On a Friday night last February, Edgar Wright found himself attempting to cast the female lead in his dance-heavy video for Beck’s track “Colors.” The problem? With the shoot starting on Monday, the Baby Driver director needed to find someone immediately so they could learn the choreography in time.
“I’ve been a fan of Beck since the very start,” says Wright. “And I’ve known him for [around] ten years now because he worked on the Scott Pilgrim soundtrack and I used one of his songs on Baby Driver. I think it was last October he asked me if I would like to do the video for ‘Colors.’ I wrote what I thought was an appropriate script for the budget that I was given, then found out that what I’d written was maybe five times more expensive than the money that we had! [Laughs] It wasn’t until February that suddenly we got the okay: ‘Hey we’ve got the money to do the Beck video.’ Basically, Apple Music financed the video, which was great because then we were actually able to do the idea that I had on paper, which was to do a modern Busby Berkeley routine. Another actress was supposed to do it for a very long time, and had been in the mix for months, and then right at the last second, when we finally had the go-ahead that we were doing the video, she couldn’t do it anymore.”
With the clock ticking, it was producer Leo Thompson who suggested Wright see if Brie could (a) dance, (b) was interested in appearing in the video, and (c) was free over the weekend to learn the routine put together by Baby Driver choreographer Ryan Heffington.
“I’ve never worked with Alison before, [but] I know her socially,” says Wright. “I texted her on a Friday night, it was like 9:30. I think we’d been rehearsing, and we hadn’t [gotten] someone yet, and I texted her, ‘Oh congratulations on Glow. Do you dance?’ This is entirely by text. And she goes, ‘Thanks. Well, I like dancing, I’m not a professional dancer. Why?’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m doing this Beck video. It’s me directing, Ryan Heffington is the choreographer, and we thought you’d be great to be the lead of it.’ She said, ‘Oh, wow, well I love Beck, I’m a huge fan, I love Ryan Heffington, and I’ve always wanted to work with you.’ I said, ‘Okay, well, this is great, there is a catch, however.’ And she said, ‘What’s the catch?’ I said, ‘I need you to rehearse tomorrow morning and Sunday morning, and then shoot Monday and Tuesday. Can you do it?’ And she went, ‘Oh, boy.’ And I was like, ‘I’m going to send you the script right now, and please tell me within half an hour if you can do it or not. Because if she couldn’t do it, it was like, ‘What the hell are we going to do on a Friday night? We’ve got to get someone for Monday!’ And then Alison texted back fifteen minutes later saying, ‘I’m in!’ She completely saved the day.”
The video for “Colors” premiered exclusively on Apple Music in March and, as of this week, is available everywhere.
“It’s funny because I’ve seen people online saying, ‘Wow how long did you rehearse for that video?'” explains Wright. “Alison really rehearsed for probably ten hours total, and just kind of came in and aced it, totally aced it. It was like a dream. I’ve always flirted with doing musical set-pieces and this one was a proper full-on dance number with twenty dancers. Also, just getting to work with Beck, and him having fun with it as well, was great. He said to me afterward that it was his favorite video that he’d done in years. He has a high sort of quality control, and so that meant a lot.”
Watch the video for “Colors,” above.