The film features Byrne as an unnamed, cowboy-hat-wearing stranger who visits the fictional Texas town of Virgil, where he observes the citizens as they prepare for the Celebration of Special-ness to mark the sesquicentennial (i.e. 150th) anniversary of the founding of the town and Texas independence from Mexico.
The event is being sponsored by the Varicorp Corporation, a local computer manufacturing plant. Byrne’s narration often breaks the fourth wall, especially while he is driving around town in his Chrysler LeBaron convertible. At other times, sequences are filmed in a documentary style with Byrne’s character as host.
True Stories is a 1986 American film that spans the genres of musical, art, and comedy, directed by and starring David Byrne of the band Talking Heads. It co-stars John Goodman, Swoosie Kurtz, and Spalding Gray. Byrne has described the film as, “A project with songs based on true stories from tabloid newspapers. It’s like 60 Minutes on acid.”
True Stories was released by Warner Bros. in the United States, Canada, Italy, and Sweden in 1986, with limited release elsewhere the following year. Byrne was given much creative control over the motion picture’s direction, largely due to the mainstream success of Talking Heads’ 1984 concert film, Stop Making Sense.
The majority of the film’s music is supplied by Talking Heads. A soundtrack album, titled Sounds From True Stories, featured songs by Byrne, Talking Heads, and Terry Allen & The Panhandle Mystery Band, among others. Around the same time, Talking Heads released an album, titled True Stories, which included the band’s versions of songs featured in the film.
True Stories (1986)
Directed by: David Byrne
Starring: David Byrne, John Goodman, Annie McEnroe, Jo Harvey Allen, Spalding Gray, Alix Elias, Roebuck ‘Pops’ Staples, Swoosie Kurtz, Evelyn Box, Amy Buffington
Screenplay by: David Byrne, Beth Henley
Production Design by: Barbara Ling
Cinematography by: Edward Lachman
Film Editing by: Caroline Biggerstaff
Costume Design by: Elizabeth McBride
Music by: David Byrne
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: October 10, 1986