David Byrne says it’s “surprising” how many people still support Donald Trump

"You just go, ‘Wow, the country I’m living in isn’t the country I thought it was'"

David Byrne has opened up about the recent US election result in a new interview.

Speaking to The Independent, Byrne was asked if he could have ever imagined the political events of the last five years, particularly in the US. “To be honest, no,” Byrne replied, before speaking about the recent presidential elections.

He continued: “We’ve all had our dystopian fantasies of what could go wrong, and there’s plenty of books and TV shows that represent that. But then to see this happen…Trump was not a surprise. He is what he is. What is surprising is how many people still support him,” Bryne said, referring to the amount of support Trump has post-election.

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He went on: “When you see the coronavirus exploding across the United States, and how many dead there are, and how many people just don’t care about that or think it’s a conspiracy, you just go, ‘Wow, the country I’m living in isn’t the country I thought it was.’”

David Byrne
David Byrne and Spike Lee. CREDIT: BFI

Elsewhere in the interview, Byrne also spoke about his work with Spike Lee on the film version of American Utopia.

Speaking about choosing Lee as a director for the project, Byrne said: “I guess that’s the advantage of being a well-known person…I had his phone number so I could just text him.”

He also spoke about the challenge of brining the live show to the screen. “Like, how do you capture the energy of a live show like this, and also make it in a way that’s true to what a film can be?”

Speaking of Lee’s work, Byrne said: “There’s a lot going on visually. Other than a few little interventions, he didn’t really change the show at all.”

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The filmed version of Byrne’s smash-hit Broadway show premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, and then screened at London Film Festival back in October.

Universal will be releasing American Utopia on VOD services and on DVD from December 14, in light of the coronavirus restrictions facing cinemas at the moment.

In a five-star review of the filmed production of American Utopia, NME said: “It’s a rare concert film that packs in brilliant music, incredible visuals, a vital political message and jokes – but this is one of them.”

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