David Knight - 12th Mar 2014

Belgian directing duo Norman Bates have created a video for singer-songwriter Milow's We Must Be Crazy that sends a shiver down the spine while simultaneously tugging at the heartstrings. 

Norman Bates call it "a cinematic retro-futuristic spin on the classic Pinocchio story", in which a young couple deal with the grief at the loss of their baby in an extraordinary way. The unlikely replacement for their emotional attachment becomes increasingly plausible. - and for that much credit must go to British animatronics wizard Chris Clarke, as well as the directors. He built the highly convincing robot baby in the video. And then Norman Bates take the story to its logical conclusion, far in the future... 

How long did it take Chris Clarke to make that? Did he make it specifically for the video? 

Pretty early on in the process we knew that the quality of the animatronic baby would be that thing that would make or break the film, so prior to finishing the final draft of the script we contacted animatronic artists to see how we would do it.

We realised that the people from Millennium Fx in London were the specialists in the field, but they only had a robotic baby with skin. So we asked animatronic artist Chris Clarke to build the skinless robot baby from scratch, specially to this film. He is a genius, we have to say. Chris is quite famous in the industry and he worked with Steven Spielberg on War Horse, so we knew that we were in good hands. 

Unfortunately we didn’t have the same budget as Mr Spielberg but we tried to charm Chris with our script and it worked. He really helped us to bring the baby creature to a higher level. He made the robot move realistically by giving it some features that we know from newborn babies: an unstable head, arm movements, etc. 

The moment the animatronic baby appeared on set, everybody was so quiet as you would be when a real baby is on set. The detail in the expressions of this metal creature, was just amazing. It was pure magic to see it move. The baby was puppeteered by a remote control from a distance, but all of us forgot about that. It became real!

Did anyone find it a bit upsetting about having made a robot baby that was so much like a real one?

We were very surprised to see how the film really affects people. Since its release, a couple of days ago,  people are sharing their comments and tell their own stories related to the film on social media. We read some personal stories about people that have lost their own child. The video seems to move people, and the story seems to be recognisable despite its fantasy elements. To us, this is the biggest compliment. The fact that this film grows beyond the expectations of just being a music video, made to accompany a song. It becomes something more and that is something we really like.


DirectorNorman Bates
ProducerThomas Anthoni
EditorGert Van Berckelaer
Director of PhotographyBjorn Charpentier
Production CompanyLovo Films
Art DirectorJef Peremans
Art DirectorJacques Van Loock
Lead actorLaura Verlinden, Joren Seldeslachts, Lut Tomsin, Francois Beukelaers
ColouristOlivier Ogneux
LabelHomerun Records
Executive ProducerChou-Jung Kuo
1st ADSoraya Verbeke
Focus PullerHannes Bruyneel
2nd ACBryan Moors
2nd ACNiels Vermeylen
GafferPeter van den Bosch
WardrobeMelissa Fellahi
Make-upLili Dang-Vu
Editing companyMontagewinkel
Grading companyNozon, Brussels
Model makerChris Clarke

David Knight - 12th Mar 2014

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