‘We Can’t Stop’ Video Director Talks Miley Cyrus’ Party Girl Rep And Twerking Bears
You know what, one of those portable speaker things would be awesome to have at the pool. I really need some Eos lip balm. And you know what would be fun? Let’s make a skull out of the leftover French fries in my car.
Miley Cyrus has taken over my brain, y’all.
The singer delivered her newest music video nearly two days ago, and I’m only a slightly embarrassed to admit that I’ve listened to the song at least once every time I’ve gotten into my car since.
Not only does the song refuse to let go of its hold on your brain, but its corresponding video has forced images of rebellion and product placement onto the psyche of anyone who’s watched it from start to finish.
Thankfully, Celebuzz had the opportunity to speak exclusively with Diane Martel, the director of said music video (who’s worked with the likes of Justin Timberlake, Ciara and Robin Thicke) — and she was kind enough to shed some light on what in the hell everyone was thinking when they included twerking dancing bears and amputated limbs.
CB!: How did the Miley Cyrus-Diane Martel collaboration come to fruition?
DM: Miley and I met through a mutual friend and collaborator, Pharrell Williams. He thought we would get along. We spoke about friend love and the joy of sleepless nights spent in revelry with a tight crew of friends.
CB!: What’s the message you wanted the video to convey?
DM: I think the indirect message is to be free. I enjoy the idea that an American pop icon can have surreal imagery in her video. Miley has a very open mind and, like the lovely kids born with the internet as their companion, she’s got a wealth of references to play with. We spoke at first about intimacy between friends, but I think the video is more about her intimacy with her audience. She’s very playful and silly in the video. She’s not self serious and boorish like so many singers.
CB!: Is there an underlying message Miley wanted to come through?
DM: She’s into living freely and being expressive. Its a great time for her and she’s enjoying her life. She is not a kid who is obsessed with her career in a way that precludes having normal friendships and normal fun.
CB!: Some have wondered if the video is a parody of Miley’s reported reputation as a party girl. What do you think?
DM: She’s no more of a party girl than any other American kid. If you can’t party when you are her age, when can you party?
CB!: Does that mean we’re saying goodbye to the Disney girl her fans have grown up with?
DM: Don’t we all grow up?
CB!: When it came to the interesting and artsy pops of video surprises — for example, the French fry skull, piñata, bed of bread, giant dancing bears, Miley’s doll-kissing moment, and tons of twerking — was all of that Miley’s idea?
DM: They are giant blunts [in the pinata].
Miley found a photo online of the French fry skull and sent it to me. It was a beautiful French fry skull. We were inspired by it and recreated it our own way. After we filmed we found out that it was created by a fine artist named Christopher Chiappa.
The taxidermy was something Miley mentioned early on, and my fabulous art director, Georgia Walker, found in a smarmy prop shop. The lyric with the multiple taxidermy deer image is very touching. It almost makes us cry when we see that shot. The doll is a weird reference to a Helmet Newton photo. I worked on the idea with a friend, Aramis Isreal, who is a creative director and has worked on a lot of successful ads. We gathered a lot of blogged images and worked them into the shot list.
The bread was my idea, bread/cash, etc. And I have a background in performance art, so a lot of the stuff came from the corners of my mind.
The cut off fingers came about when we were on location scouting in the kitchen and I said, ‘oh someone has to cut off their fingers.’ I grew up on Devo and John Waters, so that might inform some of this stuff.
CB!: How involved was Miley in the conceptual planning?
DM: She let me go, she’s amazing to work for.
CB!: Tell us your favorite part of the shoot.
DM: I loved the whole shoot, I cant wait to work with her again. She is the sh*t.
CB!: To wrap it up, you must have a funniest (and fun) memory of shooting with Miley. What is it?
DM: I asked her to sing “Jolene” for me and she did when she was in the pool. She was so beautiful singing that song, so free and sweet. And her voice is quite beautiful, that was really touching.
The whole thing was funny. The teddy bear twerker scene was pretty f*cking funny. She kept dancing really crazy style and turning toward the camera doing really funny ‘modeling.’ We were dying calling it her modeling. She’s a very, very funny smart girl. Look out world.
Watch the “We Can’t Stop” video below and click through CB!’s behind-the-scenes gallery above. Full lyrics for “We Can’t Stop” are now available on Directlyrics.