Roman White has directed videos for the likes of Seether, Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum, but none of those projects prepared him for rather unique challenge of working with Justin Bieber, an artist who demands a certain level of secrecy.
Then again, White has been down this path before (he directed the Biebs’ “One Less Lonely Girl” video in 2009). So when it came time for him to shoot the “Mistletoe” video, he was ready — and appropriately tight-lipped.
“We were casting, and everything had to be very secretive, so we were literally casting these girls, we couldn’t tell them who it was, and we couldn’t tell them any of the stuff, because we were trying to keep this shoot as much under wraps as we could,” White told MTV News following the premiere of the “Mistletoe” video. “So this girl came out, her name is Allie Williams, and she was my number one pick from the minute she walked in. So I ended up casting her [as Bieber’s love interest], and we went and did the fitting, and I got permission from my producer. … I told her who it was, and she was really excited to be in it, to say the least.”
As far as all that secrecy goes, judging by behind-the-scenes footage of the “Mistletoe” shoot, it was all for naught, as hundreds of Bieber fans showed up and squealed their way through the day.
“It did not work out so well,” White said, laughing. “But it could’ve been worse!”
White also revealed that his previous experience had prepared him for Bieber’s notorious on-set pranks. So when JB showed up sporting a seriously iced-out grill, the director wasn’t shocked.
“We were about to start shooting the first scene, and he was walking around, and he had this grill in the bottom of his teeth. It was bedazzled like you wouldn’t believe,” White explained. “He kept walking by me and just smiling a little bit so I would see it. I think he was trying to stress me out, because he knew that I wasn’t really going to want him to wear this glittery grill on the bottom of his teeth. And finally, I was like, ’We’re not going to wear that, are we?’ ”
Now that the “Mistletoe” video has premiered, White let us in on a little secret: There’s a whole lot more riding on it than viewers might imagine — like the Porsche Speedster that Bieber drives in the clip.
“When we were shooting the Porsche scene, and I told Justin, ’We should just buy this car and split it,’ and he was like, ’If this video wins an MTV Video Music Award, I’ll just buy you one,’ ” White said, laughing. “So I am starting the campaign right now … a Christmas video has probably never won anything, but it’s not about the award, it’s about the car.”
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