BETA Welcome to the new version of Promonews. Your feedback will help us to improve it.

Promo News - 7th Feb 2017

More than three decades after Godley & Creme made one of the defining music videos of the 1980s, Kevin Godley has done it all again. The same conceptual simplicity, with a sizeable cast of extras of all shapes, sizes and ages. Only this time, including Benedict Cumberbatch (above).

So we asked Kevin - what was it like remaking the amazing video for Cry for Elbow's new single Gentle Storm? Wasn't it a little bit strange? Was it much easier this time around to pull off, considering the huge leaps in technology? Did they move on from keeping the actors' heads straight with a saucepan?

As Kevin (below left, with Elbow's Guy Garvey, right, and cast member 16 year old Oscar Boulter, centre) explains here, they certainly did...

KEVIN GODLEY:  Is it possible for a job to be easy and difficult at the same time? Yes, it is. When Guy Garvey called me and said: 'Would you consider recreating the Cry video for our new song Gentle Storm?' I was a bit puzzled. Why would he want something that was already out there?

Then I realised that ‘out there’ really meant 'out there since 1985', and a whole generation or three wouldn’t have seen the original, or have a clue who Godley & Creme were. So to a world of millennials it would probably be “who the fuck?”...

So why the fuck not?

It was a different song with a different tempo and feel, that’s why not. Where Cry loped, Gentle Storm clattered, where Cry relied on simple pop lyrics, Gentle Storm was full of poetic truths. So yes, everything was different yet somehow the same, and I could see how the film we conjured up all those years back might resonate with Guy.

So, after some thigh-slappingly funny phone conversations and texts, I said 'yes' and began casting. This time out, thank fuck, potential cast could video themselves miming the song and send us clips to prove how good or bad they were. Last time we sent everyone audio cassettes of the song and hoped they’d get it right on the day. Most didn’t.

One major bonus was finding out that Benedict Cumberbatch was up for appearing in it. Needless to say we didn’t ask for a video to check his miming.

Come the day of the shoot the studio was full of people waiting their turn like it was a doctor’s surgery, and second in line was Benedict on a strict one hour time slot. We’d never met before so I had no idea what to expect. Was he a snotty superstar with a million PAs in attendance? Nope! He was a lovely down-to-earth man, an enthusiastic music fan, and (luckily) an admirer of the original Cry video. We did two takes with him, both flawless, except for the stray ‘and’ towards the end of the song that tended to screw everyone up.

"Needless to say we didn’t ask Benedict for a video to check his miming."

After Benedict set the benchmark everyone who followed nailed it in two takes. That includes Craig, Mark and Pete of Elbow, who trained in from Manchester, Guy’s wife Rachael Stirling and brother Marcus, both accomplished actors. They were all extraordinary to work with and had that classic, no bullshit northern sense of humour that set the tone for the day.

I didn’t really have to direct anyone - they all became suitably themselves as soon as the camera rolled. Everything felt real, nothing felt forced and there were no fuck ups, no tantrums and no 35mm gates to check as we shot on 4K res digital video. In fact the only difference between this shoot and Cry was the major technological advance of steadying people’s heads with a sink-plunger instead of a saucepan.

"The only difference between this shoot and Cry was the major technological advance of steadying people’s heads with a sink-plunger instead of a saucepan."

A few days later I was editing in Ireland with Eoin McDonagh and Eugene McCrystal and finding my way around the differences in feel and tempo. Were transitions too slow, too fast, too many? How often do we feature Guy and the band, Benedict, Rachael, Marcus, me? Yes, me. At Guy’s request, I did a take too, and appear briefly on the stray ‘and.’

Our first cut was considered a little fast by all back in London, so we tried to slow it down a little. Tricky, as there were many editorial factors in play that suggested a pacier approach, so a lot of head scratching ensued...and then it was Christmas.

After hibernation we reconvened, refreshed and full of ideas on how to tweak the cut into line with band, management and label suggestions. We didn’t over analyse it, we just did it, submitted it and, after 24 hours of serious nailbiting we got a call saying we’d nailed it.

My thanks to Guy, Craig, Mark and Pete, Benedict, Lucy Nolan (my peerless producer at Smash) Bruce Jackson (DOP), video commissioner Emily Tedrake, the cast, the crew, the studio, editorial team Eoin & Eugene and the sink-plunger. 

Promo News - 7th Feb 2017

Related Content


Ruthless Cuts: Coldplay 'Everglow' by Joe Connor

Here's the latest Ruthless Cuts, Cut+Run's excellent Behind The Video series premiering here once again on Promonews. And this time RC's Sophia Melvin talks to Joe Connor about his …

David Knight - 4th Oct 2017


Q&A: Georgia Hudson on making P!nk's What About Us

In a relatively short space of time, Georgia Hudson has gone from low budget music videos to being a directorial force to be reckoned with in both the music and commercial worlds. With huge names …

Luke Bather - 5th Sept 2017

Latest Videos


Lay 'Sheep (Alan Walker Relift)' by Kristian Berg

Norwegian producer and rising EDM star Alan Walker worked for months with the Chinese superstar Lay, of popular South Korean-Chinese group EXO, to remix Lay’s original track Sheep, …

Lassamie Prasimay - 4 hours ago


Jorja Smith 'On Your Own' by Rashid Babiker

This superb video for Jorja Smith presents the artist and her song On Your Own inside a beautifully designed picture book, discovered in a young woman's bedroom, that comes to life. Rashid …

David Knight - 6 hours ago


Tobi Sunmola 'Be My Lover' by Luke Logan

Luke Logan's stylish video for Tobi Sunmola - his third collaboration with the artist - places the performance in an incongrous location and then lets nature take its course. Sunmola gets …

Promo News - 13 hours ago


Sisterhood 'Anthem - Ooh Child' by Kathryn Ferguson

Just in time for the International Day of the Girl comes this joyful burst of positivity from a new visual project by the American organisation Girls Who Code, whose mission is to …

David Knight - 3 days ago