Stop The Presses!

Mumford & Sons Wanted to Get Funny With ‘Babel’ Before ‘Hopeless Wanderer’

Stop The Presses!

By now you and more than 3.4 million other humans have seen Mumford & Sons' hilarious new video for "Hopeless Wanderer," which features comedic actors Jason Bateman, Ed Helms, Will Forte and Jason Sudeikis taking the piss out of the band's whole beards-and-banjos aesthetic.

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What you might not know is that Mumford & Sons wanted to give "Babel," the title track from their second studio album, the parody treatment, but director Sam Jones didn't think it was the right tune for the spoof. (Instead, the band released a straight black-and-white performance clip for that track back in July.)

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"I said it just wouldn't work," the director told the Los Angeles Times. The band's members also wanted to help select the actor who would appear in the video. "Too late," said Jones, who has lensed clips for Foo Fighters and the Wallflowers, as well as directing the Wilco documentary I Am Trying to Break Your Heart. "We've already cast it. They were cool about it."

Helms originally want to play Winston Marshall, since he plays the banjo, but The Hangover star looks more like piano player Ben Lovett, so his request was rejected. "That was another disappointment for Ed," Jones told the Times, because Helms was hoping he could show off his banjo skills. In the clip, it's Marshall's fast fingers playing the banjo in the close-ups, not Bateman's.

It was Sudeikis, whom Jones had met on a photo shoot, who was first to sign on for the clip. He in turn called Bateman; and not long after, Helms and Forte had joined the fold. Although the video features the band's original track, so the actors only had to lip-sync, Sudeikis sill sang along on every take at full volume.

When it came time for the band to trash their instruments in one scene, Forte went full-on Pete Townshend, destroying several banjos with a mighty swing of his bass. It left the band one banjo shy of a complete set for a dance scene, leaving a prop employee scrambling to locate another instrument so they could finish the scene.

In the end, however, it all worked out. "The band loved it – they didn't want to change a thing," Jones said. "I'm obviously so excited that everybody is watching it. It was one of those rare experiences where the record company and the band really let me do what I wanted to do."

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