"We shot the clip in mid-October on a cold day in New York City. The vibe and feeling was great," Mandler told MTV News. "It was the first video for the album, so obviously everyone was excited and focused on setting the tone for what's to come. Rihanna and I spoke in depth about creating a piece that was gritty, raw and more of a street video then a classic beauty piece."
Rihanna, who has worked with Mandler on videos such as "Hate That I Love You," "Disturbia" and her upcoming video for "Russian Roulette," wanted an image seen in old-school rap clips.
"We loved the energy and bravado of early hip-hop videos that were made without a lot of resources, working more with the textures and shapes of the surroundings, then trying to build and manipulate environments as we have done in the past," he explained. "I wanted to try and take everything we have done in the past and put it to the side."
In the video, Rihanna is seen making her way around New York wearing garters, eye patches and heels, but the feel is much more hard-edged than glamorous. "We used very unconventional beauty light, camera and film stock for an artist like Rihanna. We wanted the grain and texture of the film to jump off the screen," Mandler said. "The whole visual approach was more attuned to a grimy street video than a polished beauty performance."
Noting Rihanna's "desire to push the boundaries," Mandler said their inspiration for the clip was videos by artists like Mobb Deep, Nas and Wu-Tang Clan.
"We definitely talked about the song and the words behind it: the idea of taking her place back, in a bravado and aggressive way," he said. "That's why we went for a more classic hip-hop street feel. It's an unusual approach for someone like Rihanna, but again, I'm never surprised by her desire to push the boundaries. This goes for all elements, not just what I'm doing behind the camera."
On Thursday (November 5), segments from Rihanna's first sit-down interview addressing Chris Brown's assault on her earlier this year aired on "Good Morning America."