As if Selita Banks didn’t have enough to worry about on the Prague set of [url id="http://www.mtv.com/videos/?id=1650620"]Kanye West’s “Runaway”[/url] — making her most high-profile acting turn in his short film while wearing nothing but a few strategically placed feathers — she also faced the prospect of her first ever onscreen kiss.
Luckily, she and West were on the same page when it came to their smooch. “It was very PG,” she told MTV News. “There was nothing spicy.” (See what [url id="http://www.mtv.com/videos/?name=news&id=1650374"]Kanye had to say about Selita’s performance[/url] and more in our post-premiere interview.)
That didn’t stop the whole experience from being more than a little embarrassing. “It was very awkward,” she admitted. “And then everyone’s watching. That was actually my first onscreen kiss. That was very awkward. This is my homie, and then everyone’s watching and I’m giggling inside trying to stay in character.”
The kiss itself only lasts a few seconds in the film, which premiered Saturday on MTV at 8 p.m. As uncomfortable as it was, Ebanks noted that West was on-point as a director. “When Kanye was not on set, that’s when the craziness happened. Because it’s his story, his vision,” she explained. “Working with him was extremely easy. Very professional, very direct, knew exactly what he wanted.”
What he wanted was to create a work of art — focused on the magical relationship between West and Ebanks’ breathtaking phoenix — that captured his creative rebirth after a difficult and demoralizing period in his life. Ebanks, who has known West since they worked together on Pharrell’s “Number One” music video, could see the way in which her acting partner truly has changed and, in a sense, been reborn both as an artist and as a person.
“I’ve known him for a very long time, and I have to say, his whole outlook, his patience, the way he speaks to people, he’s learned a lesson,” she said. “The last few years of his life have been extremely hard. But it’s like I tell him: ‘Sometimes you have to go through those things. You have to be the phoenix.’ “