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[…] Earlier this year, though, director Vincent Haycock sent over a video treatment for “Early Days” that caught his eye. “It’s a memory song for me, about me and John in the early days,” McCartney says. “But Vince came up with this great idea: Instead of having young lookalikes of me and John walking the streets of Liverpool, guitars slung over our backs, and literally acting out the song, what if it was any two aspiring musicians? I thought that was such a cool idea.”
Haycock spent a month scouting locations in Natchez, Mississipi, and Faraday, Louisiana, and casting local actors for the video’s main storyline, set in the American South in the 1950s. He also traveled to Los Angeles to film a jam session between McCartney and some special guests. “I happened to ring Johnny Depp,” McCartney says. “I said, ‘Come along and we’ll sit around and jam with these blues guys.’ He said, ‘Yeah, OK, count me in, man.’ I knew it was an offer he couldn’t refuse.” (Other musicians at the session included Roy Gaines, Al Williams, Dale Atkins, Henree Harris, Motown Maurice, Lil Poochie and Misha Lindes; see an exclusive photo from the video shoot below.)
“Early Days” marks the third McCartney video Depp has appeared in, after 2012’s “My Valentine” and 2013’s “Queenie Eye.” “It’s getting to be a running gag,” McCartney says. “He’s like the Alfred Hitchcock of my videos. And he’s good! He used to be a musician before he was an actor, you know. One of his old bandmates actually organized getting me that cigar-box guitar that I played with Dave Grohl on ‘Cut Me Some Slack,’ that we ended up getting a Grammy for. So I knew he could play.” […]
From paulmccartney.com, July 7, 2014:
“The idea was inspired by the chance meeting in 1957 that would change Paul, John, George, and Ringo’s lives forever,” explains LA director Vincent Haycock.
The proposal Vincent wrote for ‘Early Days’ simply begins, “This film is a poetic homage to the legendary beginnings of Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s relationship.”
Expanding on his idea Vincent says, “Their story at its core is a universal one, two young kids who bond over their passion for music and form a band and friendship. This video is about them, and every band, and every kid who has suffered the ups and downs of starting a band, whether or not they became successful. The universality of their story was a big inspiration of setting the film in Mississippi during the 50s. This is a time period that inspired The Beatles – American Rock and Roll and the Mississippi Delta Blues of the 50s. Early Days is about the spirit and inspiration young musicians find in each other.” […]
Vincent has a CV that includes an Emmy nomination in 2004 for designing and directing the main title sequence for the TV shot Nip/Tuck. Since then he’s gone on to work on music videos for artists such as Florence + The Machine, Cheryl Cole and Spiritualized. He has established a unique freeform docudrama-style music promo and in 2012 he won a MTV VMA for Best EDM video for the track ‘Feel So Close’ by British DJ/producer Calvin Harris.
Talking about how he came to be working with Paul he recalls, “I sent over a written treatment and then spoke with Paul about it and it developed from there. Paul generously shared some old stories with me that inspired many of the scenes in the video.”
Shot between LA, Natchez, Mississippi and Ferriday, Louisiana, Vincent spent almost a month in total working on the video. The casting involved an extensive process and it was important to Vincent that all the characters be as authentic as possible. His team took to street casting in the locations, utilising local churches, schools and record stores to find people with genuine emotional connections to the music and history of the areas they were shooting in.
Paul recorded his parts in LA over two days and the story unfolds around an intimate performance with just him and an acoustic guitar. By the end of the video Paul is playing with a group of blues guitarists, including his friend Johnny Depp. Johnny, no stranger to a McCartney video and an accomplished guitar player too, stopped by on the day for a jam.
Vincent describes his experience of working with Paul as “such a pleasure”. “Paul’s scene was incredibly fun to create. It was just him, some blues players and Johnny Depp jamming on set all day. Patti Smith also turned up on set and hung out, which made the crew very happy! One of my favourite days of filming ever.” […]
Last updated on February 6, 2021