Remember that music video that Carly Rae Jepsen put out in 2015 for her single I Really Like You, starring Tom Hanks in a leading lip-synching role?
Toronto band Little Junior certainly does, so much so that they painstakingly remade the video, frame-for-frame.
Sure, the budget was nowhere near that of Jepsen’s, and Schitt’s Creek’s Annie Murphy acts as a stand-in for Tom Hanks (in a rather disturbing mask, mind you), but somehow this video seems far more joyful than the original.
Filmed in one hectic twenty-hour day at The Brandscape studio on Dupont, director Max Parr helped the band piece the video together with more than a little help from their friends (keep your eyes peeled for cameos from fellow musicians such as members of July Talk and Hollerado).
Bonus: all the money made from the song and video will be donated to Youth Line, a youth-led organization providing peer support to the city’s LGBTQ2 community.
“We had to figure out how “shot-for-shot” we could really get it,” said Parr.
“We wouldn’t be able to find city streets in Toronto identical to the ones used in the original video, and we weren’t going to be able to get as many extras.”
“I knew we were going to have to lean in the opposite direction of reality and fully swede the video. This meant shooting everything inside and making all of the city streets and buildings out of foam and cardboard. I’ve worked on a number of ambitious art-heavy videos, but this one was next level.”
Sweding, a term coined by director Michel Gondry, means “to remake something from scratch using whatever you can get your hands on”.
This video does just that, as charming hand-painted set pieces and props take the place of the original New York City locations.
“The band spent many late nights with Marty (MacPherson) in a little garage, building and painting set pieces. Basically while one scene was shot, stuff was being built and painted for the next shot,” said Little Junior fronter Rane Elliott-Armstrong, who dressed in Carly drag for the video.
High fives are in order for Murphy, who sported the prosthetics, courtesy of The Butcher Shop FX, for 18 hours and truly embodied Hanks’ rather awkward performance.
“In the original video Tom Hanks doesn’t fully nail the lip-syncing of the song, so Annie broke down all of his lip movements PHONETICALLY, so she could sync up perfectly with Tom’s performance and not the track,” said Parr.
“After being caked up with Tom’s face, we realized that the articulation of her mouth was very limited and not entirely capable of the complex mouth choreography she had been practicing.”
“That said, I think it still worked out amazing and her limp mouth just adds to the eeriness of her Tom,” said Parr. “We were all convinced her face would no longer be there when the make-up came off.”
“She absolutely slayed her performance, there’s a side-by-side version floating around YouTube and it’s uncanny how similar they are!” said Elliot-Armstrong.
The video has many easter eggs moments, including Parr in the video as one of the Tinder matches, and the book on the bedside table in the opening shot being changed from “The Manly Art of Knitting” to “The Art of Sweding”. And yes, Jepsen’s seen the video.
“(She) saw the video and said she liked it. We screamed when we heard that,” said Elliott-Armstrong. “We are huge fans of Carly Rae, we play her music in our van constantly.”
There’s no knowing how many times Parr and the production team watched the Jepsen version to truly nail the remake, but all that work certainly paid off.
“I’m afraid that every video I make from now on will just unintentionally end up being a remake of CRJ’s “I Really Like You” because it’s the only thing I see now when I close my eyes,” said Parr.