On the morning of April 27, 2000, you could find Joey Fatone in front of a mirror, towel draped around his shoulders, dozens of bright bulbs illuminating his new face as several hands perfected his eyebrows, hair and skin. After six hours, the prosthetic makeup needed to transform Joey and the rest of NSYNC into puppets for their "It's Gonna Be Me" video was finished, and for two days, they'd shoot the iconic clip with director Wayne Isham -- a process that was documented on MTV's "Making The Video."
A few weeks ago, in December, Fatone was back on set with Isham, but this time, he didn't have to sit through the hours-long makeup session. Instead, he groomed his goatee and slipped on a red- and white-striped top for his cameo in Fall Out Boy's "Irresistible," Isham's parody of his original video. Also on set was NSYNC bandmate Chris Kirkpatrick and Demi Lovato, along with the guys of Fall Out Boy -- Patrick Stump, Pete Wentz, Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley.
This time, FOB were the guys spending their morning in front of the mirror -- except, after 15 years of makeup renovations, it only took over an hour to apply all the "weird glue" that Isham required to turn them into doll-like versions of themselves. The idea to remake the "It's Gonna Be Me" sprouted from the mind of Wentz, but throughout the 18-hour shoot, there's no doubt that he questioned the whole idea and just wanted to rip off the annoying prosthetics for good.
When rewatching "It's Gonna Be Me," which followed doll versions of NSYNC as they escaped from a toy store, Wentz envisioned a sequel: "Where would our band have fit in that story?" he wrote on the Fall Out Boy blog. "Somewhere in that same store, was there a dollar bin full of toys that no one really wanted? That would band together like the misfit, offbrand little outsiders they were."
The "Irresistible" video, which was released on Tuesday, has a factory manager (Kirkpatrick) sending NSYNC dolls to the toy store -- giving his own figurine a smooch on the assembly line -- and tossing out FOB dolls as unwanted rejects. Lovato, who is featured on the "Irresistible" remix, salvages FOB's dolls from the trash and provides them with a shelf at the toy store, despite her boss (Fatone) giving clear preference to the NSYNC dolls. FOB come to life on the shelf, breaking out of their packaging, starting a miniature band and flirting with a Barbie.
Getting Kirkpatrick and Fatone for the video was fairly easy, since they already have a good relationship with FOB, and Isham was down from the start too. So, 15 years after the original, they started shooting.
"I thought it was a hilarious spoof/satire/whatever/take on the original video," Isham told me over the phone, calling from rainy California. "I was completely in for it."
But first, they needed to get some actual dolls for the shoot. Despite directing both the "Bye Bye Bye" and "It's Gonna Be Me" videos, Isham didn't have any of the original marionettes marketed to fans. Surprisingly, Kirkpatrick and Fatone didn't have them either. So, they took to Amazon.
"They all said, 'I don't have my doll,'" Isham recalled about Chris and Joey. "None of them had their own dolls. We researched where we could get the dolls. This is like a new generation of dolls that people are selling on Amazon and Ebay. We got the whole set."
But they'd have to make Fall Out Boy dolls special for the video too.
"We had [Fall Out Boy] take pictures of themselves from three or four different angles and their tattoos and everything else," Isham said. "Then we went around to a bunch of different sculptors, then found this company that makes bobble heads because their heads are bigger so you'd have to recognize them a little more. So we got them as bobble heads."
They made two bobbles for each guys, just in case, god forbid, an accident happened. And now, the band is running a contest to give the dolls to fans (you have to Shazam the remix for a chance to win).
Half of the "Irresistible" video is a performance, while the other has them acting as dolls, pulling off robot moves and trying to mimic bobble heads -- which is harder than you'd think: "I was like, 'Everybody bobble'," Isham said. "It was funny to look at each guy how they did their own interpretation of the bobble head."
Lovato and Fall Out Boy only had one day to shoot, since both acts were on tour, so the shots had to happen efficiently. But with two different perspectives involved -- the miniature one and the life-size one -- it was imperative that they get all their angles just right.
"They were all troupers," he said. "They understood everything about setting the shots up. You gotta line the angles up to make sure Demi's looking at the band and the angle of the band's performance."
The result made it look like Demi was directly interacting with a tiny FOB.
"The way they performed as a band as dolls I thought was very funny," he said. "They all just came up with their performance and stiff and doll like."
With one day to shoot, they had to do it in Hollywood, rather than going to a remote location, Isham explained. That way, they'd have the lights, equipment and crew all together. In fact, some of the crew that worked on "Irresistible" had worked on the original NSYNC shoot.
"Just by pure coincidence that a couple of the technicians, a couple of the grips and one of the electricians, they had worked on the original, which they had to remind me," Isham said. "It's been a while since we did that, and I'm going, 'Yeah, I remember.' It was like, they were just starting out in the business, which, what does that say about me?"
After the shoot wrapped, there was still the task of removing the guys' makeup, which was a hour of taking off painful adhesive -- "Pete and Patrick were the last ones to get their makeup off, and they were like 'Man, I want to get this off of my skin.'"
Fatone and Kirkpatrick, however, went home. Been there, done that.