Olivia Wilde Just Directed an Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros Music Video, and She's Sharing a Glimpse Behind the Scenes With Us
“Alex was standing on the bar with his shirt off. He was covered in glitter, and I thought, ‘Who is this force of nature?'” recalls Olivia Wilde of her 2003 chance encounter in Manhattan’s Lower East Side with Alex Ebert, the lead singer and brilliant driving force behind the indie folk band Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. “I knew in that moment this is someone I want to collaborate with.”
Over a decade later, Wilde, who is celebrating her 32nd birthday today, has gotten her wish, with the debut of the music video she directed for “No Love Like Yours,” off the band’s new album, PersonA (out April 15).
Using only iPhones (“The iPhone’s at a place where we really could shoot something brilliant on it,” says Wilde), the second-time director (check out her first-ever directing gig for Glamour!) created what feels much closer to a short film than the videos of the traditional MTV generation. “I found myself liberated by the idea that in this day and age, with the Internet, you can make anything, and it can bridge the gap between film and music video,” she explains.
The film, which depicts Ebert stumbling upon the funeral of his stage persona, Edward Sharpe, was shot in two days in New Orleans, where the band also wrote and recorded the album. Wilde says she was inspired by the city, “What I love about New Orleans is all the celebrations have this kind of undercurrent of darkness, so I wanted to take this very happy song and set it in this world of a funeral.” The idea serendipitously coincided with the new album’s artwork, in which the “Edward Sharpe” name is crossed out. “That was the first of many moments where it was just totally organically jiving,” says Wilde of her collaboration with Ebert, whom she describes as “one of the most creative, brilliant people you’ll ever meet.”
So does this mean she’s giving up acting to pursue a career in directing? Certainly not yet. “Directing makes me a better actor,” Wilde says. “I’ve learned to really trust my instincts.” But that doesn’t mean she’s giving up on directing either. “I love visual storytelling, and I love empowering performers and watching them be brilliant. There’s a way I want to tell stories, and rather than complain that no one else is doing it, I want to try it on my own.” Well, birthday girl, we can’t wait to see what you do next!
Watch Olivia’s latest directing achievement below:
Photos: Portrait of Alex & Olivia: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images & Behind-the-Scenes Photos: Dani Girwood