The Secrets Behind the Gondry Bros' Little Love Stories
Virtue CCO, Cameron Farrelly, reveals the process behind the creation of Park MGM's sublime sextet of micro films directed by the Gondry Bros.
This week saw the release of Las Vegas Love Stories, the collection of short but stunning movies created for the glam new Vegas resort Park MGM, by Michel and Olivier Gondry and creative agency Virtue, through Partizan. Each story tells a different couple's experience of that magic moment when love strikes, which apparently takes 8.2 seconds.
Despite their diminutive length, the films were treated like full Hollywood features, with IMDB entries, a trailer and a set of gorgeous posters (below).
shots spoke to Cameron Farrelly, chief creative officer at Virtue, who kindly gave us well over 8.2 seconds of his valuable time to tell us about the creation of this cool collection.
Can you explain how the concept of the six micro films came to be?
It only takes 8.2 seconds to fall in love. So when news came in July that the human attention span had dropped to an all-time low, it formed a perfect eclipse and gifted us an irresistible insight.
It's also a polarising one that spawned a million questions about time, attention, love, emotion, connection and formats: ‘Isn't that lust rather than love? Do you believe in love at first sight? Is it possible to love more than one person at a time? Is love an inside job? Is technology to blame for our dwindling attention spans? How short is too short? What's so special about a long attention span?
We became obsessed with the idea of simulating the feeling of falling in love and making 8.2 seconds feel like a lifetime. Crafting every millisecond, every pixel and every sonic subtlety as if it were a feature film, built to the spec of our post-Millennial minds.
Did you have the individual stories already planned when you approached the Gondry brothers?
We had hundreds. But with great discipline, we never shared any of them with Michel or Olivier. We wanted to embrace creative purity and give them free reign. As the director of some of the greatest love films of all time, it was of utmost importance that we channelled Michel’s inner-workings without interference.
Not only did we want to promote these films as if they were full-length features, but we also wanted the end-to-end process to stay true to Michel's creative process.
[Michel Gondry's] Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind is a film that speaks to inspiration, creativity, romance, humanity and heartbreak, all in a single breath. So from the very beginning, we knew Michel was the only director on the planet with the imagination to make it work.
What does the collection say about Las Vegas and Park MGM? Were they all filmed at the resort?
Las Vegas is not one-size-fits-all. The traditional tourist brochure boasts EDM, debauchery and cheap thrills. We wanted to show a different perspective on the city. One where human connections and creativity rule the roost. And in doing so, show Park MGM as a place on the Strip where fate resides and romance runs rife.
I understand that some of the couples depicted were real-life couples, not actors, can you tell me which ones? And what was the idea behind casting real people?
In a world where everything can be copied, mimicked or replicated, there isn't a black market for love. It can't be faked or frauded. We wanted to capture the energy that radiates around real-life lovers. Every imperfection, every tiny detail and every vibration shining through in the storytelling.
The first couple we cast was Mike and Will from Room 802. Their chemistry was undeniable. Then Victoria and Gaston from No Ordinary August, they’ve been married four years and had a very sweet, honest love. Then Sadie and Robert from The Big Eight, they were a new couple, very infatuated with one another. The best easter egg is that there were more couples on set, Grace from The Big Eight had her girlfriend, Sarah, next to her at the craps table!
Love is as ugly as it is beautiful. It's as gross as it is remarkable. It's as depressing as it is inspiring. And when you've only got 8.2 seconds, every millisecond matters.
What were the challenges involved in making the films?
The pools in Las Vegas are super shallow.
Is there an intention they should be viewed in a particular order? Our Infinity almost seems to be an ending. It is very enigmatic, what does it mean?
Whilst each of the films were made to be a standalone experience, in a certain order, the films do follow the flow of love, from the first glance, last kiss, and the rollercoasters in between.
Our Infinity is indeed the final film in the flow. It captures the uncertainty of a woman who has newly fallen in love. Feelings can be as frightening as they are exciting, we imagine scenarios of it working out, of it ending and we take caution as a result.
The film titles all reference the number eight, underlining the 8.2 second theme. Can you explain that in terms of Our Infinity and It Is Decidedly So?
The infinity sign is a sideways 8, and ‘It Is Decidedly So’ is the ideal answer from a magic 8 ball.
Why six films, not eight?
That would have been too perfect. And we all know that perfect is something true love is not.