Adele, Xavier Dolan team up on Hello music video

The first time Xavier Dolan heard Adele's powerful ballad Hello, his head was instantly filled with the black-and-white, nostalgia-filled images of long-lost love depicted in the new video the chart-topping singer unveiled early Friday morning.

Quebec-shot video co-stars Tristan Wilds as Adele's long lost lover

The first time Xavier Dolan heard Adele's powerful ballad Hello, his head was instantly filled with the black-and-white, nostalgia-filled images of long-lost love depicted in the new video the chart-topping singer unveiled early Friday morning.

"Aesthetically, we were just on the same wavelength from the beginning," the award-winning Quebec filmmaker told CBC News early Friday.

"She really trusted me. I trusted her. It was beautiful," he said of their collaboration for Hello, which is the first track off Adele's much-anticipated comeback album 25.

"Artistically and emotionally, we just went full-throttle because we trusted each other."

Shot in Quebec earlier this fall — in Canada, so Dolan could be surrounded by the regular crew and artists he is most comfortable working with — Hello sees Adele travel to a musty country house, where she recalls a former lover.

Hello is the second music video directed by Quebec filmmaker Xavier Dolan, seen here at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014. (Yves Herman/Reuters)

"As soon as I heard it, I saw the country. I saw an old house, I saw Adele coming in and going down memory lane, making phone calls to someone from her past," Dolan said, describing his first time hearing the track in London, after Adele and her record label sought him out.

"And then us, having a glimpse into those images that would be reminiscent of a long lost relationship. It was just what I saw immediately when I heard the song."

Dolan was asked by Adele's record label to make the video for the first single for her album, 25. So he accepted! 8:15

Dolan also suggested American actor Tristan Wilds, known for roles in TV's The Wire and the recent 90210 remake, to play the singer's former flame.

"All of his scenes were shot without Adele because she had to leave: she was on rehearsal in London," Dolan noted. 

"Their paths, like, crossed for maybe two or three hours. But that day, we shot until, like, 3 a.m. with Tristan. I was sort of his Adele. He was talking to me. He was such a good sport. We improvised together [and] he just dived right into it."

Adele's record label, XL Recordings, announced Thursday that 25 would be released Nov. 20 and that Dolan had directed the music video for lead track Hello.

Dolan, the award-winning filmmaker behind J'ai Tué Ma Mère (I Killed My Mother), HeartbeatsLaurence Anyways, Tom at the Farm and Mommy, is known for his sumptuous use of music in his movies.

In 2013, he directed a controversial video for French alt-rock group Indochine's song College Boy, in which he depicted the increasingly violent bullying and the eventual crucifixion and shooting of a teen boy.

Teasing fans with tidbits

Adele has been teasing fans with tidbits about her new album, 25, all week – first airing a mysterious ad featuring a song snippet on British TV and then posting a revealing essay about her state of mind during the album's creation. 

Other details about the anticipated release have trickled out, with Billboard reporting earlier that the album includes tracks written by Danger Mouse, Ryan Tedder and Canadian songwriter Tobias Jesso Jr.

She gave Hello its official premiere Friday morning during a segment on BBC Radio 1.

On mobile? Click to see Adele's personal essay.

Adele's last album was 2011's 21, which sold more than 30 million albums worldwide and won six Grammy Awards, including album of the year. The British singer follows a pattern of naming her albums for her age at the time she created them: her debut album was 19.

Adele gave birth to her first son, Angelo, in October 2012 and subsequently won an Oscar, Grammy, Golden Globe and Brit Award for her James Bond theme to 2012's Skyfall.


Jessica Wong

Senior writer

Jessica Wong is a senior writer for CBC News, based in Toronto.

With files from Jeanette Kelly


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