The stunning visual, directed by Jason Koenig, takes the pair to New Orleans for a whimsical Cinderella story. Cabello's dressed like the "beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful angel" Bazzi sings about — wings and all — and they take to the city's French Quarter for a cat-and-mouse game that ends on a bittersweet note. Speaking to MTV News about the visual, Bazzi explained that they wanted to put a "1930s, '40s twist" on the "classic, pristine" scenery in New Orleans.
"We wanted to make something that felt very classic and something that puts you in a different world, visually — kind of like what the song does, sonically," he explained. "We knew being in New Orleans, it'd really capture that elegant beauty that the song holds. It just felt perfect."
Originally the 13th track on Bazzi's Cosmic album, "Beautiful" got revamped back in early August, when Cabello contributed a new verse to her former tourmate's track. Before that, Bazzi had released a video for the original version, which was packed with religious imagery and epic CGI effects. The new vid, however, puts "a different perspective on the song," Bazzi said. It's one that's more grounded in reality, though there are some supernatural elements, as seen in the climactic scene where Bazzi and Cabello finally come face-to-face on a ballroom floor that transforms into an enchanted forest.
The new version also takes heavy cues from Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet. Bazzi said the video is "completely inspired" by the 1996 flick, particularly in his favorite scene: the fish tank meet-cute — a.k.a. one of the all-time love-at-first-sight scenes — which Bazzi and Cabello gorgeously recreate.
"The [terrarium] scene was really, really memorable and cool to me," Bazzi said. "It's the first time we see each other in the video. It's just so magical — the moment on camera was so perfect. It didn't take any finessing."
The "Beautiful" video was shot in one "very, very long day," but it marked a welcome reunion for Bazzi and Cabello, who remain good friends after he opened on her Never Be the Same tour earlier this year.
"She's such a good friend and she's so cool, and it's really fun shooting with someone like that all day," he said. "She brings such a high level of performance in her acting. It almost pulls you up to a certain level. It's like, if she's there and she's competing at that level, I'm going to be, too."
The result is a visual that Bazzi admits may be his favorite he's ever done. "It might rank as number one," he said. "Everything looked so amazing and so clean and pristine. It felt so iconic."