On Wednesday, hours after the premiere of Lana Del Rey and A$AP Rocky’s controversial “National Anthem” video, director Anthony Mandler spoke to MTV News about making the clip and dealing with the “packed powder keg” of public sentiment surrounding JFK and his legacy.
“Lana was really interested in exploring this loss of innocence, this idea that what you think you’re experiencing is maybe not what it’s always going to be,” he explained. “Because when you say ‘Kennedy,’ that immediately evokes something … so I think using that power, that pedigree of the story is a really fascinating place to show the loss of something, the breakdown of something.”
And that sentiment is very much echoed throughout the “Anthem” video, as Mandler explores the triangular relationship between Del Rey’s Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy and A$AP’s JFK, a love story with a very tragic (and public) end. It’s a story line he knew would stir up controversy, as was his decision to re-cast Jackie and JFK as an interracial couple — “Even with an African-American president [today], it’s still … taboo, even if it shouldn’t be,” he said — though, in a lot of ways, that was precisely the point.
While he spent a large portion of our Skype interview discussing the fallout from the video, Mandler also spoke at length about the stories behind the video, from getting the fashions of the 1960s just right to shooting on multiple formats to ensure an authentic look. So, in the video above, we have Mandler’s running commentary on “National Anthem,” a clip that proudly pushes people’s buttons. As is the case with most controversial works, you might not agree with the video’s message, but you can definitely appreciate the effort that went into its creation.
What did you think of Lana Del Rey’s “National Anthem” video? Let us know in the comments !