The band's frontman Win Butler says in a new interview that he picked Garfield to play a transgender because he thought the actor could help send a strong message to struggling LGBT youth.
Laura Jane Grace recently made headlines for criticizing the music video of Arcade Fire's "We Exist". Earlier this week, the member of punk band Against Me! said on Twitter that the Canadian group could have hired a real "trans actor" instead of having "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" actor Andrew Garfield play a transgender in the clip.
Arcade Fire has now responded to the criticism. The band's frontman Win Butler sat down for an interview with The Advocate and said that he wrote "We Exist", which is about a gay trying to come out to his father, when he was in Jamaica.
"And we were in Kingston, and we went to this kind of film event and met some gay Jamaican kids and just kind of talked to them and realized that they were constantly under the threat of violence," he said.
Of why he picked Garfield to star in the music video, Butler explained that he hoped the actor could help send a strong message to struggling LGBT youth, saying, "For a gay kid in Jamaica to see the actor who played Spider-Man in that role is pretty damn powerful, in my opinion."
David Wilson, who directed the music video, then revealed to The Advocate that he did want a real transgender to star in the clip. "Before I got on the call, I thought, 'Is this the right person - should we be using a transgender person?' " Wilson said.
He ended up choosing Garfield because of his passion for the project. "But then getting on the phone with Andrew, and Andrew's commitment and passion toward the project was just overwhelming. For an actor of that caliber to be that emotionally invested in a music video is just a very special thing. It just completely made sense," the director added.