Rodrigo Prieto: The Cinematographer Behind the Lens of Taylor Swift’s “Cardigan” Video

Everything’s o-Tay for Rodrigo Prieto

The 54-year-old three-time Oscar-nominated Mexican cinematographer is earning rave reviews for his work on Taylor Swift’s music video for the pop star’s latest single “Cardigan.”

Rodrigo Prieto

The top-secret music video, written, directed and styled by Swift, was filmed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The dreamy video, released on Friday, July 24 alongside Swift’s new album Folklore, presents a cottagecore aesthetic and features Swift in three different settings.

The “homespun” and “dreamlike” video starts out with Swift sitting in a candlelit cottage in the woods, wearing a nightgown and playing a vintage upright piano. When the soundboard starts glowing, she climbs into it and is magically transported to a moss-covered forest, where she plays the song on a grand piano producing a waterfall. The piano bench starts to glow and she climbs into it. She gets transported to a dark stormy sea, where she holds on to a floating piano. The piano soundboard glows and she climbs in, and she returns to the cottage, where she dons a cardigan.

Taylor Swift Cardigan Video

“She had the whole storyline – the whole notion of going into the piano and coming out into the forest, the water, going back into the piano,” Prieto tells Rolling Stoneof hisfirst phone call with Swift.

Their last collaboration, on the music video for “The Man,” saw Swift adopting a male alter ego to satirize gender inequality.

From the beginning, though, Prieto says “Cardigan” was always going to be more ambiguous, and more personal: “When she called me and told me that this was more of a fantasy, I found that really appealing.”

This was in early July, when Prieto had simultaneously begun serving on a committee for the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) to conceive solutions for safely resuming film production during the ongoing pandemic.

Prieto had just finished filming a PSA for a healthcare company when Swift asked him to work on “Cardigan,” and he was well aware of the many, many layers of risks involved in the project.

“We needed to be safe, for her sake and for our sake as a crew during the shoot, but also for the future of filmmaking,” he says. “Because we want to keep working and doing what we do, and if, God forbid, someone got sick on one of the first jobs that was filmed, it would probably close down [the industry].”

The extensive safety protocols for the shoot ranged from standard – everybody had to get tested, and every member of the crew wore a mask – to outlandish: Because Swift would need to spend a large part of the shoot not wearing a face covering, the crew used a colored wristband system, determining which members of the team were permitted to stand closest to her. (Prieto, assistant director Joe Osborne, and set designer Ethan Tobman all wore one color, lighting designers and gaffers wore another, and so on.)

Prieto actually wore two face coverings – a mask and an acrylic shield – for most of the day-and-a-half-long shoot. And just to ensure that crew members crossed within a six-foot range of Swift as little as possible, the entire “Cardigan” video was shot by mounting the camera to a robotic arm, which was then controlled by a remote operator.

The “techno arm,” as Prieto calls it, is typically only used in the industry for crane shots and other establishing visuals.

“We were going to use the crane for the ocean scene,” Prieto explains, referencing the shot where the image zooms out on the wide expanse of the water before honing back in on Swift. “So then I said, let’s have it both days.”

Hooking the camera up to a giant robot was the safest way to get close-ups on Swift’s face, Prieto explains. And as unwieldy as that sounds, you’d never know from watching the video that a human being wasn’t behind the lens at all times.

There was, of course, the added tangle of secrecy – the filmmaking had to be done indoors to avoid crowds, and Swift wore an earpiece throughout the shoot to lip-sync to the song without any of the crew hearing it.

The crew built three sets on two stages across one large studio, and in order to create the illusion of natural light for the outdoor scenes, Prieto and his crew draped giant stretches of white bouncing fabric on the walls and ceiling. The process took longer than usual due to COVID, with the lighting crew working in small groups and frequently taking breaks so they could remove masks and catch their breath.

“Filmmaking is a gregarious endeavor by nature,” Prieto says. “People are close to each other, so it’s really hard to remember to keep to yourselves.” Given the distancing on set, it was sometimes tricky for crew members to communicate over reference points and documents – “we had to kind of point at each other” – but Prieto attributes Swift’s clear vision for the project as a guiding light.

Ahead of the shoot, she sent him and Tobman numerous visual references for each scene – a mix of photographs for the dark ocean water and drawings for the fantastical forest sequence. One illustration, of a sword lodged into a rock formation overlooking a creek, was particularly inspiring: “That became our focal interest – we didn’t imitate it, but the feeling of it was what we went with.”

On top of that, Swift came up with a detailed shot list for the video ahead of time, with each visual accompanied by a time sequence within the song.

