After making “Paparazzi” together in 2009, [artist id="3061469"]Lady Gaga[/artist] and Jonas Åkerlund decided to reunite for “Telephone” — a production that would be not just a music video, but a nearly 10-minute-long mini-movie. The director says that filming Beyoncé and Gaga in the elaborate pop-culture homage to Quentin Tarantino, female prison movies and Madonna — among many other things — took a bit of tricky schedule maneuvering on his part.
Gaga called Åkerlund late last year with her idea for the video, in which B bails her out of jail before they go on a killing spree. “Gaga is on the tour so her time is very limited,” he told MTV News. “We actually had one slot to shoot it early January, so I got the call over Christmas and it was supposed to happen really, really fast.
“And also, obviously, Beyoncé’s schedule is super tight,” he continued. “But it was not possible to make it that fast, so we managed to find two other dates just before Grammys here in L.A., when everyone was here at the same time. So that’s when we shot it.”
While many artists leave their videos entirely in the hands of the director, Åkerlund said that Gaga is very hands-on. “Gaga’s a little different because she has like the first [idea], which makes my job easier,” he said. “She always has the first couple [ideas] to tell you. So, based on what she tells me, I write a treatment, she has comments on it. So that’s how we go into the ideas. She’s boiling. Her brain is amazing. She’s filled with ideas.
“She writes music and thinks [of] images and wardrobe and all those things that are important for videos,” he continued. “It’s more like a concept than just me being a director for hire and doing a video and I’m out. It’s a natural part for her. She’s that generation of artists that think about all these things.”