Sarnia, Ont., seniors get funky in tribute to hit Bruno Mars video

A group of seniors in Sarnia, Ont., have become social media darlings for their remarkably accurate re-creation of the Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars music video for Uptown Funk.

'It was hilarious, they were having a lot of fun,' says producer hired to shoot and edit the video

Landmark Village resident Arnold Murphy stars as Bruno Mars in his retirement home's tribute to Uptown Funk. (YouTube)

A group of seniors in Sarnia, Ont., have become social media darlings for their remarkably accurate re-creation of the Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars music video for Uptown Funk.

To paraphrase Mars himself: Don't believe us? Just watch.

The tribute video was conceived by Janice Horley, executive director of Landmark Village, a retirement community in Sarnia, as a surprise for a company vice-president.

"He loves that song," explained Tania Bergen, sales and marketing director at the facility. "He does a corporate video for our Christmas party every year, and she thought it would be a wonderful surprise if we develop this video ... as a surprise for him." 

Despite a lack of familiarity with Mars or the hit song, 50 residents showed up for the initial casting call in August.

"After we showed the [original] video, I think a lot of them got scared off, [so] we had a group of about 15 people that came down and were actually participating in the video," Bergen said.

Video features computer-generated dinosaur

Dress rehearsals were held three times a week, with filming taking place over three days in October. Goodwill Industries donated costumes, and Picker's Alley, a local music shop, loaned musical instruments.

Terry Currie, a Petrolia, Ont.-based video producer, was hired to shoot and edit the video. 

He said Uptown Funk "is such a hard video to do, especially for seniors," he said. "I tried to to talk them into doing something that was a little easier to do." 

But the stars of the video were up for the challenge.

"It was hilarious, they were having a lot of fun — they were working real hard at it," Currie said.

When asked why he decided to add a computer-generated dinosaur and chicken — neither of which are part of the original music video — Currie laughed.

"I don't know why I stuck it in ... why not?"

One of the unusual additions to the video is brief appearance of a computer-generated dinosaur, seen here in front of the Landmark Village building. (YouTube)

Bergen said the residents, who often enjoyed pizza and wine during the project, had a ball putting the video together. "They said, 'Oh, we're going to miss this when we don't have our practices anymore!'"

The vice-president whose love for the hit song inspired the creation of the video was "speechless" when the video was played at the company Christmas party.

"He was so surprised," Bergen said.

A week before that party, a screening was arranged for cast members, their families and friends.

"They just loved it, they ... thought it was a hoot," Bergen said with a laugh.

The retirement home is hoping that Mars will watch the video.

About the Author

Jonathan Pinto

Jonathan Pinto is a reporter/editor at CBC Windsor, primarily assigned to Afternoon Drive, CBC Radio's regional afternoon show for southwestern Ontario. Email jonathan.pinto@cbc.ca.