When it came time to think up a treatment for “Payphone,” the first single off Maroon 5′s upcoming Overexposed album, frontman Adam Levine knew exactly what he wanted … he also knew there would be some occupational hazards involved in getting his way.
“The video is this crazy thing; it’s about a bank robber, it was actually an idea that I had, and Sam Bayer, who’s a brilliant director is doing it,” he told MTV News on the “Payphone” set. “I work at a bank and I wear these glasses that are really a bit creepy and maybe make me look like a child molester. It’s a real go-for-it, swing-for-the-fences video, I get brave and I steal a gun from one of the guys and try to be a bad-ass, which is weird, because I’m not a badass.”
And from his mind to an actual bank vault in Los Angeles, the “Payphone” video is shaping up to be a pretty epic clip … not to mention everything Levine imagined.
“I love to write video treatments; I would actually professionally write treatments. I don’t even want to direct anything. I just love coming up with outlandish, fun things that I’ve always wanted to do,” he said. “I don’t think they’ll be able to play it on MTV actually, because there’s guns in it. Maybe they’ll have to blur the guns out. But we decided to kind of not play by the rules, as far as the typical video goes; I’m sick of seeing just a band playing a song in a video, I think it’s fun to try to do something far more different.”
Of course, doing something different also means lining up none other than Wiz Khalifa to guest on the track, especially since, on Overexposed Levine said the band maintained a strict “no guests” approach (especially given the success of the Christina-Aguilera-guesting hit “Moves Like Jagger” ). Though, with the song completed and the video shot, Levine says he’s glad the band bent the rules to get Khalifa.
“Wiz is an amazing dude, and he’s just the future. He’s already so huge, but he hasn’t really done many big pop records, actually, so just the idea that he’d be interested in doing it was enough to get him involved. It was too good to pass up,” he said. “He’s a wonderful guy, he’s so creative and so quick … watching him in the studio, he was just so in it, within 30 minutes he had this incredible verse and he’d already knocked it out. That dude is really prolific and really talented.”