‘Oasis: Supersonic’ director on working with Noel and Liam Gallagher, the likelihood of a band reunion
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LONDON, Oct 29 — As a filmmaker who spent hours interviewing Oasis band members for his doc Oasis: Supersonic, director Mat Whitecross isn’t sure there will be an Oasis reunion, but as a fan who spent the majority of his life listening to their music, he sure hopes there will be one.
“If you grew up in this country in the ‘90s, there is just no way you didn’t know Oasis,” the British director told THR of his personal background with the band. “I had the singles and their poster on my wall. So to meet them, let alone to make a film about them still seems kind of impossible to me.”
“You set being a fan aside real quick, because as a filmmaker you want to do something that feels real,” explained Whitecross of how he navigated being both a life-long fan and an objective documentarian.
Oasis: Supersonic tracks the rise and well-documented fall of the most popular English rock band since the Beatles.
The feature began when lead guitarist and co-lead vocalist Noel Gallagher decided that he wanted to do something to commemorate the band’s 20th anniversary with back-to-back concerts at Knebworth, which both sold out within minutes and are considered one of the biggest moments of the band’s two-decade-long career.
That something turned into a documentary that would be directed by Whitecross and produced by Asif Kapadia, who directed the Oscar-winning music doc Amy.
“If Noel was on board, the immediate question that came up was: What about Liam?” explained Whitecross. “Both [Noel and Liam] said separately, ‘Whatever you need let us know and we will try to be there.’”
Supersonic documents the Wonderwall band’s history, but it also becomes a portrait of brothers Noel and Liam, whose contentious working and personal life have been well-documented and a subject of fascination for fans in England and beyond.
During the height of Oasis’ fame, drunken brawls and onstage temper tantrums were consistently reported by the English media at length. Whitecross explains: “In this country, we have an epidemic of wanting to knock people down when they become big. Whether you are Bono or Coldplay or Oasis, there is this idea that once you are big we want to cut you back down to size.”
The director was surprised by how open the brothers were about talking about their relationship, both in and out of the band, especially given their affinity for hitting each other over the head with objects that range from tambourines to cricket bats.
“By the time we got to the end, both of them said, ‘Look, if you want to come back or need anything more or want to talk about the third album just let me know.’ Liam joked that it was like therapy and that we should carry on the next weeks.”
For Supersonic, Whitecross collected footage from their live shows and the brothers’ friends. He said, “One thing I noticed with the footage that came in was that, yes, there was a lot of bickering, but it was that they both are very funny and you could tell there was a lot of love in the room.”
But when Noel chose to forge the doc’s early October London premiere, Liam took to Twitter to express his irritation with his “shit bag” brother. (Liam is quick to, and often does, voice his displeasure with his brother over social media, often posting pictures of Noel and then referring to him as a “potato”).
Whitecross said the question that is most often asked of the brothers, and now him, is the possibility of a reunion.
“If I have hope for a reunion, it is that people learn to overlook the last few years of the band’s life and try to remember why Oasis was such a phoneme,” he noted.
Whitecross concluded, “Liam, after he is done doing his solo stuff, is keen, and Noel is keen, and if they can engineer a situation where they don’t kill each other, I think they would do it again.”
Oasis: Supersonic is now available on iTunes, on demand and in select theatres. — Bloomberg