We’ve come to the point in pop culture where even music videos get teasers, but now that we’ve seen the full six-minute video of Arcade Fire’s “We Exist,” we get why they were building buzz.
The emotionally stirring video is “the story of a young person’s struggle with gender identity,” as per the band, and shows Andrew Garfield struggling to get ready for a night out in a small country town. In a scene reminiscent of the more upbeat song “Wig in a Box” from “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” Garfield shaves his head, puts on make-up and a bra, and tries on different clothes before settling on jeans shorts and a midriff-baring shirt before walking through fields to reach a honky tonk bar. A man approaches and they dance briefly before the guy’s friends interrupt and the scene turns ugly.
The video takes a turn for the surreal as Garfield’s character begins to dance freely in a now-empty bar; a group of male dancers join the scene and eventually open a glorious doorway to… Coachella.
We know Coachella is a bit of a sensory overload, but didn’t anyone notice an anonymous person in a white dress and blonde wig joining the band onstage? No? Well, as we saw two weeks ago in a teaser for the band’s song “We Exist,” that was Andrew Garfield. The actor, in a white dress, blonde wig, and the same mask-like eye make-up that Win Butler is sporting, appears in the crowd, heads toward the stage, and dances alongside the band to ecstatic cheers from the (real-live Coachella) audience.
It’s a superb video with a touching performance from Garfield, who first turned heads with his role in 2007’s “Boy A.” Now he’s a web-slinging superstar, but he obviously hasn’t forgotten his dramatic roots.
Gallery | 10 Celebrity Cameos in Concert Films
- Will Smith and Adrian Grenier in ‘Justin Bieber: Never Say Never’
With Jaden Smith joining Justin Bieber on stage for his big Madison Square Garden concert, it was only natural for the guest rapper’s famous father to show up. The “Karate Kid” star even hinted that his parents may helicopter in for the concert. Well, Will Smith does make an on-screen appearance with wife Jada Pinkett-Smith and daughter Willow during a montage sequence before the big event. Also seen are music industry supporters like Drake and Snoop Dogg in addition to a random cameo from “Entourage” star Adrian Grenier.
- Bill and Hillary Clinton in ‘Shine A Light’
Scorsese is no stranger to concert films. In 2008, he directed this documentary of The Rolling Stones performing at NYC’s Beacon Theatre. Consisting of two separate nights (though the film only features performances from the second show), the special concert event was a benefit for the Clinton Foundation. So, it’s not really a surprise that former President Bill Clinton and his many guests — including wife and then-Senator Hillary Clinton — show up on screen.
- Ben Stiller and Jimmy Kimmel in ‘Awesome; I… Shot That!’
In this film of a 2004 Beastie Boys concert at Madison Square Garden, 50 audience members were given camcorders with which to shoot anything they wanted during the show. At least one of these crowd-sourced cinematographers managed to spot comedic actor Ben Stiller singing along to “Shake Your Rump” (he’s at the 1:43 mark). Right before that, a couple that is surely Jimmy Kimmel and then-girlfriend Sarah Silverman are dancing to the same tune. Stiller also appears again, this time with his wife, actress Christine Taylor, during the end credits. “Community” actor Donald Glover, pre-fame and then an NYU student, has also been identified as being an audience member in the film.
- Jane Fonda in ‘No Nukes’
If it’s remembered at all, this 1980 documentary is known for being the first film appearance by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. But it might also be noted for its unsurprising cameo by actress and activist Jane Fonda, who can be seen near the end of the stage at one the movie’s featured anti-nuke concert events. Ralph Nader is there, as well.
- Teri Garr and John Landis in ‘The T.A.M.I. Show’
In this classic concert film, which the Library of Congress recently selected for preservation status on the National Film Registry, actress Teri Garr can be seen in the background of many performances as a go-go dancer (‘80s singer Toni Basil is also one of the dancers). And although this can’t be viewed on screen, future filmmaker John Landis can presumably be heard from the audience. According to the future “Blues Brothers” director, he and fellow 7th grader David Cassidy are apparently there on a field trip with their class.
- Jim Carrey and Jon Hamm in ‘Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop’
Yes, comedy concerts count, and Conan O’Brien’s “The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour” was as big as most of the music-based events on this list. When the tour gets to Los Angeles, a whole ton of actors can be seen in the pre- and after parties, including Ellie Kemper, Craig Robertson, and married sitcom stars Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally. At another point Jon Hamm and his partner, Jennifer Westfeldt, come by O’Brien’s dressing room, though they’re upstaged by the playful roasting of Jack McBrayer from “30 Rock.” And during the show Jim Carrey goes on stage, now ironically, as Kick-Ass, before also joining in the backstage hangout.
- Cary Grant and Sammy Davis Jr. in ‘Elvis: That’s the Way It Is’
Not even the King could avoid the meet-and-greet of a backstage party, as this 1970 concert film proves. Among a number of celebrities we can spot mingling with Elvis are Charo, George Hamilton, a white-haired Cary Grant, who was known to be quite the fan of the King, and Sammy Davis Jr., who had been doing a popular cover of Elvis’s “In the Ghetto.”
- Gwyneth Paltrow in ‘Glee: The 3D Concert Movie’
Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow surprised many a few years ago by slumming it on the small screen and appearing in a few episodes of the “Glee” TV series. But even more surprising was that she reprised her character of substitute teacher Holly Holliday on stage for a live performance of Cee-Lo’s “Forget You” during the Glee concert tour, and that in turn wound up being in the “Glee” movie as an uncredited cameo.
- Aziz Ansari and Donald Glover in ‘Shut Up and Play the Hits’
Two stars of NBC’s Thursday night lineup can be viewed in this 2012 LCD Soundsystem movie, but their appearances are very brief. Blink and you’ll miss the two quick close-ups of “Community” actor Donald Glover (years after his first concert film cameo in “Awesome; I… Shot That”), and squint to notice that’s “Parks and Recreation” funnyman Aziz Ansari crowd-surfing around the 108-minute mark. Both cameos occur during the performance of the song “Yeah.”
- Al Pacino and Kevin Costner in ‘Madonna: Truth or Dare’
Because Madonna was dating Warren Beatty at the time of filming, his casual appearances in this 1991 film aren’t that surprising and maybe don’t technically qualify as a cameo. But the couple’s “Dick Tracy” co-stars, namely Al Pacino and Mandy Patinkin, do. They can be seen very briefly backstage along with Disney exec Jeffrey Katzenberg and music industry celebs including Lionel Ritchie and Olivia Newton-John. The most memorable cameo from that scene, however, is Kevin Costner, who calls the concert “neat.” Madonna turns her back to him and makes a gagging gesture to the camera (he has since forgiven her).
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