Jacob Tremblay is a national treasure. The 14-year-old wunderkind instilled heart into the Wonder adaptation, helped Brie Larson win an Oscar for Room, and scared the shit out of Rebecca Ferguson by playing Baseball Boy in Doctor Sleep. I was all set to poke fun at the kid for showing up in a Justin Bieber video, but then I watched the video itself, and got really emotional. We’ll dive into the video for the new track, “Lonely,” in a moment.
First, Jacob Tremblay was opening up to The Loop about how he ended up in the “Lonely” video playing a young version of Justin Bieber. We watch Tremblay backstage, getting ready to rehearse. But it’s not glamor and glitz. It’s isolation and emptiness. That wasn’t the case when Tremblay was preparing for the gig. He said he had to flee a crowded grocery store just to talk to the pop superstar:
It definitely feels really weird to say it, because it just sounds like it shouldn’t be happening but, I am in a Justin Bieber music video, which is something I would have never seen coming. I ended up getting a text message from Justin Bieber asking if I had any questions, which I did — I had a lot of questions. So we kind of organized that we would call each other some time, but we didn’t really get an exact time, so he ended up calling me when I was in the grocery store… I was like, to my parents, ‘I have to go outside because Justin Bieber’s calling me.'
Oddly enough, the two do look very similar, though it just might be the purple sweatshirt and white denim in his Never Say Never concert video. But when Justin Bieber knew that he needed a talented young actor to sell the loneliness that’s mirrored in the new song’s lyrics, he made the absolute right choice, because Jacob Tremblay really knows how to act. Here, watch the music video for yourself, but be prepared, because it’s more emotional than you might expect:
The video is a tremendous hit. It had amassed 3.8 million views in the first 14 hours (and counting), and is garnering tremendous comments for its authenticity. They are calling Justin Bieber a trendsetter, a great musician, and are renewing their inner “Beliebers,” a term we haven’t used since 2009.
But I’m also chalking this up as another notch on Jacob Tremblay’s acting belt, which is littered with memorable performances even though he’s barely a teenager. My favorite? It has to be his performance as Baseball Boy in Doctor Sleep, where his vicious performance terrified his co-stars (for reasons I can’t reveal), and will leave audiences trembling for Tremblay. Yeah, I went there. Sue me.