If you’re a wise celebrity, now is the time to tuck yourself inside your Hollywood Hills hideaway, lock the gates, and keep your privileged lifestyle and stash of in-beta retrovirals as quiet as you can until the 2021 Oscars season.
It’s most definitely not the moment to try and burnish your credentials as a compassionate humanitarian by singing John Lennon’s “Imagine” in a celebrity mash-up to lift global spirits.
However, in an extraordinarily ill-thought-out piece of COVID-19 marketing, a roll call of celebrities whose publicists really should have known better have done exactly that.
Israeli Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot has assembled a significantly less stellar lineup of singers and non-singers, including Natalie Portman, Jamie Dornan, Sia, Pedro Pascal, Zoe Kravitz, Sarah Silverman, Leslie Odom Jr., Eddie Benjamin, Ashley Benson, Lynda Carter, Jimmy Fallon, Will Ferrell, Norah Jones, Kaia Gerber, and Cara Delevingne.
To say the internet is not impressed by the car-crash attempt at soulful connection to lift the mood of the masses—particularly by the line “Imagine no possessions”—would be an understatement.
In a toe-curling Instagram video—which we have watched so you don’t have to throw your laptop out the window—Gadot said that she was on “day six of self-isolation” and that the events of the past few days had left her feeling “philosophical.”
With her hair artfully pulled to one side in a loose chignon arrangement that wordlessly telegraphed the message: “I may be in self-quarantine but I still know how to take care of myself,” Gadot reminds us “We are in this together, we will get through it together.”
Gadot then goes on to explain that she saw a video of an “Italian guy playing the trumpet on his balcony” to the tune of “Imagine” and there was something “powerful and pure” about the video, and “it goes like this” before launching into the opening line of the Lennon classic.
The next line is sung by Kristen Wiig, who appears to be in a lovely garden with rushing water in the background. She’s wearing a sun hat like she’s planning a day at a Hamptons farmers’ market.
Third singer is Northern Ireland’s Jamie Dornan, who at least has the decency to look utterly shellshocked against a plain background, as does British rapper Labrinth, who sings from his car.
Actor James Marsden goes for an all-American denim jacket, white tee, and even whiter teeth with a camera angle that shows off the artful wooden paneling on the ceiling of his home.
And so it goes on. How, one wonders, did the usually so astute Sarah Silverman get sucked into this car crash? Was it a condition of her participation that she got to do a quirky take on “yoo-hooo?”
More questions arise as the hideousness unfolds. Who, for example, is the guy in the white hoodie? (Eddie Benjamin, an Australian singer/songwriter, I can reveal.)
And what did Jimmy Fallon think was in it for him to be pictured out on a walk in what appears to be a park when the country is on lockdown? Is it OK, because he is actually on his private estate?
Does Natalie Portman have the same hairstylist as Gal Gadot? Is that how she got her to join in? And is that her garden with the tropical-looking trees in the background or is she... on holiday?
Zoe Kravitz chose to hunker down by an open fire, telegraphing what exactly? A homesteading vibe?
At least Sia can sing, and former Wonder Woman Lynda Carter can be excused on solidarity grounds.
But what in the name of heaven inspired Amy Adams to perch mournfully at her window and croak out “But I’m not the only one”?
Do she and Gadot share a publicist?
Not anymore, one assumes.
Everyone has thought very deeply about exactly what they are trying to say.
Boasting is wrong, of course, but as a grouping brought up on the joys of consumerism, they just can’t help themselves.
So, subtle boasting is the order of the day. For example, Leslie Odom Jr. gives us a view of pink flowers in his lovely garden while Pedro Pascal, best known as Javier Peña in the Netflix biographical crime series Narcos and now as Disney+’s titular Mandolorian, is chillaxed in an expensive cotton hoodie with half a killer view from the window.
Then up pops Will Ferrell! Informing us there is no need for greed and hunger.
Mark Ruffalo’s next, laying back on his sofa singing the praises of the brotherhood of man.
And here comes Norah Jones, petting her cute dog, sitting on a couch that probably cost several thousand dollars, underneath an only partly in-frame art-installation light fitting that likely cost even more.
With a totally straight face, Jones sings the line “Sharing all the world.”
I mean, yeah, just imagine, Norah! Newsflash: All the world includes your sofa and your fancy light fitting. Still keen?
Ashley Benson and her girlfriend, Cara Delevingne, are not in an at-risk group, and appeared untroubled by anything other than how cute they look as they do a cheerleadery take with model pal Kaia Gerber when their turn comes.
But guess who gets to do the last line?
That’s right! Gal Gadot! Because it was all her brilliant idea. She put this thing together, man!
One wonders what would have happened if Gadot had instead “run into” another video currently doing the rounds on Italian social media: of military trucks whisking away the corpses of 60 COVID-19 victims for burial in the dead of night in the city of Bergamo?
Should you feel brave enough, here’s the original video from Gadot’s Instagram page. Don’t click if you have blood pressure problems.
We imagine it will be taken down pretty soon when the world of celebrity wakes up to the torrent of anger this clip has stirred in the little people’s hearts, as they head off to the store to see what’s left on the shelves today.
Should you need something to actually cheer you up after witnessing this sine qua non of celebrity idiocy, may we suggest these much more enjoyable takes on life in lockdown?