Well, at least we can assume that everyone involved had the best intentions.
Paul McCartney directed the video for his latest single and based on pure aesthetics and originality, it’s a lovely clip. Shot in black and white, “My Valentine” features Oscar winner Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp, star of one of our most anticipated summer movies, “Dark Shadows,” emoting heavily while using sign language to perform the song’s lyrics.
So that’s cool and interesting and Depp and Portman really do have two of the most compelling faces in the world. But as Spinner reports, they maybe didn’t have their signing down quite as well as they should have when the cameras were rolling.
Deaf music fans, including the British Deaf Association, have pointed out that at one point in the clip Depp signs the word “enemy” while attempting “valentine,” and later both he and Portman make a mildly embarrassing error, signing the word “tampon” instead of the word “appear.”
A spokesperson for the Association said, “The sign for tampon does seem to come up from both Johnny and Natalie, which causes some confusion, especially as American and British sign languages are different.”
To be fair, sign is a very subtle-but-specific language and even the slightest changes in motion and/or facial expression can dramatically alter the meaning of something. The organization laments that McCartney did not use actual deaf performers for the clip, but is effusive with praise, regardless of the minor problems, for McCartney, Depp and Portman for “highlighting the use of sign language” in what the org sees as “more a poetic expression” than a sign lesson.
Check the video out after the jump!