In her video for "Back to December," Taylor Swift finds herself and her home covered in snow while she contemplates the best way to apologize to her former beau, played by model Guntars Asmanis, for breaking his heart. Director Yoann Lemoine tells MTV News that he had a certain aesthetic he wanted to capture for the chilly clip, which was shot partly in Nashville (for Swift's scenes) and Upstate New York (for Asmanis' scenes) in December.
"I wanted the video to be very simple and metaphorical at the same time," the Frenchman explained. "I wanted to work on the coldness of feelings in a very visual way, playing with the snow, the distance and sadness. [Taylor] really liked it. The winter theme was very interesting to me — the snow, the ice. I even wanted the guy to go swim in frozen lakes at some point. It was not possible, but I wanted to translate how you feel sometime when your heart is broken.
The snow in the apartment is supposed to show how connected she is to him. He is outside, in the cold, but somehow she is connected to him."
Swift pretty much let Lemoine have control over the clip's look and feel, although it was her idea to have her character leave the letter for her beloved. As for Swift's look in the video, Lemoine says he was focused on making sure that it all felt real and that she came off as accessible.
"I have been going through a lot of videos and pictures of her on the Internet trying to find the best angle and style for her. I wanted people to feel like they would get to know her very intimately, and really trust in what she was saying," he explained. "I wanted her to perform a very natural way, to make her look very European. This was the main challenge to me. All of Taylor's world is very far away from my culture, but I saw something in her that could be very rough and heartbreaking; far from the princess glittery outfits and glam that she often goes for."
As for Asmanis, the duo agreed that he was the perfect fit for the part. "I wanted a boy that was fragile and beautiful. I didn't want to go for a hunk or a perfect cheesy boy that would have killed the sincerity of the video," Lemoine said. "I just imagined a face that would enhance the fragility of the video. We did cast a couple of boys and both Taylor and I loved Guntars."