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Years & Years 'Starstruck' by Fred Rowson

Rob Ulitski - 15th Apr 2021

Fred Rowson reunites with Olly Alexander and Years & Years in a thoroughly joyful new video for single Starstruck - choreographed by Sherrie Silver.

It's the band's first release since Alexander’s breakthrough acting role in Russell T Davies’s TV drama It’s A Sin, and marks the return of Rowson to music video after a busy year making commercials and hunkering down to write his first feature film. And the result of their reunion is a delight - an outpouring of impish energy from the band's frontman, who utilises his on-screen charisma to inhabit not one but two versions of himself.

Shot in the Hotel Café Royal in Piccadilly Circus in London - a gorgeously luxurious location made available as a result of the pandemic - the pyjama and dressing gown-clad Alexander looks uncertainly into one of its many ornate mirrors, and then finds himself facing a seriously adoring fan - his own döppelgänger.        

The entire video is the interplay between the two Ollys, masterfully shot and made cartoonishly entertaining by the choreography by Sherrie Silver, the Rwandan-born choreographer and dancer who shot to fame when she worked with Donald Glover on the video for Chilish Gambino's This Is America, and other projects.

DoP Jaime Feliu-Torres makes full use of the lavish location, with silky-smooth Steadicam work throughout - especially in challenging scenarios, including multiple chase scenes - and the art direction and styling feel perfectly fitting, with an opulent yet contemporary spin. 

In short, this is a wonderfully charming comeback for Alexander, who has the zesty energy of a newcomer, balanced with the experience of an industry pro - and also for Fred Rowson, quite possibly the UK's best dressed music video director...

FRED ROWSON:

"Knowing that It's A Sin was soon to be released, but not knowing the massive impact it would have, Olly was clearly keen to create something totally different to what came before. Like the music, it represents all the things that we missed in 2020 - colour, joy, energy, comedy.

It represents all the things that we missed in 2020 - colour, joy, energy, comedy.

"This is light years away from the world that we created for Palo Santo on the last album, and all the better for it. We assembled an incredible team to bring Olly's vision to life, and I had my own starstruck moment when choreographer Sherrie Silver came on board. I've been desperate to work with her for years, and she did not disappoint; her wild, inspired ideas elevated the concept at every turn. She, Olly and I became like a three-headed monster, all adding jokes, dance moves and suggestions for shots.

"This kind of atmosphere attracts the best crew, and we were blessed with an amazing team, who pulled this off on a crazily tight schedule. Huge love to everyone at Blink, and on the production, who gave us the means to create something wild. I can't wait to see where Years & Years go next."

Sherrie, Olly and I became like a three-headed monster...

LAURA NORTHOVER (EXECUTIVE PRODUCER):

"Fred is a joy to work with. He’s a meticulous planner and fosters a uniquely collaborative environment when making a music video.

"I’m super pleased he’s back in the music video game because I missed him when he was annoyingly focussed on a feature and all of those commercials."

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Rob Ulitski - 15th Apr 2021

Tags

  • Director's notes
  • Pop
  • Hotel Cafe Royal
  • Doppelgänger
  • Pyjamas
  • Contemporary
  • Lavish
  • Opulent

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Credits

Production/Creative

Director
Fred Rowson
Producer
Rosie Brear
Production Company
Executive Producer
Paul Weston
Executive Producer
Laura Northover
Production Manager
Rachel Bashford
1st AD
Andrew Potter

Camera

Director of Photography
Jaime Feliu-torres
Focus Puller
Anil Duru
Steadicam
Richard Lewis

Lighting/Grip

Gaffer
Julian White

Art

Art Director
Jennifer Gardiner

Choreography

Choreographer
Sherrie Silver

Editorial

Editor
Samuel Marr

Grading

Colourist
Richard Fearon

VFX

Post production company
Black Kite Studios
Post Producer
Tamara Mennell

Commission

Label
Polydor

Misc

Clapper Loader
Marti Guiver

Other credits

Grip Trainee

Moses Ogundeji

DIT

Ollie Hadlow-Martin

Video Playback

Nat Valente

Sparks

Jaime Legge, Beau Gallacher

Set Assistants

Daniel Miles, Lydia Reed

Styling Assistant

Alicia Rodriguez

Body Double

Hugh Wyld

Runners

Miles Lacey, Eleri Stone, Zak Mohammed

Flame Op

Hugo Saunders

Management

Martha Kinn, Michael Smith

Label Rep

Louis Danckwerts

Rob Ulitski - 15th Apr 2021

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