Nelly Furtado says it’s her own fault. The singer wanted her video for “Maneater” to have an edge, but every idea she came up with wound up being dangerously edgy.
“There’s two types of shoots,” she explained. “There’s the comfortable ones, where you’re in Hawaii. And then there’s the ’looks really cool,’ torture shoot, like you’re walking in five inches of mud in open-toe sandals. That’s the sacrifice you make.”
So for “Maneater,” Furtado and director Anthony Mandler decided not to go the happy-in-Hawaii route, and instead came up with a plot they thought shouted “danger!” — the singer stumbles upon an underground, “Fight Club”-esque party where she has to tame the revelers into dancing with her. But that meant Nelly would have to dance.
Furtado might seem like a regular dancing queen based on her performance grooving in the clip for “Promiscuous,” but in truth, the “Maneater” video was shot first, meaning the singer was still a newbie when she stepped on the “Maneater” set (see “Nelly Furtado Says She Can Be Brainy, Funny And ’Promiscuous’ “ ). She scheduled extra practice sessions to sharpen her skills, however this safety measure turned out to be anything but: Furtado slipped and fell during rehearsal.
“Mind you, not being a professional dancer, and kind of doing choreography for the first time, my feet were really swollen,” Furtado said. “I had to put them in a sink of ice at my hotel, which hurts. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to dance, I could hardly walk. I was in so much pain. It was like dancer initiation rights.”
Since she already had swollen feet, Nelly tried to avoid developing a swollen face to match. “For some reason I told the director I wanted to have a big, big dog in the video,” Furtado said, “but I’m allergic to dogs.” If Furtado touches a dog and then her face, it swells and gets “really itchy.” So every time she came into contact with the dog cast for the shoot, she had to wash her hands — not always the most convenient thing to do in between takes. “I was just doing wet wipes the whole day, and going, ’Who came up with this crazy idea? Oh, me.’ ”
Nelly’s other crazy ideas? Dancing in a flaming room (so she was at risk of being burned) and on the edge of a rooftop (so she was at risk of falling). “The rooftop scene, we were on this big slanted part, and it was actually kind of dangerous,” Furtado said. “There was a big cliff 100 feet down or whatever, and everyone thought I was getting too close to the edge.” She shrugged it off with a simple, “I have good balance.”
With so many safety protocols to keep in mind, it’s no wonder Furtado forgot about one of the most hazardous dangers on the set: The chain-link fence she was thrash-dancing against had real barbed wire on the top. “I’m dancing, and I’m supposed to have a sense of abandon,” she said. “I got so lost in it that I didn’t realize that I was putting my hand right — boom! — on the barbed wire.”
Luckily, she only slashed open a finger, and the nasty cut didn’t deter her from completing “Maneater” on schedule. “Doing the rest of the video from there was a breeze,” she laughed. “Besides, I like to walk on the dangerous side of life.”