“I never expected that if I wrote a treatment, a director would love it and want to direct the video exactly the way I’d written it,” says Taylor Swift referring to her video, “Mean.” Swift and video director Declan Whitebloom share stories and take fans behind the scenes of the video shoot in Taylor Swift: Behind the Video “Mean” premiering this Sunday, July 3, 9/8c on GAC.
Taylor had her reasons for wanting to shoot in LA’s historic Orpheum Theater. “It occurred to me after months of thinking about this video and having it keep me up at night, ‘What if we did the entire video in a theater?’ That way we could show all these different story lines and create set pieces that would show these very distinctive performances, having all of these characters struggle and then thrive.” Set designers and art directors created a variety of sets including the wide open prairie tundra, a school bathroom and a fashion runway. “The first time I saw these sets, I absolutely couldn’t believe it, I was in awe,” Swift recalls. “I love the big city performance scene because just the wardrobe alone was fantastic. I got this awesome flapper dress and getting to work that dress and just the motion; every time you moved, the dress moved.”
Actors featured in the video’s three vignettes include 11-year-old Joey King, best known for her role as Ramona in the film “Ramona and Beezus.” Swift also had a four-legged co-star, Matilda the goat. “It’s one of those moments of, like, ‘Really?’ I’m shooting a music video and we have a goat on the stage?’ She was pretty good at standing there, just blinking, just being a goat.”
“Mean” took two days to shoot and Swift is thrilled with the end result. “Visually it just goes in line with everything I’ve been obsessed with lately like theaters and productions. It tells stories that to me, really matter, and it’s also just really fun.”