exclusive: watch the first trailer for michael winterbottom’s wolf alice documentary, 'on the road'

Michael Winterbottom directs an intimate look at life on the road for the band Wolf Alice, as they tour Great Britain.

by Matthew Whitehouse
15 August 2017, 9:27am

This article was originally published by i-D UK.

"The music business," Hunter S. Thompson once said, "is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs." It's an industry that's been brought to the big screen many times. There's the good (The Commitments), the very good (Control) and, of course, the not so good (Glitter, anyone?). Where most films fall down is the belief that "life on the road" — that fabled old maxim — is a never ending glamour train of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. Of course, it often is. But there's also boredom, homesickness, and service stations. The sardine crampedness of living on a bus with three other band members, a driver, a tour manager, a sound engineer, a guitar tech, his ever growing sock pile, and whoever else might have blagged along for the night.

Thankfully, if there's one person well placed to capture those minute nuances of everyday life, it's filmmaker Michael Winterbottom. The director has already made forays into music movie making of course; most notably with the definitive, 24 Hour Party People — his 2002 comedy-drama about Manchester's music scene in the 1980s and 1990s. But it's his work as director of the Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon starring film The Trip that makes us most excited for this project — a rockumentary with a difference, one that embeds two actors into an IRL tour by IRL north London four-piece Wolf Alice.

Capturing the band as they take to the UK to promote their debut album, My Love Is Cool, for the very last time, On the Road follows the stories of Estelle (Leah Harvey), an intern with the group's record label, and Joe (James McCardle), a member of the band's imagined road crew, as they strike up an intimate friendship among the bunks. Like The Trip, there's no script to speak of. And as Britain whizzes by the tour bus window, you can't help but feel the film is all the better for it — capturing both the romance and repetition of life on the road, as seen through the eyes of two young people experiencing it for the very first time. Ahead of the film's release next month, we have the exclusive first trailer below.

on the road
Wolf Alice
michael winterbottom