Heartstopper’s William Gao stars in new music video from Past Lives director

Heartstopper actor Laufey in a cream buttoned jumper and grey rollneck with parted black hair stood against a blue, white, pink, red and green background with logos on it.

Heartstopper favourite William Gao is an absent lover in a new music video from Grammy Award-winning artist Laufey and celebrated South Korean director Celine Song.

In the video for “Goddess”, Laufey plays a woman let down by a partner who is allowing the distance between them to grow.

As the song’s lyrics reveal, he is in love with the glamorous Aphrodite (Laufey) that he’s seen on stage, but is uninterested in her as a person when they’re alone.

Actor and musician Gao, best known as Tao Xu in Alice Oseman’s queer drama Heartstopper, plays the aloof lover with ease. In one scene, the pair begin to get intimate as he strips off his t-shirt, but rather than heat up, the air between them gets frosty.

Gao will reprise his role in season three of Heartstopper from October, but Laufey told Variety that she got to know the actor through his own musical endeavours rather than from the Netflix show.

Gao and his sister, Olivia Hardy, are is in a band together.

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“I think he followed me and a lot of my fans were like, ‘Oh, Will from Heartstopper follows you? And I was like: ‘Oh, I didn’t even realise’,” the Icelandic singer-songwriter said.

“I discovered their band on Spotify one day, and it turned out that we were on the same label, so I was like: ‘We must hang out’.

“I messaged them when I was in London over a year ago, and we hung out, and then we became friends.

“Their band is called Wasia Project and I am – as they say – ‘Wasian’ as well, which is half-white and half-Asian, [so] we bonded over those experiences as well. They are half-Chinese.

“When it came to finding somebody for the music video and working with Celine, it was quite important to me to find somebody who also had that kind of shared background of coming from Asian descent.”

Laufey, whose full name is Laufey Lín Bing Jónsdóttir, also revealed that Wasia Project would be supporting her on an upcoming tour.

Yasmin Finney and William Gao in Heartstopper.
William Gao with Yasmin Finney in Heartstopper. (Netflix)

The five-minute film is directed by Song, the creator of last year’s Past Lives, which was nominated for the BAFTAs, Golden Globes and an Oscar. It’s the first time she’s lent her talents to directing a music video.

“Goddess” is the first single from the deluxe version of Laufey’s album Bewitched, which won the best traditional pop vocal album award at the 2024 Grammys.

Fans online have called the new video “jaw-dropping” and “haunting”, with one writing: “I can’t stop my tears while watching this.”