Idris Elba and Spike Jonze? Sounds like a match made in heaven. The pair teamed up recently on a new advertising campaign for Squarespace, the website building and hosting company, which kicked off today with a new commercial spot and short film. The shorts, directed by Jonze and starring Elba, feature music composed by Grammy-nominated DJ/producer Sam Spiegel.
In the commercial, which ends with the tagline “Dream It. Make It,” Elba lip syncs to a rendition of “Que Sera Sera” (originally performed by Karishva Ghai and Kaos Choir for Deaf Awareness) as he fantasizes about the different kinds of careers he could have — boxer, fighter pilot, astronaut, chef and more.
Shot with Jonze’s trademark whimsical visual style, the narrative seems fitting for Elba. Best known as an actor, he wears multiple hats as a rapper, DJ, producer and — most recently — director. Elba made his feature filmmaking debut last year with “Yardie,” which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and hits theaters in March. He can now add brand spokesperson to his resume.
In the four-minute short film, the actor, best known for his performance as the brooding title character in the BBC detective series “Luther,” takes a fresh (if not self-deprecating) comedic turn, playing himself. As he workshops ideas his fashion line’s website, Elba is accompanied by a humorously snarky executive assistant, played by British comedian Lolly Adefope.
“Recently I’ve been doing a lot more comedy,” Elba says in a scene in the short, before he is abruptly cut off by Adefope, who asks him to elaborate. A flummoxed Elba stumbles and says, “I’m known as like this heavy thespian, you know,” to which Adefope snickers and laughs in Elba’s face, telling him that he is in fact not at all funny.
Super Bowl commercials have become a cultural phenomenon right alongside the actual game itself, with many viewers tuning into the game mostly to watch the increasingly cinematic ads often led by celebrities. While Squarespace has featured an advertisement each of the last five Super Bowls, the company opted out this year. It’s likely not a coincidence that the company released this high profile collaboration four days ahead of Sunday night’s big game.
This is not the first time Squarespace has tapped top-shelf film talent for its advertising campaigns. The company’s 2018 Super Bowl commercial was directed by Jonathan Glazer (“Birth,” “Under the Skin”) and starred Keanu Reeves. Previous spots have featured the talents of Jeff Bridges and John Malkovich.