LOS ANGELES — It's usually not a good idea for a band to hire one of its friends to direct a video. In Ringside's case, however, it turned a low-budget, straight-to-Internet project into a massive production.
"He went in to the label and sold it," Ringside beat master/ actor Balthazar Getty said on the set Thursday.
"Joaq's real good at the pitch," singer Scott Thomas added (see "Ringside: The Coolest Beatbox-Pop Band On ... Fred Durst's Label?!").
"Joaq," their friend, would be actor Joaquin Phoenix, who even surprised himself with the clout he brought to the video.
"Up until a month ago we were just going to be running around with video cameras," he said. "Now there's guys that have stuff in their belts, like tape. It's, like, official."
Depending on who you ask, the video for "Tired of Being Sorry (a.k.a. Spanishfaster)" was conceived either solely by Phoenix, as Thomas and Getty insist, or by all three.
"It opens with Scott about to get married and I'm his best man and then, with a camera effect, we sort of go back in time and he's getting prepared for a big fight," Getty explained. "And I'm his trainer and as he's preparing for the fight. We come out [to the ring], people are cheering. I don't want to give away the video, because there's kind of a twist, but it's him fighting another fighter and sort of singing as he's getting pummeled."
"We were in [Joaquin's] kitchen late one night and he had come up with this idea and he walked me through every shot of this video, like beginning to end," Thomas said. "And it's incredible to look at the monitors right now and actually see everything that he had explained to me. And it's just as he explained. ... He really came through."
Ringside had originally strayed from boxing ideas because of their name, but they liked this one too much to pass on it.
"I think it's just a coincidence that we're Ringside and the theme of the video is a boxing thing," Getty said. "It's more a metaphor for what the song is about."
Thomas joked that he forgets what "Tired of Being Sorry (a.k.a. Spanishfaster)" is in fact about, but that he thinks it has "something to do with somebody standing under somebody's doorway saying, 'Come back to me. I'm sorry. I messed up.' "
" 'Tired of Being Sorry' is one of the lines everyone can relate to," Getty added.
With Phoenix behind the camera, Ringside figured, why not invite more of their famous friends to get involved? Erika Christensen plays a trainer and Casey Affleck is a guy in the crowd who gets into a fight of his own. Dermot Mulroney, Patricia Arquette, Thomas Jane and Jason Bateman were also invited to make cameos.
"When you see these fights on TV you see all these celebrities in the front row, so we thought it'd be funny if we called in some of our friends," said Getty, who has starred in "Lost Highway" and "Ladder 49."
"But it's anyone's guess as to who's gonna end up coming down because we had to turn our phones off and actually start doing this thing," Thomas said. "And all morning it was like, 'How do I get there?' "
Phoenix and Ringside also cast other friends and family as extras, and singer Kenna, who helped sign the band, visited the set to show support.
"It's been such a group effort," Getty said. "When you're a new band and you have limited resources, you end up getting people that are there because they love what you do, and that's great."
Phoenix came into the shoot with detailed shot lists and ideas of exactly how things should look, down to the ringing of the bell at the start of each round. Still, the crew was behind schedule by early evening.
"It's a little premature to be doing an interview, considering we probably won't make the day['s scheduled shots]," Phoenix joked.
"Maybe we can use this [interview] somehow as a video — I mean, maybe this is it," Thomas suggested. "Just an idea, putting it out there."
Or maybe sticking to letting their friend direct is the best idea.
Check out everything we've got on Joaquin Phoenix.