Inside the Split-Screen Love Story of A Great Big World's 'Already Home' (Video)

A Great Big World photographed in New York City on January 3, 2014

Kate Glicksberg

After adding Christina Aguilera to their breakout ballad "Say Something," A Great Big World is taking fans along the ride for the ups and downs of long-distance relationships "Already Home." And the video is just as star-studded.

The music video follows the sometimes tumultuous, but almost-always adorable story of bi-coastal lovers, played by Glee star Darren Criss and Gossip Girl actress Jessica Szohr. Viewers peer into each of their lives via side-by-side shots as they go through similar events throughout their day, while Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino perform onscreen.

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"It was hard to come up with a concept that didn't seem cheesy and recycled," the duo told THR. "We spent a while brainstorming and reading through different treatments until finally, director Isaac Rentz sent us the idea. It moved us pretty strongly."

Criss came to the video project after Glee covered A Great Big World's "This Is the New Year" in January 2013. With a friendship forged, "it just kind of clicked," said Rentz, adding that it was the actor who suggested that Szohr play his love interest.

“We kind of just trusted him -- we definitely thought that he’d be able to bring something interesting to the role, and we loved Jessica’s work as well, so it all came together really fast," Rentz said. "In fact, we cast them like two days before we actually shot the video, which was really quick and kind of a testament to how awesome Darren and Jessica are."  

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The video not only serves as a love letter to the enduring power of a strong relationship, but also to New York City and Los Angeles. Filmed on both coasts, Rentz noted that the New York-based group's band wanted to make sure the Big Apple was properly represented, since it is mentioned in the track's chorus.

"It was important that we got that authenticity across," said Rentz of the duo's home base, and Axel and Vaccarino added, “It just seemed like the natural thing to do. As far as we're concerned, L.A. is the opposite of NYC in so many ways, and through all our travels, L.A. was a common stop and the farthest we had been away from home until just very recently."

Even more so, the singers said they "wanted to show that love transcends distance," and made sure the relationship, which includes heated arguments and flirty moments, to have its happy ending.

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"I think it was important to Ian and Chad that the video ended on a hopeful note," Rentz said. "It was important that we were showing two people who were really working through something, and at the end of it, there was this message of showing the power of love, as cliche as that sounds ...  really showing how even two cities that are separated by thousands of miles can’t keep two people apart."

Enlisting Criss for the video marks a full-circle moment for the twosome, as they called last year's Glee cover "a life-changing moment for us. We'll never forget the first time we saw Darren's character Blaine sing the opening lines of the song. We were at our apartment with all of our family and friends, and in that one moment, millions of people were hearing those words ... he's one of the sweetest and most humble humans we've met."

So with the video already racking up over 225,000 views since its release on Monday, will the duo binge-watch Glee or Gossip Girl to celebrate? "We've been fans of Glee since day one, and the show played such an important role in our careers and lives, so that's our answer!" they joked when asked to choose a side.

Watch the video below:

  • This story originally appeared at THR.com