs, as well as key players in the Bee Gees story like Bill Oakes, Blue Weaver, Karl Richardson and Albhy Galuten. Not to mention a certain Barry Alan Crompton Gibb too.
Here’s the trailer and put December 12 in your diary for when How Can You Mend A Broken Heart launches on HBO – cannot wait.
UPDATE NOVEMBER 25:
A new trailer has been released for How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, this one twice as long as the first. At the time of writing it’s already had nearly 2 million views on YouTube. And yes, it’s fair to say it looks goooooooooood. Here it is: