x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Daniel Radcliffe the latest star to shill for bands in a music video

The Harry Potter actor will appear in Slow Cub's video for Beginners. We take a look at other actors who have featured in music videos and how it is has affected the band's success.

Rupert Grint. Joel Ryan / AP Photo
Rupert Grint. Joel Ryan / AP Photo

After six years in the indie rock business it can be tough to attract new followers, but the UK outfit Slow Club have hit upon a foolproof method: enlist one of the world's most popular movie stars.

Always critically acclaimed, the low-key Sheffield duo have suddenly made a mighty global splash with their single Beginners, chiefly due to the presence in their video of the Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe. That video currently boasts almost 400,000 YouTube views; their previous single, The Dog, is still stuck at around 9,000.

It may seem a curious role for Radcliffe, but the 22-year-old music buff is a fan of the band and revelled in the opportunity to mime their song and spread the word. He's in good company - The Lord of the Rings actor Sir Ian McKellen offered his services to Slow Club's indie contemporaries Guillemots a few years ago, having been introduced by a younger relative - but such arrangements are not always entirely selfless. Rock videos offer a unique opportunity for the ambitious actor, and two further examples have emerged in recent weeks.

Particularly improbable, the Transformers star Shia LaBeouf took on the most daring role of his career in the promo film for Fjögur Píanó, by the atmospheric Icelanders Sigur Rós. A darkly surreal fantasy featuring ballet, blood and bare flesh, it showcases the experimental side of an actor better known recently for lowbrow blockbusters and street brawls. Admittedly, the film has also been described as "nauseatingly pretentious".

More traditional is the video for Everybody's on the Run, the latest release from the Oasis star Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds. It features Mischa Barton, formerly of the US soap The OC but more gossiped about - her weight in particular - than seen on screen of late. Barton chases Gallagher's taxi through New York, shows off her newly svelte figure and happily indulges in energetic slapstick: a useful trailer for her talents.

Radcliffe is also actively attempting to update his image, of course. In the Slow Club video he plays a stumbling, stubble-faced wreck who winds up dancing wildly on a table, a scene faintly reminiscent of Christopher Walken's memorable cameo in the video for Fatboy Slim's track Weapon of Choice. Far from ruining the sinister actor's reputation, that mesmerising four-minute dance routine became one of the most famous roles of Walken's career.

Only music videos allow clever, creative short films to reach such a vast and varied audience. Radcliffe's old colleague Rupert Grint, aka Ron Weasley, enjoyed his most-seen part since Potter in the video for Ed Sheeran's song Lego House. It involved an unshaven Grint - spot the trend - playing a deranged fan of the similar-looking singer, a well-realised concept which has now gathered 31 million YouTube views.

Recently, the French electro-pop outfit The Shoes featured Jake Gyllenhaal as a fencing suit-wearing, sabre-wielding serial killer in the video Time to Dance. Gyllenhaal also appeared in Vampire Weekend's video for Giving Up the Gun in 2010.

For bigger pop acts, the movie star-bedecked video is often just a badge of status - Michael Jackson's output was increasingly peppered with pointless cameos - but the right actor can really help your record. Chevy Chase did much for his close pal Paul Simon's Graceland album by belittling him in the simple, splendid video for the single You Can Call Me Al, in 1986. Meanwhile, actors' careers are actively aided by famous musician buddies, on occasion: witness the benevolent work of Elton John in 2001.

In the video for This Train Don't Stop There Anymore, a younger Elton was played by Justin Timberlake, a high-profile part that helped launch his acting career. Then, the follow-up single, I Want Love, offered a vital comeback role for the industry outcast Robert Downey Jr. It proved a small but significant step for the future Avengers star.

Indeed, Downey has recently been linked with an Elton John biopic, as has Timberlake. Perhaps those videos were just elaborate screen tests, after all.

Slow Club's new single will be out on August 6.