In their new video for “We Exist”, Arcade Fire cast Spider-Man actor Andrew Garfield as transgender. Though many applauded the video’s pro-equality message, Against Me! front woman Laura Jane Grace, who herself is transgender, voiced her disappointment in the band not using an “actual Trans actor.” Now, in an interview with Advocate.com, Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler and the video’s director, David Wilson, seek to explain the video’s intention and casting.
Butler said that the song, which is about a son coming out to his father, was one of the few Reflektor tracks written entirely during the band’s visit to Jamaica, inspired by the country’s homophobic leanings. In regards to the video. Butler said it would never have been made without Garfield’s participation, as his celebrity played an important role. “For a gay kid in Jamaica to see the actor who played Spider-Man in that role is pretty damn powerful, in my opinion,” Butler added.
Wilson, meanwhile, said he initially considered casting a Trans actor, but was moved by Garfield’s passion for the project. Wilson explained, “For an actor of that caliber to be that emotionally invested in a music video is just a very special thing. It just completely made sense.”
Wilson also noted that Garfield worked closely with Trans musician Our Lady J,.
Read the full interview here and revisit the “We Exist” video below.