Greta Thunberg is a fortune teller in the video to Pearl Jam’s new song, “Retrograde”, and as you can imagine, her visions aren’t exactly hopeful.
The video is actually a mix of animation and motion capture, which is a far cry from the original idea for a live-action video, shot in a world that wasn’t paralyzed by a virus. Emmy-winning filmmaker Josh Wakely pulled off something few people would even attempt in such circumstances, creating the entire video during lockdown with the help of a remote team and Zoom.
Greta Thunberg doesn’t actually play in the video. Instead, with her permission, Wakely used existing footage of her and inserted it onto another actress’s body.
“She never had to act a frame, but she provided that emotion I was looking for. It was a huge thrill to see an email in my inbox from her saying that she loved it,” Wakely tells Variety.
Thunberg’s crystal ball reveals glimpses of environmental catastrophes like waves engulfing the London Bridge and Manhattan’s skyscrapers, as well as disasters we can already easily envision by simply using our memory, such as the Australian bush fires. Pearl Jam’s members appear on tarot cards, which are part of a seemingly endless deck which perhaps is a metaphor for humanity and being in this together.
Cautionary tales are ultimately meant to help their listeners avoid danger, and in that spirit, Pearl Jam end “Retrograde’s”video with the message, “It’s gonna take much more than ordinary love to lift us up,” glowing on a little billboard above the strip mall where Thunberg’s shop is.