Taking a creative and “really weird” approach to the video turned out to be a success, and some of the credit for that belongs to Steve Troop and BJ Guyer of Puppet Design Studios, who both co-designed the puppet. The duo, who normally have three to four weeks to design a puppet, were given only a week to bring Ed’s red-hair, tattooed arms and fuzzy beard to life.
“There was constant input from Ed’s staff as to the look of the character. I did something like 150 drawings of Ed that eventually honed in on the look of the puppet,” Troop told MTV News. “We also got extensive photo references of his tattoos for me to hand draw onto the finished puppet with a Sharpie. There’s a fine line between being a caricature of someone and being a parody of someone — but when you hit it, everyone knows it.”
And while they did study Ed’s onstage mannerisms to get an idea of how the puppet should act, all that was thrown out the window when director Emil Nava decided that he should represent everything the pop-star singer is not.
“He really wanted him to be the anti-Ed,” said Guyer. “So we pulled away from all that, and created this character that was kind of the opposite of Ed so he was more physical, he moves a lot more, his mannerisms are a lot more high energy, where Ed is more low-energy and more approachable.”
Troop added, “The great thing about using puppets is that you can have it do things that the actual person might be hesitant to do — like kissing strippers or stealing cars or whatnot. With an actual person, they get a reputation — with a puppet, everybody sees the humor of it all.”
And it seemed the “Sing” singer, who is releasing his second album Multiply next month, couldn’t have been more excited with the finished product.
“He really loved it, he’s really a charming, just quite really humble type of person. He’s so laid back and so mellow, but you could see he had a big smile,” Guyer said. “He was very comfortable right off the bat, a lot of times people are nervous or anxious around puppets, but he didn’t have a problem with it, he was interacting and playing around.”
In fact, Ed got along so well with the puppet, that they might just collaborate again in the future.
“We sent the puppet off to the label, and the label wants to hang on to the character and there was talk of maybe doing secret appearances with the puppet or future appearances and I would love to see that, that would be fantastic.”