“The ocean water, the fingers on the piano, whatever it may be, she knew what she wanted for each section,” Prieto says. Unlike with “The Man,” Swift couldn’t be as hands-on with her direction on set – she viewed each take through a video monitor after it was shot – but Prieto was impressed by her ability to “talk with the camera” and utilize cinematic language without formal training, like with the unorthodox, zoom-out-and-in shot over the ocean. “I was blown away, because it’s all metaphorical,” he says. “This video is not just pretty images of things; she’s telling a personal story through her lyrics, her music, and now through the video.”

The video has already been viewed more than 40 million times on YouTube since its release.

Prieto previously earned Academy Awards for his lensing work on Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain (2006), Martin Scorsese’s Silence (2017) and Scorsese’s The Irishman (2020).

His other film credits include Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Babel (2006) and Biutiful (2010), Francis Lawrence’s Water for Elephants and Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo.

Shakira Teams Up with Camilo & Pedro Capo on “Tutu (Remix)”

Shakirais plié-ingwith fuego… 

The 42-year-old Colombian superstar has joined voices with Camilo Echeverry, simply known as Camilo, and Pedro Capó on the dreamy new remix of “Tutu.”

Pedro Capo, Camilo, Shakira

Shakira shared the news on her Instagram account, just before the remix was released to the public. 

“You asked for it, and whatever you want from me, you got it,” write Shakira. 

“It’s like a dream come true,” Echeverry tells Rolling Stone of working with Shakira. “I tried to be the most professional that I could, but I was like fangirling all the time. The first cassette that I had in my life was Shakira’s ¿Donde Están Los Ladrones?.”

Last week, Shakira posted a video of herself singing along to “Tutu” on Instagram — “I can’t get this song out of my head!” she wrote — then privately messaged Echeverry, asking to jump on the track. 

Shakira lends the remix an airy, feminine touch, treating Echeverry’s lyrics with the utmost care. 

“Tutu (Remix)” marks Shakira’s first release since she announced her upcoming Super Bowl halftime show with Jennifer Lopez.

The “Tutu (Remix)” will be released on October 15.

Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee Give High-Octane Performance of “Despacito” at the Grammys

Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee may not have taken home a gramophone, but they did leave a lasting impression..

The 39-year-old Puerto Rican singer and 40-year-old Puerto Rican wowed the crowd with a high-octane performance of their record-smashing international hit “Despacito.

Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee

Fonsi and Yankee performed the worldwide smash flanked by a collection of dancing, scantily clad women. The audience vigorously danced and bopped their heads along to the dance hit. Former Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera runway-walked onto the stage in a gold and nude bodysuit before twerking between the pair.

By the end, male and female dancers were grinding all over the stage to the song as Rivera sauntered off.

The remixed version of the reggaeton-pop track featuring Justin Bieber was up for three awards: Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. The remix won Best Urban/Fusion performance at the 2017 Latin Grammys, and the original version earned Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Short Form Music Video.

“Despacito” – which Rolling Stone named the seventh-best song of 2017 – helped spark a Latin-pop revolution last year: The song’s video became the top-viewed clip in YouTube history, racking up nearly 5 billion views – and six of the site’s top 10 most-viewed music videos were from Latin artists.

Cardi B Graces the Cover of New York Magazine

Cardi B is an Empire State cover girl…

The 25-year-old half-Dominican American rapper graces the cover of New York Magazine in what she called a “dream come true” on social media.

Cardi B New York Magazine

Cardi B, a native of The Bronx, touches on a number of topics in the feature, including feminism, wedding plans, staying in the music industry and possibly getting a brachioplasty by cosmetic surgeon.

Allison P. Davis wrote the cover story, which focuses a good portion on feminism — something the “Bodak Yellow” rapper seems interested in redefining. Per the piece, Cardi B isn’t in any rush to identify herself as a “feminist.”

Cardi B New York Magazine

“You know what? I’m not even gonna consider myself nothing,” she said. “Here’s the thing that bitches got me fucked up when it comes to that word. People think that being a feminist is a bitch that, like, went to school. They wear skirts all the way to their motherfucking ankles like a goddamn First Lady. That’s not being a feminist. Being a feminist is being equal to do what a man do. N—as hustle, and I hustle n—as.”

The “feminist” conversation around Cardi was sparked last year when she covered Vibe Magazine with the bold title beside her. Cardi responded to haters in November of last year with a video posted to her Instagram, saying, “The problem is that being a feminist is something so great, but y’all don’t want me to be great.”

Cardi B, who graced the cover of Rolling Stone in October, has had a breakout year, with “Bodak Yellow” enjoying it’s 18th week on the Billboard Hot 100.

