Francesco Carrozzini may have directed one of the most emotional videos on Beyoncé's new self-titled record, but when Beyoncé dropped unexpectedly early Friday morning (December 13), he was just as surprised as the rest of us poor schlubs.
"Very surprising day! " Carrozzini told MTV News. "I found out because someone told me, 'Oh, sh--, you did a Beyoncé video.' I was like, 'Yes... How do you know?' And he was like, 'Well, it's on iTunes.' And I was like, 'Oh, cool.'"
The photographer/director shot the music video for heart-wrenching jam "Jealous" about three weeks ago in New York City, after receiving a call from Bey's camp a few days prior.
"Well, you know, when you work with Beyoncé...there's always kind of a secretness to everything you do, because, of course, she's such a star," he said. "Sometimes expectation is what really ruins things for people. That's what's proved by the way she released this video — how everyone is talking about it."
The video was a directorial collaboration between Beyoncé, Carrozzini and former Flaunt creative director Todd Tourso, who also worked on other tracks and videos on the record.
"It's her storyline," Carrozzini said of the process. "It's not the traditional way I would do a video — how I did for A$AP or for other artists where you just come up with an idea and present it to the artist." The director is relatively new to the music video game, having directed A$AP Rocky's "Phoenix" video as well as Banks' "Waiting Game" in 2013.
"She had a very precise storyline in her head and it was written and filled with references — and so a big part of the creativity is her," he added.
It's no surprise that Bey would be so hands-on with the video for the song, which tells the tale of a neglectful — and possibly cheating — lover.
The video picks up where the opulent (and sexxxy) "Partition" leaves off, with Bey sitting across from an unseen lover at a breakfast table, her coy glances ignored as he reads his paper. After wandering through an empty, Versailles-esque mansion for a bit — and waiting for her absentee lover, who she "cooked this meal for you naked" — Bey turns into her saucy alter ego, 'Yonce, and hits up a bar, where she flirts and straddles a pinball machine.
She's unable to distract herself for long, though, and she walks out into a cold, gray city street — only to be met by a sea of camera phones and hungry, prying fans.
According to Carrozzini, the fans' reactions in the video are wholly genuine, as Bey basically got out of a car on St. Marks in New York and the crew started rolling and filming passersby. "We really shot it — some people in the video did not know we were filming," he said.
"I think the real idea of the video is in a moment like that — in a private moment like that, she can never be by herself," Carrozzini said. "This song is not about someone who feels those emotions, it's about Beyoncé feeling those emotions. It's personal to her. It's her that cannot be by herself no matter where she goes or what she does, because she's who she is."
Naturally, then, the shoot was a very emotional experience for Beyoncé. "But it always is with her, really," the director said, having shot photos of Bey for outlets like Vogue. "There were some pictures that ended up in the magazine where she's crying," he said. "It's always been very much about emotions with her — not only about image."
Despite the emotional turmoil of the video, it does — in some ways — end on a hopeful note. After wandering through the amateur paparazzi gauntlet, Bey runs into her lover, whose face we never see, and flings herself into his arms.
When asked if the actor was intended to portray a specific person in Beyoncé's life, Carrozzini laughed. "She has [an idea], I'm sure," he said, coyly.
Well, he said he was good at keeping secrets.