MALIBU, California — “Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer has a love/hate relationship with the sun as she makes her way around the set of the new video for Jack’s Mannequin . It could be part of her thing for vampires. On the other hand, it’s more likely her propensity to burn that has the writer ducking into a car, then under a tent, finally seeking shelter under a parasol someone else holds up for her, as if she were royalty.
But right now, Meyer desperately needs the sun — no matter how blazing — because she has only this one day to direct the clip for “The Resolution,” the first single from Mannequin’s upcoming album The Glass Passenger. And after 14 hours of shooting, she’s losing the light. “The schedule is pretty tight now,” she said.
Three set pieces are required for the video — the ocean, the desert and a mountaintop — so this spot in Malibu, just off Pacific Coast Highway on a road you might never notice otherwise, is ideal. Below the hill is the beach. Up the hill is a flat, sandy sagebrush-strewn area, which an assistant is sweeping to make it look like it hasn’t been driven on by the nearby flatbed truck carrying a piano. And then at the top of the hill is a breathtaking view of the coast.
“It’s all about what could you get to realistically in one day,” Meyer said of the location, “so you have the sense of traveling without really traveling. That was the tricky part.”
Meyer came up with the concept for the video after ruminating on the lyrics: “I can hear the sound of your voice still ringing in my ear/ I’m going underground but you find me anywhere I fear.” So, as singer/songwriter Andrew McMahon performs “The Resolution,” he’s lured into the ocean by the siren song of a mermaid with fire-red hair who wants him to be hers. He tries to resist, but he ends up ditching the piano for “a dip in the Pacific in all my clothes,” McMahon laughed.
“It’s sort of a fable,” Meyer said. “This mermaid doesn’t take no for an answer. The more he tries to get away from her, the greater lengths she goes to be able to reach him, and so that ends up meaning a lot of water climbing things. He’s running from the water. Even if he climbs a mountain, it still comes after him.”
“Essentially, the tide is rising and keeps following us,” McMahon said.
“To me, it references a relationship that was not healthy for one person, [but] that didn’t matter to the other person,” Meyer said. “They still wanted what they wanted, and I thought this was an interesting way of interpreting that. It’s really just normal relationship angst, and adding the supernatural element is just a way of making it a little more visual. Because, really, a couple not getting along is not as visual as an ocean stalking a person.”
After Meyer came up with the concept, she met up with a couple of friends to revisit music videos she loved, “just to get a sense of the style.” The viewing party included OK Go’s “Here It Goes Again” (the treadmill dance is “just quirky excellence,” she said), Brand New’s “Sic Transit Gloria … Glory Fades” and My Chemical Romance’s “Helena” (Meyer’s “personal favorite of all time, because it’s the first time interpretative dance really meant something”). The work of prolific video director Marc Webb features prominently in that mix, but Meyer doesn’t even begin to dream of being a director on his level.
“I don’t know much about directing,” she admitted. “It’s a total fluke. I’m just doing it because it’s fun and an experience I never had, and I didn’t want to turn it down. I certainly wouldn’t say I’m going to be a music director now! I don’t even know how to work the camera, and they won’t let me. They don’t want me to break things. I think ‘creative consultant’ is a much better word [for what I'm doing]. I’m just making sure the vision looks right.”
So don’t expect future music videos — even if she were to win a VMA down the road for this one. “I haven’t even thought about any of that!” Meyer said. “I would love to see it do well for Jack’s Mannequin. Anything good for them, I would love to see.”
But all she wants for herself is a chance to avoid the spotlight, even more than the California sun, if only for a little while. After months spent doing publicity for the “Twilight” movie and her latest book, “Breaking Dawn,” and in the aftermath of the leaked manuscript of the “Twilight” companion piece “Midnight Sun,” Meyer needs a break.
“I would like to spend some time being a hermit,” she said. “I look forward to doing that.”
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