The Gotye Clip That Never Was
It may’ve amassed more than 51-million views on YouTube and spawned countless parodies, but the clip for Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ – the duet with Kimbra Johnson that unexpectedly topped the Hottest 100 yesterday – was actually plan B.
In a soon-to-be-published interview with M+N, its director Natasha Pincus reveals her original concept for the clip was shelved because it would’ve cost too much money. Pincus, who’s directed award-winning clips for Powderfinger, Paul Kelly and Sarah Blasko, initially conceived a single-shot video in which Gotye’s face would slowly morph into Kimbra’s. The two figures would then separate, before Kimbra floated away.
“They [the post-production houses] all just said it was very ambitious and not possible,” Pincus told M+N. “So I looked within that to make sure I knew what it was inspiring, and then set out to reclaim the concept you see now. It helped the process, but along the way you get upset and frustrated. But then ultimately, the outcome is in your favour.”
Pincus said she spent nearly three full weeks developing the original concept, before realising it was beyond her means. “[It] was devastating at the time, but then that gave way to exploring this concept in greater detail.”
While not as expensive as her initial idea, Pincus said the clip you see today was still “very, very, very hard” to make. It integrates stop motion and live action photography, involved time consuming body painting sessions and was shot over several days including a 26-hour stint, which caused Kimbra to faint.
“It was no surprise: the body painter had advised me it would take between six and eight hours to paint each of them, and that’s without the stop-motion elements, which also take six hours plus the performance,” Pincus said. “We couldn’t wipe it off [for that reason], so we were going to have to just go through. So we were in training for it for a month. Still, obviously, you’re going to see the worst sides of people. But neither of them had a hissy fit, which was just amazing. We just played music and had chips and hung out and gave each other massages.”
And how did they feel about the nudity?
“[Wally’s] amazing, and he’s extremely dedicated. He’ll do anything to create what it is that we all think is the right thing. So he was very cool about the whole thing. And Kimbra, who at that stage didn’t really have the household name she has now, is just such a genuine and down-to-earth girl. She just turned up and was very relaxed. With women sometimes, you can expect different things about nudity. But none of those things presented themselves at all.”
The full interview with Pincus will be published soon.