Katy Perry's knack for creating fantastical lands in her music videos is nothing new for the singer. But when she hit the set for her VMA-nominated "Wide Awake" video, the idea that reality could crash into her dreamlike world — destroying all the good in it — certainly was new.
But when the singer hooked up with director Tony T. Datis, they decided that instead of letting the pain of that notion hurt her, in true Katy Perry fashion, it empowers her.
In the clip, Perry wraps her "California Gurls" video shoot and then walks to her dressing room, crossing over into a fairy-tale land. The clip also has a tie to her 3-D concert film, "Katy Perry: Part of Me," which opened earlier this summer. While that connection is evident, thanks to the realer moments in the clip (especially the part when Perry takes the stage), Datis points out where the biggest tie-in comes in.
"The real link between the movie and the video is Katy herself," he explained. "I guess both the movie and the music video speak about the same things, but in a different way."
When Datis came on-board to direct Perry's video for "Wide Awake," he knew exactly what he wanted it to look like.
"Well, Katy's world is already very dreamlike, and my videos always have a fairy-tale aspect to them. Therefore, it was obvious for me to start off with this concept," the director, who has also worked with Skrillex on multiple occasions, told MTV News. "We never spoke about that beforehand. I wrote the story whilst listening to her music."
Partly autobiographical, the clip also features a little girl with a striking resemblance to Perry, who represents her childlike innocence. The two make their way through an "amazing labyrinth."
"We cast a lot of young girls, and she stood out. She was so professional, and quiet too," he said. "Katy and her got along almost instantly — they spent their time with each other on set."
The most memorable visual in the video is when Perry punches her Prince Charming, an obvious allusion to her split from Russell Brand. "That was an idea of mine. We needed a strong image to show this particular moment where Katy doesn't believe in fairy tales anymore," he said.
"Working with Katy was a great experience. She's a strong artist who knows what she wants, but I also appreciate the fact that she had full trust in me. I enjoyed creating for and with her," he said. "I have no expectations. However, I'm very glad that the video is nominated."
To see if Katy's Datis-directed video can go home with the Video of the Year prize, tune in to the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards on September 6. The show goes live from Staples Center at 8 p.m. ET/PT. It'll be hosted by Kevin Hart and features a number of performances from the likes of One Direction, Rihanna, Pink, Taylor Swift and more.