Security was Fort-Knox-tight on the set of Fall Out Boy’s new video — for their cover of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” — and not just because of the whole “Is Pete Wentz a daddy-to-be?” drama that’s been following the band for a week now.
No, the reason we’re not allowed to actually show you anything from the shoot is because the guys in FOB are rather worried that you’ll make fun of the clothes they’ve been forced to wear by director Shane C. Drake — which could generously be described as “Poison-meets-Spandau Ballet/ NKOTB,” only w-a-a-y more embarrassing.
“Shane described the treatment to me, and I didn’t get it at all. I mean, it’s cool, it’s awesome, and I trust his vision, but it all sounded very strange to me, so I don’t really know what I’m doing half the time, hence the reason I got talked into wearing this,” Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump laughed, pulling at his tattered acid-washed jeans and varsity jacket. “I think we’re shooting for 1984, but it looks as though 1988 exploded all over me. I mean, these clothes are totally not strange at all, and they’re very comfortable. And they look great on me.”
“My costume is this take on one of the guys from Michael Jackson’s original ’Beat It’ video, like, the guy who plays the rival dancer,” bassist Wentz added. “He’s in this yacht gear/ dance-gang-fight-gear-attire get-up. Which is amazing. I look pretty good.”
Take our word for it: The costumes are pretty epic. And aside from the fashion, here’s what else we can tell you about the “Beat It” video: It’s less of a remake of MJ’s original clip as it is an homage to the Gloved One’s entire oeuvre, with cameos aplenty. In fact, while we were on set, we witnessed FOB wandering a Chinatown alleyway, only to stumble onto a karate class/ impromptu-dance session being taught by Tony Hale, who most (OK, most with taste) know from his role as Buster Bluth on the late, lamented “Arrested Development.”
“I think when you’re doing a Michael Jackson cover, there’s this expectation that you’re going to do one of his videos verbatim,” Stump said. “What we decided to do was kind of inspired by Michael Jackson and the mythology of him. There are specific images that are reference points for us, but at any given point, it’s not any of his videos. It’s kind of all of his videos, all at once, but on a Fall Out Boy budget, so it’s not quite as fancy.”
“If there were all these places where MJ can make his comeback, I would suggest this video,” Wentz laughed. “He should really let the world know he’s still around. I don’t know what our budget is, but I know it does not include enough to get him here. Multiple calls were not returned. I don’t think Michael Jackson has a number.”
And even though the budget is a tad bit low by MJ standards, Fall Out Boy promise that fans can still look forward to a spectacle worthy of the King of Pop, which means elaborate costuming, exotic locales and, of course, lots and lots of dancing … just not a whole lot of if being done by anyone actually in Fall Out Boy.
“There’s not too much dancing coming from us. I think other members of the band may be doing some dancing, but I don’t dance. Gangsters kinda boogie, you know what I’m saying?” Wentz said. “I think trying to emulate Michael Jackson is funny. You can’t do it that well. If you try and do it, it’s kind of a bummer. Chris Brown pulls it off very well, I’ve seen some Japanese people who can bring it around … I personally can’t, so I won’t go and embarrass myself or anyone else.”