David Wilson

Photo by Tag Christof

May 01 2015

David Wilson is in a hotel room.
Not many people know which hospital I was born in.
Failure is not trying.
Tomorrow, I will be in a pre-production meeting.

Mr. Wilson is easily one of the most promising young directors working today. He studied illustration at Brighton before setting off—almost unintentionally—on the path of a film director. It wasn’t long before he was making videos for the likes of the Maccabees, Keaton Henson, Passion Pit and David Guetta, but it was his exuberant work for Metronomy’s The Bay—with its iconic ladies’ legs, ice lollies and tongue-in-cheek caricature of the English Riviera—that really put him on the map. In his short career, he has worked with with Gaga, art directed a massive sculpture for the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin and even directed what is arguably the best commercial IKEA has ever made.

He jumped ship this year from London to sunny Los Angeles after signing with The Director’s Bureau, Roman Coppola’s cherry-picked roster that includes the likes of Wes Anderson, Canada and two of the prettier Coppola progeny, Sofia and Gia. And as a little “welcome to America” gift, his delightfully NSFW video for Arctic Monkeys’ Do I Wanna Know? was nominated for “Best Rock Video” at this year’s MTV Music Video Awards.

Earlier this year, he made waves with a one-two punch of landmark videos, one for Hercules and the Love Affair’s I Try To Talk To You and the other for Arcade Fire’s We Exist. Both marked the first time the director has used his polished and cheeky flair to deal head-on with LGBT themes. While the former tells a sad and emotionally-charged story through raw interpretative dance, it is the gender-bending hero of We Exist—played by the brilliant Andrew Garfield—that has really struck a chord.

The film exploded across the web immediately upon its release, and it has garnered acclaim as well as a fair bit of static. From activists unhappy with the casting of a straight actor in an ostensibly gay role (though Wilson told us that he assumed he’d made clear that Garfield’s part was simply toying with gender) to the inevitable voices of hatred from the YouTube peanut gallery, We Exist has shown that mainstream audiences still have a ways to go. Wilson’s signature blend of cheeky pop gloss with social issues might be just the ticket.

While he remains most well-known for music videos, his career is young and most certainly on the rise. Count on more ambitious projects, with the distinct possibility of a full-length feature in the not-too-distant future.