In 2003, Britney Spears and Madonna decided to get their dance on together for Spears' lead single off In The Zone. It was a collaboration that came together after the pair locked lips at the VMAs that same year.
"I was in the middle of rehearsals for the VMAs and I played her the song, and she was like, 'That's your first single, right?' " Britney recalled. "I was like, 'Yeah, hopefully.' She was like, 'I really like it.' I was like, 'Really?' I was like, 'Well, you wanna do it with me?' She said, 'Yeah.' "
From there the idea was born and director Paul Hunter was tapped to try to capture the magic that had everyone buzzing after that now-famous kiss.
"Madonna is an icon of an earlier generation, and then Britney of the newer generation ... She was at her peak at that point," Hunter told MTV News in 2009 about the video. "So it was a challenge to kind of bring both of the worlds together. I wanted it to be a bit of a cat-and-mouse sort of game, and a little bit of a foreplay between Britney and Madonna, and just sort of tease the audience."
When Spears spoke about the video while on-set, she explained that the intention was always to tease the audience. "I never actually see Madonna or touch her; I just feel her presence there," she said. "[The song is] basically about just going to a club and letting yourself go and battling with whoever is around you and battling against the music as well. This is my first time doing a collaboration, and it's with Miss Madonna herself."
Hunter admitted that it was all about keeping it sexy, without actually going there. "I try to play opposites, when you have Britney in dark and Madonna in white," he said. "And then we see them kind of dance around the bed ... and you think they're gonna get on top of each other and do something crazy."
Don't miss Britney Spears' "Hold It Against Me" video premiere Thursday, February 17, at 9:56 p.m. ET on MTV and MTV.com, followed by a live discussion on MTV.com at 11 p.m. about the new clip and what's next for the pop star!