Jimmy Turrell and Bráulio Amado co-direct a re-release of Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling In Love With You
Commissioned by Sony’s Legacy Recordings, the duo join forces with Brazilian animator Antonio Vicentini to produce a sketchbook-like ode to the legendary singer.
- 19 March 2021
- Ayla Angelos
- Reading Time
- 4 minutes
Everybody knows who Elvis Presley is. A cultural icon of the 20th century, the ‘king of rock and roll’ – or even just ‘the king’. He released countless hits in his lifetime, songs like Suspicious Minds, Blue Suede Shoes and Hound Dog. And even 40 years after his passing, Elvis still, to this day, continues to have incredible impact on the creative and music industries. So much so that visual artist Jimmy Turrell and graphic designer Bráulio Amado have co-directed a video for a re-release of his track Can’t Help Falling In Love With You (first released in 1961) commissioned by Legacy Recordings, an American record label and division of Sony Music.
The first time the two artists have worked together since the launch of Beck’s WOW video four years ago, this next one arrives with a bang – and they’ve even used the same animator, Antonio Vicentini, to assist with the visuals. Invited to put their “own spin” on the classic Elvis tune, Jimmy says how it’s the epitome of all love songs: “The lyrics tell the intimate story of someone whose love is uncontainable, maybe this makes him a fool, but nothing is going to stop his amorous free fall. It was also the last song that he performed live in 1977, prior to his passing.” As such, the collaborative trio proceeded to honour Elvis’ legacy and decided to focus on his career as a whole. “Something that was contemporary and respectful, but which also had a sense of humour and didn’t take itself too seriously.”
Resultantly, the film takes the viewer on a journey through Elvis’ life. It’s a celebration – void of sorrow or mourning – that takes you through a fan’s scrapbook, filled with memorabilia. You’re placed right into the shoes of an admirer, where Elvis’ best bits are highlighted through archive imagery, previously unseen footage of him performing on stage, as well as vintage figurines, toys, books and posters. All of which are adorned in the style of Jimmy, Bráulio and Antonio, with the footage provided by Elvis’ estate. “To be honest,” adds Jimmy, “the interpretation of this is pretty loose but we just wanted to create a dynamic, moving, mixed media collage of Elvis’ whole career seen through a fan’s eyes.”
As expected, the process behind the film involved plenty of research. Everything the team landed on – “something cool”, says Bráulio, or that which was visually engaging or interesting – saw them treat it, xerox it, riso it, draw on it, screen print it or do something with 3D to then be brought into the video. “There’s a visual narrative,” continues Bráulio, “but we are not really telling a story. So the create process was quite abstract.” With each and every render, more ideas would bloom and evolve. And, having been given the opportunity to revel in the footage of Elvis as a younger and older man, it was an exceptionally rare and honest experience for them all. “Then by using rotoscoping,” notes Jimmy, “hand-drawn elements, double exposures and multilayering techniques, we tried to create something with both pathos and dynamism.”
Both Jimmy and Bráulio are known for their bold, textured, graphic and collage-esque aesthetics – that which meshes poster design and illustration into one big playful and visual sandwich. Antonio, a Brazilian illustrator and animator, is also known for his sketch-book style of animation, and was the perfect counterpart to this project. However, all three creatives wanted to shy away from their signature styles and work on something completely different. “We were trying to avoid doing similar things from our previous work (that we’ve made together), so we very loosely started jamming stuff together,” Antonio tells It’s Nice That. “Jimmy had some great collages from the initial development process and Bráulio took them and made them magic. I then pitched in ideas and made everything move.”
“Elvis is one of the only true stars that you can instantly recognise by his silhouette, so we used these as framing devices to transition between scenes,” he continues. “Even though they were basically just the left over parts of Jimmy’s cutouts!”
Alongside these cutouts, Jimmy apparently “went crazy” on Ebay and got highly involved in shopping for Elvis memorabilia. For example, he now owns a collection of plastic Elvis-esque jewellery, that the rest of the team kept convincing him to wear on a daily basis. “But I don’t think we succeeded,” jokes Bráulio, who also ended up buying some magazines to cut out and some moving hula dolls. Working in this way – i.e. using analogous and physical objects as a starting point – allowed the team to draw from real-life memories of the famous singer and re-work these findings into the digital sphere. It’s a process that worked seamlessly between the three of them. “We’re very comfortable collaborating together, even though we have different styles,” says Antonio. “I basically took Bráulio and Jimmy’s initial comps, added 3D, loose drawings and made them look worse, and they were very kind to not yell at me for how bad that final output looked!”
While working on this film, the team were able to get a solid overview of the life of Elvis Presley. It’s not just about him singing, either, as they also got their hands on some footage of him water-skiing, riding on horseback and dancing on stage at a Hawaiian celebration. Antonio also animated an abundance of hearts to appear in the film, as well as Elvis’ walking sideburns – a fantastic nod to the legendary king, both for his music and exceptional hair.
GalleryJimmy Turrell, Bráulio Amado and Antonio Vicentini: Elvis Presley, Can't Help Falling In Love With You, commissioned by Sony’s Legacy Recordings (Copyright © Jimmy Turrell, Bráulio Amado and Antonio Vicentini, 2021)
Jimmy Turrell, Bráulio Amado and Antonio Vicentini: Elvis Presley, Can't Help Falling In Love With You, commissioned by Sony’s Legacy Recordings (Copyright © Jimmy Turrell, Bráulio Amado and Antonio Vicentini, 2021)
About the Author
Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and has continued to work with us on a freelance basis. She has spent the last seven years as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.