This week, she notched her first three hits on Billboard’s Top Hip-Hop/R&B chart simultaneously with “Bodak Yellow” and serving up fire assists on “MotorSport” and G Eazy’s “No Limit.”

Read New York Magazine story in full here

Santana to Perform at Rock Getaway Festival in the Mexican Riviera

Carlos Santana is ready to rock the Mexican Riviera

The 69-year-old Mexican musician is set to perform as part of the Rock Getaway Festival at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya in Mexico from October 26-November 5.

Carlos Santana

In addition to Santana, considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone, the all-inclusive vacation will include sets from Don HenleySteve Miller BandRoger DaltreyBad CompanyForeignerREO SpeedwagonPat Benatar & Neil GirladoCheap TrickGeorge Thorogood & the Destroyers and more.

The organizers of Rock Getaway are offering “stunning tropical views, a private white sand beach, and exclusive saltwater snorkeling areas,” according to a release announcing the event.

Attendees can choose from three packages, including 4-, 7- and 11-day options with the 4-day offering sets from Miller, The Who‘s Daltrey, Bad Company, Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, Benatar & Giraldo, Cheap Trick and others.  The 7- and 11-day options include exclusive sets from Henley, Santana, Thorogood and more. All three include accommodations at the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel or Unico Resort and admission to all concerts. Concerts will take place on oceanfront stages and be accompanied by pool parties, after partiers and late night jam sessions.

Tickets will be available to the general public on Monday, April 17 at 7:00 a.m. EST/10:00 a.m. PST here.

Here’s a look at the line-ups:

4-DAY PACKAGE LINEUP (October 26 – 29 or November 2-5):

Steve Miller Band | Roger Daltrey | Bad Company | Foreigner | REO Speedwagon | Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo | Cheap Trick | Don Felder | Blue Oyster Cult Starship featuring Mickey Thomas | Foghat | Queensryche | Los Lobos

7-DAY & 11-DAY PACKAGE LINEUP (October 26 – November 1/October 30 – November 5 or October 26 – November 5):

Don Henley | Santana | Steve Miller Band | Roger Daltrey | Bad Company | Foreigner | REO Speedwagon | Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo | Cheap Trick | George Thorogood and the Destroyers | Don Felder | Blue Oyster Cult | Starship featuring Mickey Thomas | Foghat | Queensryche | Los Lobos | Warren Hill | Olivia Rox | Sahnas Brothers | Atomic Punks (Tribute to Van Halen) | Guns 2 Roses (Tribute to Guns and Roses) and more. (*Bolded acts are ONLY available through purchase of the 7- and 11-day all-inclusive packages.)

 

Espinosa to Direct Film Adaptation of Rolling Stone Article “The Anarchists vs. ISIS”

Daniel Espinosa is taking on the fight against ISIS

The 40-year-old Chilean filmmaker will direct his Life star Jake Gyllenhaal in a film. Gyllenhall and Riva Marker’s Ninestories and Bold Films have optioned rights to Seth Harp’s Rolling Stone article “The Anarchists vs. ISIS” to adapt into a movie.

Daniel Espinosa

Gyllenhall is expected to star.

Harp’s article published last month tells the true story of a ragtag team of American volunteers, socialists and outcasts who are fighting alongside the Kurdish militia known as the YPG to beat ISIS in Syria and establish an anarchist collective amid the rubble of war.

Espinosa will also produce via his newly formed BOZI shingle alongside Gyllenhaal and Marker and Bold Films chairman Michel Litvak. Bold’s CEO Gary Michael Walters will executive produce.

“Jake and I are thrilled to partner with Daniel Espinosa on Seth Harp’s daring story,” Marker said. “Thematically, we’re often attracted to material about the search for identity, especially in a world where it’s become easier to feel less and less connected. Seth’s story is about people who abandon everything that’s familiar as a means to connect in the most brutal of circumstances.”

Added Litvak: “In a very short time under the leadership of Jake and Riva, Ninestories has become an incredibly exciting production company. Their vision for fresh and provocative material coupled with brilliant filmmakers like Daniel Espinosa aligns perfectly with Bold’s mandate.”

Espinosa’s Life opens in theaters this Friday. His other credits include Safe House, Child 44 and Assassin’s Creed.

Castaneda to Star in the Amazon Comedy Pilot “The Legend of Master Legend”

David Castaneda’s career is about to become Legend-ary…

The Latino actor has been cast opposite John Hawkes in the Amazon comedy pilot The Legend of Master Legend, directed by James Ponsoldt.

