Miley Cyrus shocked plenty of folks when her "We Can't Stop" video premiered last week, but director Diane Martel wasn't worried about the backlash. Because to her, the clip isn't shocking ... it's a statement.
"We set out to make something we would love and we did!" she told MTV News in an email. "I don't see this video as shocking, it's creative."
As Martel explained, several of the video's key scenes — finger cutting, French-fry skulls, furry teddy bear backpacks, etc. — weren't intended to outrage or provoke ... rather, they were carefully selected by the director and her creative team, taken from blogs and pop artists and meant to pay homage to the creative spirit that Cyrus has been channeling on her new music.
And that meant Cyrus was involved with Martel's team every step of the way, because to her, "We Can't Stop" represented a whole lot more than just a comeback; it was personal.
"We spoke a lot and sent photos back and forth; we spoke about her love of her close friends," Martel wrote. "She is not a career-crazed kid. Her music is intensely important to her but so is her social life; [so] we spoke about the joy of tight friendships. To me, she is showing us, the audience, her playful, beautiful self, very freely. [It's] a music video version of what it must be like to bug out and act crazy with her in real life."
And for a director who has worked with fiercely independent artists like Beyonce, Nicki Minaj and Pink, Cyrus' determination definitely struck Martel. She gave it all during the filming of "We Can't Stop," and, in the process, left nothing to the imagination. Which was precisely the point.
"She's really quite open in the video, and, yeah there is style and meme stuff going on, but her performance is very trusting and unguarded," Martel explained. "She is very much alive in a way I find very beautiful. She is living in the moment and this is inspiring ... Miley is my hero."