One Direction traveled back in time to their childhoods in their “Story of My Life” video . The visual gave the guys the chance to re-create some of their real-life childhood photos as adults, with their families joining them for the experience.
MTV News spoke to the video’s director, Ben Winston (who directed 1D’s VMA-winning “Best Song Ever” video ), who broke down some of the video’s key scenes, frame by frame.
The clip was shot several months ago in London in an underground theater very few people know about. “Absolutely everything you see in the video is real; there was no green screening at all,” Winston said. “All that big, wide area was true. Every single photo in the back of those shots is real, legitimate, of the boys when they were younger. If you want to zoom into any single photo, you’ll be able to find a frozen moment in time of the story of their lives.”
From there, it was all about picking the right photos to include in the clip, and making sure that every detail was just right.
“Zayn [Malik]’s photo is a very beautiful one. It’s him and his sister and they have a very close relationship. So when I was thinking about Zayn, I really wanted a photo of him and his sibling because he has three sisters and they all really look up to him and admire him and he really looks after them,” he said. “That one, I thought, was very sweet.”
Like Zayn’s snapshot, Winston also wanted to pay homage to Niall Horan’s relationship to one of his siblings. “Niall is very close to his brother, Greg,” he said. “They’re always laughing and playing together and when I saw that photo of the two of them playing violin and guitar as children, I really loved it, ’cause even if you spend time with them today, they’re just as close.”
But it wasn’t just about siblings for Winston. “For some of the photos, I wanted parents,” he said. “I’m Liam [Payne’s] photo, they’re all ready to go out on a night out, all very smart, very proudly dressed. So I thought that was a really great, strong, striking image.”
“Harry [Styles] has a hugely close relationship with his mom and she’s a big [part of] his life,” Winston added. “And it was important for me to try and find a photo of those two together because I think that’s a relationship that’s very lovely.”
While many of the photos are celebratory, Winston noted that Louis Tomlinson’s picture of his grandparents and great grandparents has a somber tone for a reason.
“I thought it was a gorgeous photo and then I phoned Louis’ mom… and she said ’Well, it will be difficult because his great grandma and his great grandpa, who are in that photo, unfortunately are no longer alive.’ It gave me the idea that actually that is part of life,” he said. “That’s part of the circle of life. [It’s a] sweet, moving moment.”
So, was it weird for the guys to film on sets that were perfect replicas of the locations in the pictures?
“I think, for a lot of them, it was scary seeing a room that we had built that looked like their old houses,” he said. “I think, for them, it was a little bit freaky.”