David Castaneda

Written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue & Noah Harpster based on Joshuah Bearman’s Rolling Stone article about real-life superheroes, the project centers on Master Legend (Hawkes), a man who tries to defend justice and defeat wrongdoers on the Las Vegas Strip.

Castaneda will portray Mandy Mandujano, a sweet-faced Las Vegas police officer who’d rather talk than shoot. He’s a true believer in Master Legend, even when he has to save Master Legend from himself.

Castaneda’s credits include recurring roles on Jane the Virgin and Switched at Birth.

 

Ferreira is Moving From CAA to William Morris Endeavor (WME)

Sky Ferreira is switching teams…

The 23-year-old part-Brazilian singer-songwriter, model and actress has moved from Creative Artists Agency (CAA) to William Morris Endeavor (WME).

Sky Ferreira

She already was represented by IMG Models, which was part of the WME | IMG acquisition last year.

Ferreira is currently the face of the Jimmy Choo fragrance Illicit and will soon be featured in Paco Rabanne’s next fragrance campaign with Gabriel Day-Lewis.

She starred in Eli Roth’s cannibal horror film The Green Inferno, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013 and will be released in the U.S. later this month.

Ferreira will also be seen in the true-life drama Elvis & Nixon, starring Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey as the titular title characters, and in crime thriller The Trust, starring Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood.

As a recording artist, Ferreira’s 2013 Capitol Records debut Night Time, My Time opened at No. 45 on the Billboard 200 before finding its way onto Rolling Stones list of that year’s top albums and Pitchfork‘s list of the decade’s top 100 albums.

She currently is recording her sophomore album, Masochism, due out next year.

Garcia to Be Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame

Jerry Garcia legacy lives on…

The late part-Spanish American musician best known for his lead guitar work, singing and songwriting with the band the Grateful Dead, will be posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame this week.

Jerry Garcia

Garcia and his songwriting partner Robert Hunter, who will also be honored, first paired together as performers in a folk duo in the early 1960’s.  When Garcia formed the Grateful Dead in the mid-1960’s, he looked to Hunter for lyrics. Hunter became an official lyricist for the band, and when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, Hunter was inducted as a band member, the only non-performer ever honored.

Garcia wrote the music while Hunter penned lyrics for songs like “Casey Jones”, “China Cat Sunflower,” “St. Stephen” and “Truckin,’” which was recognized by the United States Library of Congress in 1997 as a national treasure.

With more than 35 million albums sold worldwide, other notable tracks include, “Dark Star,” which is listed as one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll” list, and was ranked #57 on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time,” the 1987 single, “Touch Of Grey” which was also the band’s first music video and, “Friend of the Devil” from the 1970 album American Beauty, which has been covered by Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, The Counting Crows, Elvis Costello, Lyle Lovett and John Mayer.  In 2007, the Grateful Dead received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

The 46th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner will take place on June 18 at the New York Marriott Marquis.

The attendees will gather to celebrate the core of creativity that drives the music business: the craft of songwriting.

Other members of 2015 class of inductees: country hitmaker Bobby Braddock, late blues icon Willie Dixon, country star Toby Keith, ’80s pop chart-topper Cyndi Lauper and Linda Perry of 4 Non Blondes, who has written hits for Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, Gwen Stefani, James Blunt, the Dixie Chicks and others.

“Our 2015 lineup of inductees represents the rich diversity of American musical styles – Rock, Country, Blues and Pop – that have captivated the world over the past six decades,” said SHOF President & CEO Linda Moran.  “Each one of these brilliant music creators have written instantly recognizable classics, songs that are both of their time and timeless.  Our Annual Awards Gala is sure to be unforgettable.”

The evening’s lineup of performers and presenters includes Tony Bennett, Benny Blanco, Zac Brown, Michael Buble, Ledisi, Ne-Yo, Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland, Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi, Bernie Taupin and Paul Williams.

de Armas’ “Arms & The Dudes” Set for March 2016 Release

Ana de Armas and her Dudes will be hitting theaters next March…

Warner Bros. has set the release date for Arms & The Dudes, starring the 27-year-old Cuban actress, for March 11, 2016.

Ana de Armas

Based on the Rolling Stone article by Guy Lawson, the film follows two arms dealers Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz, who get a government contract to supply weapons for US troops in Afghanistan.

The is set for release on March 11, 2016.

de Armas portrays Iz in the Todd Phillips-directed biographical crime comedy, which also stars Jonah HillMiles Teller and J. B. Blanc.

de Armas’ will next appear in the Edgar Ramirez-starrer Hands of Stone, which tells the story of boxing legend Roberto Duran.