The long-awaited return of Adele did not disappoint. Releasing her first single since the James Bond theme “Skyfall” three years ago, Adele’s “Hello” has already made history as the first music video shot using IMAX cameras.
But technology isn’t the only reason fans have fallen in love with the video. Directed by Xavier Dolan, the video starsThe Wire star Tristan Mack Wilds as Adele’s ex. So how did he get involved? And what was he saying in the video? EW got on the phone with Wilds to talk about his experience, and what fans can expect from the rest of Adele’s upcoming album.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How’d you get involved? I read about Xavier Dolan reaching out to you on Skype.
TRISTAN MACK WILDS: Yeah, I think initially he reached out, him being a fan of mine and me being a fan of his. It was dope. So as soon as he reached out, I was excited and I wanted to see what he had to talk about and what his thought process was behind it. And once we got on the Skype and he started speaking about it, just his passion behind it and how much he wanted to put into it and the emotions that he wanted to get across sold me. I told him, “If you want me, you got me. I’m completely 100 percent in it.”
Had you heard the song at that point?
At that point, no I hadn’t. He told me it was for Adele, but I didn’t know how we were going to do it or what the song was or anything like that. So by the time we went to Montreal, we all sat down and we talked for a second and then we all played the song and got a chance to get into it a little bit, so it was cool.
Was that the first time you’d met Adele?
Yes, it was the first time I’d met Adele.
What was is like to work with her?
She’s amazing. Usually people are very awestruck, and at first I was — she’s a very, very beautiful young lady — but I think very, very quickly in, she made it easy for everyone to feel at home. It felt like all of us were friends, we were all just on set having fun.
Did she give you any background into your character? I’m curious what that conversation was like.
Not really. A lot of stuff that we did it was Xavier’s brainchild, so a lot of what we did was very much so improvisation. He kind of asked both of us to tap into our own past relationships and feelings and situations that would lead to the emotion coming across the way that it needed to.
So you didn’t have any specific dialogue or anything?
No nothing specific, which I think was amazing. For a while we kind of just sat in a room and talked and he just recorded it. A lot of the stuff that he recorded — our conversations, or questions that he asked, or different times we were laughing or joking around — [he] kind of put that stuff on camera. It was amazing to watch.
And this shoot was super secretive, right?
Were you able to tell anyone?
I think I told my mom and I told my manager that was out in Montreal with me, of course. I couldn’t leave him out in the dark, but I really didn’t want to tell anybody, partly because they asked us not to but another part is because I’m one who likes to see the looks on people’s faces when something big like that happens, so it was pretty dope.
Xavier talked about Adele not considering herself to be an actress. Did you give her any tips?
Not necessarily any tips or anything. I think as much as she says she’s not a good actress or anything, she killed it. She killed it. Her emotion was on point. Xavier made sure that both of us were at A game at all times, so she was amazing. She didn’t need any tips.
How long was that shoot?
We shot for maybe four to five days.
How did she feel about her comeback? Did she seem excited, nervous?
I think she was definitely excited. Nervous as anybody would be, but excited. Artists like Adele or anyone, music to them, it’s kind of like their child. It’s their baby, so I think she was ready to let the world hear it.
Have you heard from her since the video came out?
I haven’t yet, but her team has been in contact with my team and everybody is way too excited. The response has been immense, it’s been crazy, so it’s the greatest feeling ever. It’s an amazing feeling, so not only am I happy, I’m happy for her and Xavier because it’s crazy to see what all of us made with some good energy and some fun.
Could you feel when you were making it that this was something special, that this was going to be big?
It’s crazy, I think the ones that are usually the most successful, the parts or the shows or anything that are the most successful or the most iconic, you don’t necessarily always feel it. It just feels good. It just feels fun and I can honestly say that if that’s the feeling of what it means to be iconic and all of that stuff, then yeah we definitely had that feeling on set. It was just fun. There wasn’t pressure. It was legit us there just having a great time.
Did she play you any additional music from her album?
Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t think I’m allowed to tell.
Can you say what your impression was? Do you think fans will be satisfied?
Oh absolutely, I’ll say that. I think Adele always aims to please. Anyone, if you have a heart, is going to love this album.
Adele’s 25 is due out Nov. 20.