Britney Spears and will.i.am’s video for “Scream & Shout” is an eye-popping feast for the eyes, full of pricy gadgets, surreal images and funky dancers. When director Ben Mor was approached by his pal will.i.am to work on the clip, he had one word in mind: “iconic.”
And very few artists are more iconic than Miss Spears when it comes to the world of music videos. Mor has worked with will and the Black Eyed Peas a number of times in the past, but this marked the first time he’s worked with the video legend.
“I was very, very excited. Needless to say, I’ve always wanted to work with her and so completely looking forward to it, super stoked that I finally get to work with her,” he told MTV News. “And she was absolutely super professional. [She] wasted no time, showed up before anybody else. [She] was spot on time, not a minute late. Her hair and makeup team, her glam team was amazing to work with. She did her thing. It was awesome to watch. She just lights up. The music kicks in, and it was just awesome. I can’t say enough good things about her and her team. They were just awesome.”
While it marks Mor’s first project with Spears, this is not the first collaboration for Spears and will.i.am, who previously worked together on the 2011 Femme Fatale track “Big Fat Bass.” “They definitely have like a brother/sister kind of camaraderie,” Mor said. “You can tell they’re comfortable around each other. … Completely friendly, just completely natural. They were just sweet, effortless.”
Brit, in her body-hugging, midriff-baring getup, stands as one of the most intriguing images in the video, but Mor broke down a few of the other eye-catching sequences in the clip. Mor said the clip “was essentially trying to reduce what the song is about to symbols. And that’s what it was … just really keeping it clean and iconic.”
Fans were treated to multiple Brits and wills in the clip, in the form of computer-generated clones. That image, Mor said, was picked to vibe with the futuristic theme. “Again, I think when I decided on the style, I knew it was going to be sleek, minimalist. I knew it was going to have a white environment, a black environment, and I knew that I was going to a fashion kind of world, so it’s almost like a moving fashion spread. Making them multiple matched the beat and visually popped. It’s just a stylist choice. It didn’t take too much brains to figure out it looked fresh,” he said, adding, “What’s better than 10 Britneys, you know?”
Then there is the equally unforgettable scene of will and his clique, mounted on the wall like hunted animals. “There’s no deep meaning to any of it. It certainly wasn’t trying to produce any narrative,” he said. “So to me it was just about, you know, every scene is like a photo. I just liked it, I liked seeing the human heads, and I liked seeing the gold chains off of the plaques and then making it scroll. And then it was an awesome way to introduce characters, some friends of will … so that it wasn’t just about them.”
Mor added: “It was about trying to show some youth culture. To us, we both like what’s going on with all the GIF madness. GIFs are kind of like the new photos. The whole video is like hundreds of GIFs put together, if you will.”
Then there is also the constant repeating image of the golden disco balls in flames. His reason for including that image was pretty simple: “I got the image in my head like I wanted to see a disco ball on fire.”
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