By the time 2008 rolled around, [artist id="501686"]Britney Spears[/artist] had once again taken her rightful place as the pre-eminent princess of pop. There was no question about it: Britney was back and “Womanizer” confirmed it. After all, what better way to show everyone you’re back than to appear naked in a sauna?
“It was an actual sauna and we built a big tent around it … and Britney, naked again. I guess I have one of the best jobs in the world,” Joseph Kahn, who also shot Britney in the nude for her “Toxic” clip , told MTV News. “I was like, ‘You know, if we do this video, and she went through all this work to get a new paint job, I was gonna show off the paint job — she’s gonna be naked in this video.’ ”
The idea, however, like so many videos before, was all Britney’s suggestion. “She pitched to me a very detailed idea of what she wanted to do,” Kahn explained. “She wanted to dress up in costume, she wanted to follow her man to work, and she eventually wanted to show at the end that she is all three of those women.”
He went on to say that this video was the one where he and Britney would prove that she was still at the top of her game. “It was, like, her first video that no one really knew if she could even come on set, you know? It was just a big question as to you know, like, what would that video look like?” he said. “What shape would she be in? Can she really dance? Can she perform? Who is she at this point?
” ‘Womanizer,’ for me, was a great experience on a personal level, because it completely verified that she was coming back,” he continued. “By the time I worked with her on ‘Womanizer,’ you know, that was the Britney that I knew and it was a fun experience for me.”
Kahn had to basically turn the video around overnight, and it was worth all the hard work — the video quickly became a fan favorite. “By the time it got out — and the beautiful thing about the Internet is that you get instant reaction — the reaction seemed to be very positive. I’m going to sound like such a wuss, but I think I cried,” he said. “That sounds super lame, but come on, man — that’s five days of some serious stress. And I had to end the video on her smiling, for sure. Like, we just need to tell everybody that she’s OK.”
With the release of Britney Spears: The Singles Collection, MTV News is looking back on the pop star’s career through interviews with video directors, music-industry insiders and Spears herself, as she reflects on some of her greatest hits. Keep coming back for all things Britney, and let us know your favorite Brit songs, videos, memories and more in the comments below — and if you think you’re Britney’s biggest fan, enter our contest to win a free copy of the album!