By Tim Stack
June 26, 2009 at 12:00 PM EDT

The video for “Scream,” the first single from Jackson’s 1995 album HIStory, still ranks as one of the priciest videos ever made (its budget has been estimated around $7 million) — and one of Jackson’s best (not to mention one of the last times he would collaborate with sister, Janet). Today, director Mark Romanek shared his memories of working with the superstar siblings exclusively with EW:

“Being a huge fan, I was – of course – extremely nervous to meet him. Michael was unquestionably eccentric, but to my surprise, he was warm, curious, amusing, and un-temperamental. I was particularly struck by how this legendary megastar became just another affectionate, playful, protective big brother whenever Janet was around.

“I took the opportunity to chat with him between takes and he always skewed the conversation away from himself. He asked about my childhood, my favorite films, if I knew how to swim, my religion, etc. My mother visited the set, and Michael immediately charmed her, asking her to hold his jacket while he filmed, giving her a warm hug and kiss as he left the set each day. My mom felt like she had a new best friend. The chance to experience the phenomenon of his gift from only a few feet away was the treat of a lifetime. Over those ten days of filming, I felt like I had the single greatest job in the world. And I think, perhaps, I actually did. I’m sorry his life became so horrendously complicated. As a person, he didn’t actually seem that complicated to me.”


More from EW on Michael Jackson:
Michael Jackson: 18 key moments in the life of the King of Pop
Michael Jackson’s music dominate on iTunes and Amazon
Michael Jackson’s musical legacy: Tell us how you remember him
Michael Jackson dies at 50
Jackson on TV: A classic artist, a revolutionary
‘Thriller’ at 25: Still Can’t Beat It