The hills are alive ... with Gwen Stefani.
The singer is obsessed with "The Sound of Music," in case you couldn't tell by the sample of "The Lonely Goatherd" she dropped into her new Sweet Escape single, "Wind It Up" (see "Gwen Stefani's New LP, The Sweet Escape, Set For December"). To drive home the message, Stefani's new video, directed by Sophie Muller, re-creates the movie, with Gwen as Maria and her Harajuku Girls as some of the von Trapp kids. In blond wigs, of course.
"It'll be really cool-looking," Stefani said of the clip, which is heavy on geometric shapes. "I remember when I was a little girl and saw 'The Sound of Music,' it was such a huge inspiration for me. It was a huge staple forever. If you go see it, you can see all the references [from the video]."
For instance, she makes the hills come alive with the sound of music — just as Julie Andrews did when she played Maria in the 1965 movie. Most of the scenes incorporate background projection to give the video an overly simplified feel, and extreme, oversize props to make it seem a little surreal. Then there's the freestanding curtain that Gwen realizes she can make clothes out of, since it's so sculptural. She designs sailor outfits for her Harajuku Girls — making the most of her fashion know-how and possibly leading to another spinoff, considering she sings, "They like that way that L.A.M.B. is going across my shirt/ They like the way my pants, it complements my shape."
Then on an oversize brass bed/trampoline, Gwen sings to her "children," now in nightclothes, as the Harajuku Girls and a few Harajuku Boys tumble around and thunder and lightning erupt.
Not every scene is straight from the film, though — besides playing Maria, Gwen also plays conductor to the orchestra, standing on stepped risers in silhouette. It's reminiscent of "Fantasia." "Obviously, the orchestra is [really] the sample," Stefani said.
There's also an "underwater" scene that isn't really underwater at all. In that portion of the video, the atmosphere is made dense with cracked oil smoke, and flickering lights and winds help give the impression that a chained and handcuffed Gwen is submerged, trying to play escape artist. To get out, Gwen needs to find the right key. "There's a wind-up key, a big one, a medium one, the little one, and let's not forget the baby one," Stefani said. The oversize key is unwieldy, as it's a little less than human height. The midsize key is used to "wind up" the Harajuku Girls. The one Gwen needs is the tiniest, which can fit on her tongue. Now that's a feat: singing and hiding a key in your mouth at the same time.
The video premieres Friday (November 10) on MTV, Monday on "TRL" and will be featured on an installment of "Making the Video" that will air November 20 at 4:30 p.m.